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The perfect time to try pork from Wales

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TV chef Angela Gray: Pork for Wales ambassador

TV chef Angela Gray: Pork for
Wales ambassador

FROM September 19 to October 4, British Food Fortnight will celebrate the finest local produce from around the UK. Taking place at harvest time, this annual national festival promotes the benefits of eating seasonal food which, in the autumn, includes ham and sausages. And you won’t find any better than those made with pork from Wales.

Pork from Wales is steeped in the tradition, knowledge and expertise, handed down over many generations, needed to ensure that the quality of the end product is first class. Welsh farmers adapt their farming methods according to the time of year, giving the pigs the care they need in every season. The climate and landscape of Wales both contribute to producing quality pork.

Welsh pig farms are typically smaller and more specialised than their European equivalents. The pigs, mainly rare breeds including the native Pedigree Welsh, are kept in smaller herds and reared for longer, allowing them to mature. As a result, pork from Wales has a darker colour to its skin and rose-coloured flesh and this is reflected in its taste, as testified by TV chef Angela Gray, who runs a cookery school at Llanerch Vineyard in the Vale of Glamorgan.

She said: “Generally kept in smaller herds, the pigs tend to live in a more natural environment and are less stressed, improving the overall quality of the meat. From taste to texture, the difference in quality is clear: compared to supermarket products, Welsh pork is much better for cooking.”

Angela is one of 14 ambassadors for pork from Wales who have been chosen to feature on the new Porc.Wales website, which was created to showcase the fantastic pork that Wales produces.

Emma Rose, who runs Rhosyn Farm near Carmarthen with her husband Neil, features on the new Porc.Wales website which is designed to encourage people to eat local pork. Emma is just one of a small handful of producers who were picked to tell the story about why pork produced in Wales is so special.

Emma and Neil have been running the farm since 2006 and now have around 100 acres of woodland for their herd of Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. Their flavoured sausages have won six gold awards at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, where they also won gold for their bacon and came third overall in the competition.

Emma said: “Thanks to grazing on a wide variety of nutrients and minerals from the woodland soil, our pigs produce stronger flavours and tastier produce. This breed is special to us as it delivers both wonderful bacon and pork, but it is also one of our rare breeds; one which I am keen to support and protect.”

Michelle and her husband, from Cosheston, started keeping pigs as a hobby before deciding to go into rearing them to sell at local farmers’ markets. Then in 2014 they set up Slow Pig, a hot food van serving up slow roast pork, handmade burgers, chorizo and their own frankfurters at food and music festivals, weddings and events across Wales.

She said: “We now keep around 50 pigs at our farm, where they are free to roam outdoors in pasture and Beech woodland. We raise mainly Saddleback and Magalitza breeds; the latter are a rare, curly-coated Hungarian breed known for their high fat content, making them particularly suited to charcuterie. Our pigs are reared to 14 – 19 months and because they’ve taken longer to rear, this makes for a tastier product and we think that makes all the difference.

“The connection between the farm and the van means that we use the whole of the pig, meaning we get to try out lots of interesting dishes, and that nothing is wasted, from beautiful slow-braised pigs’ cheeks to a Welsh favourite, homemade faggots. Our trademark dish is the Crispy Pig Burger, slow-roasted pulled pork, shaped into a patty, then coated in a panko crumb, deep fried and served with an apple slaw.

“Our pigs are reared in small herds and are free-range means they have the best standard of living. Slow Pig customers care about food provenance and don’t mind paying a little extra for a premium product.”

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), which created Porc.Wales, is the organisation for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat. They work with all sectors of the red meat industry, from farmers through to retailers, to develop profitable markets for PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and pork from Wales.

Melanie Hughes, Market Development Officer at HCC said: “The pork industry in Wales is growing and also innovating and it’s something that we can all be very proud of. The new Porc.Wales website informs foodies about the wonderful people and products that we have in this sector of the meat industry in Wales and it will hopefully encourage consumers to buy good quality, locally produced pork.”

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Significant step forward for Llanelli’s multi-million-pound Pentre Awel

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LLANELLI’S ground-breaking Pentre Awel project has taken a major step forward paving the way for building work to start as early as this autumn.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee has today (Thursday, June 23) approved reserved matters for access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for Zone One of the landmark project.

It follows the outline planning application, which was granted back in August 2019, and means work can officially commence on-site.

Pentre Awel is the first development of its scope and size in Wales providing world-class medical research and health care delivery and supporting and encouraging people to lead active and healthy lives.

Detailed design work has been undertaken on Zone One, which will bring together education, business, research, leisure and health in a single building. These facilities will be linked together in a ‘street’ layout, connected by a central atrium comprising a reception, café and other public amenities. The street will be the community heart of the village with lots of exhibition space and breakout areas enjoying spectacular views across the lake, and to the Loughor Estuary and Carmarthen Bay.

The designs showcase the council’s ambition to create a development that is landscape-led, connected to local communities and amenities and is sustainable. The  facilities will maximise the use of daylight and natural ventilation where possible, and bring the ‘outside inside’ to promote good physical and mental wellbeing.

Externally, Pentre Awel will enjoy landscaped outdoor public spaces for recreation, with walking and cycling paths and stunning coastal views, all set around the freshwater lake as a key defining feature.

Site clearance, ground investigation and ecology works have already started on site with ‘spade-in-the-ground-works’ expected to get underway this autumn and full completion estimated for summer 2024.

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “This is yet another exciting step forward for this ambitious and truly innovative project that will benefit people locally in Llanelli, as well as across Carmarthenshire and South West Wales as a whole.

“Pentre Awel will deliver a significant programme of community benefits and economic regeneration across the county, creating major employment and training opportunities, along with world-class leisure and health facilities for our residents.

“It is important that local businesses benefit from this project, and I was delighted that more than 100 businesses recently attended a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event at Parc y Scarlets to find out more about the opportunities available. I look forward to seeing building work starting on site very soon.”

Pentre Awel is being delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Universities and Colleges including Cardiff University, Coleg Sir Gȃr, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea University. It is part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal (£40million).

As well as improving health and wellbeing, the project will create over 1,800 jobs and training/apprenticeship opportunities, and is expected to boost the local economy by a £467million over the next 15 years.

Bouygues UK has been awarded a two-stage design and build contract for Zone One with a key focus on social value to ensure employment and training opportunities for local people are maximised during the construction phase.

Zone One includes a new state-of-the-art leisure centre; hydrotherapy pool; education, research and business development space; a clinical research and delivery centre with community level clinical trials; and a well-being skills centre delivering health and care training.

Later phases of the scheme include a hotel, a range of social and affordable housing, assisted living accommodation and a nursing home.

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Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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