You crazy for this one, New Zealand

By Mike Pomranz
June 28, 2018
Pascale Gueret/Getty Images

How often has this happened to you: You’re running through the forest desperate to find a doe so you can score yourself some deer milk? Even when you do come across a deer, those suckers are fast, and milking one is a pain. “There’s got to be a better way!” you scream to no one.

This has probably never happened to anyone. But apparently, a market for powdered deer milk might exist—at least in New Zealand.

As Modern Farmer reports, the Wellington-based food company Pāmu recently turned heads after winning a prize earlier this month for… you can see where this is headed… its powdered red deer milk. Billed as “creators of the finest natural food since 1886” by “transforming the way food is produced, naturally, with passion, curiosity and innovative fresh thinking,” Pāmu doesn’t deal exclusively in powdered deer milk. They also sell products like cow’s milk and venison.

​“As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand,” Pāmu chief executive Steve Carden said, according to NZFarmer. “Pāmu deer milk is one of the ways that Pāmu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward.”

The big question becomes what the hell are you supposed to use powdered deer milk for? The answer is you cook with it. Apparently, deer milk is both high in fat and protein, providing an unexpected deer-milky twist to otherwise standard dishes. “The flavors are so rich and really appeal to chefs,” explained Des Harris, chef at The Hunting Lodge, located in Auckland’s wine country. He suggested that a deer milk crème brulee might make for an extravagant dish.

Meanwhile, another chef, Geoff Scott, told NZFamer he simply liked the idea of working with a completely new product. “This is the sort of innovation the food industry is looking for, and which builds new creations and food movements,” he was quoted as saying.

Carden agreed. “We expect Pāmu deer milk to fetch a premium, given its unique qualities,” he said of his company’s product. One of the only problems, apparently, is taking the milk, which currently comes from just 80 red deer milked twice a day for five months, and making it commercially viable. “We believe we are on the cusp of something very exciting,” he also stated.

But eventually, Carden hopes there might even be a “niche export” market for powdered deer milk. So next time you see powdered deer milk on store shelves, accept no imitations! Check the label to make sure that’s real red deer milk direct from New Zealand. Then check to see if you are dreaming.