Upper Loire. At Meygal, Guillaume Michel breeds deer for gastronomy

our summer series

Our farmers have talent

Guillaume Michel is not a creator like the others. In an enclosure covering an area of ​​26 hectares, located 1,150 meters above sea level in the Marliou sector, in Meygal, in the town of Queyrières, the forty years breeds deer and offers quality meat.

Between 15 and 20 animals cut each year

The animals graze on the good wild grass ad libitum, but also the hay that the breeder brings them in winter and a real delicacy: the bucket of cereal flour.

This last food does not take long to gather in a few minutes swarms of mothers, daguets and bichettes that are relatively wild and difficult to approach in normal times. But gluttony is the strongest. As soon as they see their owner, the animals run in waves towards the fence of the pen.

The breeding site is quiet and well protected from anything that might interfere with this small herd of deer. “In the beginning, in 2001, I set up a farm for deer and suckler cows of the Aubrac breed. Then the deer gained importance until 2012. Finally, my wife’s installation diversified our production. We still produce deer, but now we also produce fattened poultry and duck meat”, explains Guillaume Michel.

Quinta Marliou practices the slaughter and processing of the animals produced, which guarantees the value made from A to Z. in the menus of this festive period. »

Young deer are slaughtered when they reach an age between 18 months and three years. On average, 15 to 20 animals are cut each year. Short circuit and quality are favored. “We ourselves produce the fodder we give them in winter and the cereals (wheat, rye and triticale). With the current drought, we run the risk of having to feed them soon, even if they still have grass to eat”, notes Guillaume Michel. “Anyway, the animals are outside all year. On slopes, short grass will leave little rest.

Guillaume Michel is also one of the few breeders in the region who produce deer. “There may be a few more, but I’m the only one who can market the meat because we do proper prophylaxis throughout the year.”

A production directly oriented towards gastronomy

“In the deer everything is good”, one might say. Guillaume Michel, who will not contradict us, details the different neighborhoods highlighted to better satisfy the private clientele that is the central target of this production in Meygal.

“We sell all the noble pieces of the cut, whether the back of deer and the fillets. We also detail the deer leg and jig, which are also very popular with hobbyists. One thing is for sure: gourmets can decorate venison to their liking.

“We offer pieces to bake, pieces to sauté, others to taste as a stew and, finally, cobblestones that are ideal for quick cooking: there really are some for every taste and people like it! »

A popular dish at the end of the year

As far as the commercialization of venison is concerned, most (up to 90%) is sold through the producer’s shop Les Fermes d’Yssi, located in Yssingeaux. A smaller part is sold on site at the farm. Meygal deer is also often found at Christmas markets. He made the beautiful hours of the Yssingeaux foie gras festival.

The dish is still popular at festive times and by gourmets looking for original, quality meat. “Anyway, venison lovers have become loyal customers,” notes Guillaume Michel. “Most of the clientele is made up of local customers, but we can clearly feel that tourists are also buying our products during the summer. There are also people who own second homes in the area who enjoy what we do. In general, we have many customers who know our meat, know how to work it and know its particularities, such as the fact that it is not greasy, not strong, and does not have the bitterness of waterfowl game meat, for example. »

In addition to the festive seasons and exceptional pieces, you can also taste the variety of terrines that the house of Michel offers, whether liver terrines, juniper terrines or Armagnac terrines. “These are pieces a little less noble, but equally tasty”, warns the interested party. And we believe it.

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