Connect with us


Pembrokeshire preserve producer goes from hedgerow to HQ



WHAT began as a way of using blackberries picked on countryside walks has become a thriving business for Pembrokeshire preserve producer Anne-Marie Harries, who has just opened a new base for her burgeoning business.

She first began selling her jams at her parents’ pub – The Farmers Arms – in Mathry. Now with not one but three Great Taste Award winning preserves to its name, Farmers Food at Home’s jams, chutneys, and marmalades sell like hot cakes in retailers across the county and beyond.

There are now more than 25 different varieties of preserves, among Crab-apple, Rosehip, Rhubarb & Ginger, Seville Orange Marmalade, Courgette & Tomato chutney, and the Great Taste Award one star-winning Chilli jam. There are also tempting seasonal varieties such as Gooseberry & Elderflower, Strawberry & Pimm’s, and Black Currant & Gin.

Explains Anne-Marie, “When out walking with my dog Bobby I’d pick berries, but I didn’t know what to do with them, so I started making bramble jelly and selling it at the pub – and it took off from there.”

The Farmers Food at Home range is regularly available at craft and produce fairs and food festivals. They can be found in holiday cottages and B&Bs too and was recently served to cyclists in the Tour of Pembrokeshire race.

Now, in addition to foraging for berries in the hedgerows, Anne-Marie grows a range of fruit and vegetables at her home in Llanreithan near Haverfordwest.

She believes she gets her green-fingers from her late father, Bryan Farmer, who before becoming a publican had been a farmer, growing cabbages and cauliflowers. While her preserving skills, she also puts down to her ‘genes’.

Anne-Marie Harries in Farmers Food at Home’s new production unit – aka ‘The Jam Shed’.

“I’d never made any jams before, I cooked meals at the pub, but I was more a savoury person. However, my grandmother was very much into making preserves, and I remember the jars in her pantry – so I guess I must get it from her!”

Her new preserve HQ – aptly named ‘The Jam Shed’ – is conveniently situated in the middle of an acre of land where Anne-Marie – keen to produce as many ingredients as possible grows her fruit and vegetables.

The Jam Shed is surrounded by fruit trees, soft fruits, berries, and also a polytunnel which is home to a variety of produce including tomatoes and chillies while Anne-Marie forages locally for the likes of rosehips and crab-apples.

The move from her home kitchen to a purpose-built 9m x 6m unit has revolutionised production for Anne-Marie and her part-time assistant.

She says, “I’d outgrown the kitchen, we still make everything in small batches, but we can now use equipment I was not able to use at home. Hopefully, we’ll be able to become Salsa registered, and then we can supply wholesalers and bigger outlets.”

Practical food production advice came from the Food Centre at Horeb, and
Anne-Marie’s business has been helped to grow by Cywain – a Menter a Busnes delivered project that supports the development of growth orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.

She says, “Cywain have been great, they have been there with everything from test trading and courses to one-to-one support and help with my website.”

Said Lowri Davies of Cywain, “It is great to see Anne-Marie taking her business to the next level with the opening of her new unit. Farmers Food at Home is an award-winning brand and it now has the facilities that will enable it to grow even further.”


Tenby woman in British Bake-Off 2019



A MOTHER from Pembrokeshire is in the mix to challenge for this year’s Great British Bake-Off crown.

Michelle Evans-Fecci, of Tenby, has beat off competition from thousands of hopefuls to be chosen to take part in the nation’s favourite culinary contest.
Well-known locally for her cakes and bakes, Michelle, aged 35, is a self-taught baker.

She first fell in love with baking as a child, watching her mother cook at home on their farm in Carmarthenshire.

She works as an administrator in the Tenby print shop, Trade Canvas Print, which is owned by her husband Ben Fecci. To the delight of her husband and teenage son, she bakes almost every other day, with fresh bread for breakfast and sweet treats for pudding always on the menu. She loves to experiment with flavour combinations, using seasonal produce from her garden.Michelle first applied for GBBO back in 2015, when she reached the short-list of 50 out of around 13,000 applicants.

Michelle has spoken about how thrilled she was when she found out she had made it to the tent.

“I was so emotional when I found out, I cry when I am happy and cry when I am sad. I have wanted it for so long, so I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“To meet all the bakers was so memorable and I have found life long friends that have the same passion as me,” she continued.

When asked what she would bake to represent the happiest day of her life, Michelle said: “The day we got married we christened our son on the same day. So we didn’t have a wedding cake, we had a cheese stack made of six tiers of Welsh cheese. So I would probably remake that as a cake. Our favourite cakes are chocolate cake and carrot cake. I would make one look like stilton, one would look like camembert and various cheeses.”

The Bake-Off is a huge programme, loved by millions, there is understandably a high degree of secrecy involved in the production.

“I have been quite limited to the number of people that I have told,” said Michelle, “but I think they will be so pleased as they know I have wanted it for so so long, so they will be really pleased.”
Michelle has always been a huge fan of the show and when quizzed on her favourite contestant from past seasons, she replied: “Martha from Series 5. I love her style and how they photograph her bakes. She seems very down to earth and I have bought her book so we could talk about that while we wait to get rescued!”

The Great British Bake-Off has been running since 2010 and is now into the tenth season. Originally broadcast on BBC, now is shown on Channel 4 with millions tuning in to watch it every week. The presenters and judges remain the same, with Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig back for another year of puns.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith will also be on hand to judge the best bakes produced in the famous white tent.

This year’s line-up consists of a baker’s dozen – 13 – instead of the usual 12, and there’s a decidedly younger contingent. More than half of the contestants are in their 20s, while the oldest contestant is 56.

It will be air every Tuesday from 8 pm.

Continue Reading


Celebrating a shared history



AN EXCITING new arts, heritage and tourism project celebrating links between North Pembrokeshire and Wexford in Ireland is being launched in September.

‘Ancient Connections’ will revive links between the two communities from as far back as the Stone Age, through medieval pilgrimages to more recent history.
The two Celtic lands have much in common.

For example, the long term friendship between St David, patron saint of Wales, who spent much of his life in St Davids, and his pupil and protégé St Aidan who is closely associated with the town of Ferns in Wexford.

A more recent link is the first manned flight across the Irish Sea in 1912.

‘Ancient Connections’ is the result of collaborative working between Pembrokeshire and Wexford county councils, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme, the project’s aim is to motivate both communities to rediscover their shared heritage and to
be mentors for one another, sharing knowledge, experience and skills.

Hopefully, this will create a stronger sense of identity and place that will continue to flourish in years to come.

The stories that emerge from the project will also be utilised to create ways to attract visitors to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford outside of school and summer holidays.

For the next three years, there will be a burst of creative activity in both regions including: commissioning of new artworks, revival of traditional skills, exploring the significance of pilgrimage in the modern world, archaeological digs, storytelling and gathering, live music and schools projects, as well as mentoring and support for businesses and community projects.

To find out more about the plans to deliver this ambitious project and how to get involved, the public are invited to attend the launch at Ty’r Pererin, Quickwell Hill, St Davids SA61 6PD between 9.30 am and 4pm on Tuesday, September 24.

The day will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions that will include presentations and performances as well as hands-on activities and walks.
Register in advance through Eventbrite at:
Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first served basis.

Continue Reading


Plans to re-open night club put forward



THE FORMER Chequers nightclub in Penally could be granted a new license if plans are given the go-ahead.

Now under the name of the Queen of Clubs, the new license would see the building operate as a nightclub on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as bank holidays.

The building currently has a license to operate as a restaurant and tea room but the new license would see the club open from 8pm to 4am.

However, the club is located next to a holiday park, whose manager has objected to the plans, as have Penally Community Council.

The owner of the Holiday Park has said that having live music will disrupt the peace and tranquility that is currently enjoyed.

They also say that it will ‘threaten the safety of all the residents’ through drunken and ‘drug-influenced behaviour’.

Penally Community Council have also objected stating there are a number of historic problems with the site with Police being called on numerous times to deal with issues.

Other concerns include road safety and litter while one objector described the site as an ‘entirely inappropriate’ place for a night club.

The Chequers nightclub closed in 1997 and plans to re-open it were put forward five years later but that was rejected by the Council’s Licensing Committee.

The new application, from Mrs Carmen Clemas, will be discussed on Thursday (Aug 22) at the Council’s Licensing Committee.

Continue Reading
News1 day ago

Plans to re-open night club put forward

THE FORMER Chequers nightclub in Penally could be granted a new license if plans are given the go-ahead. Now under...

News1 day ago

Casualty airlifted from Monkstone beach

A casualty was airlifted to hospital after becoming ill on the way to Monkstone beach on Saturday evening, August 17....

News4 days ago

Dale Road: Several have minor injuries after two vehicle accident

EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending a two-vehicle road traffic accident on the B4327 Dale Road. Two fire crews from Haverfordwest as...

News4 days ago

Tenby: Hotel goes into administration as new owner’s business empire collapses

A POPULAR Pembrokeshire hotel has gone into administration. The Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby how faces an uncertain future. It’s parent...

News4 days ago

Woman rescued from Caldey after suspected arm fracture

A WOMAN, suffering a suspected fractured arm after a fall on Caldey, was taken to hospital on Thursday, August 15....

News6 days ago

Pembrokeshire high streets shortlisted for UK awards

TWO Pembrokeshire high streets have been shortlisted to win up to £15,000 in this year’s Great British High Street Awards....

News6 days ago

National Park in top 10 UK travel experiences

EXPLORING the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has been named as one of Lonely Planet’s 10 best travel experiences in the...

News6 days ago

Casualty taken to hospital after Caldey rescue

A CASUALTY was taken to hospital following a rescue operation from Caldey Island on Monday, August 12. Posting on Facebook,...

News7 days ago

Pembroke Dock: Cyclist airlifted to hospital following RTC

EMERGENCY SERVICES rushed to Wavell Crescent in Pembroke Dock on Tuesday afternoon (Aug 13) after a young boy on his...

News1 week ago

Police search home of former Carmarthenshire County Council boss Mark James

POLICE OFFICERS have executed search warrants at properties in Carmarthenshire, Swansea, and Kent. Their actions are part of an investigation...

Popular This Week