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Pembrokeshire preserve producer goes from hedgerow to HQ

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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.”

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Milford Haven: Man arrested by armed police in Larch Road

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POLICE have arrested a man following a large-scale police operation in Milford Haven.

Several police units were seen searching for a suspect at around 5pm this afternoon (Jun 26).

A police van and several police cars were seen speeding towards the marina and Havens Head Business Park, sirens blaring – but the vehicles turned around when the suspect was not found.

At around 7.30pm police descended on Larch Road, in the Mount Estate and police entered a top floor flat.

Following a period of negotiations, a man was led into a waiting police vehicle.

While the drama was unfolding, dozens of residents of the street were watching from their window, from the street and others were watching from parked cars.

Police kept people back as the detainee was led to the riot van.

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Larch Road: Specialist Officers await man to be brought down from top floor flat (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

Mount arrest: A man is led into a police van by armed police (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

Large police presence: Armed police units deployed at scene (Pic: T Sinclair / Herald)

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Praise for innovative Pembrokeshire eco scheme

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AN AMBITIOUS project which aims to help communities in Pembrokeshire to become more sustainable has been recognised with an Innovation award.

The Pembrokeshire Eco Champions project was presented with the accolade in Pure West Radio’s ‘Greatest Show Awards’.

Mark Bond, project co-ordinator, said the initiatives delivered by the scheme so far had engaged a real cross-section of local people in some ‘very important conversations linked to the environment’.

“The very nature of our Welsh Government Leader funding (administered by Arwain Sir Benfro) is to encourage innovative and creative ways to engage communities in eco activity, with a major emphasis on waste and recycling,” he said.

“The project has a number of outcomes to deliver but what I inherited was essentially a blank canvas and a great deal of freedom to achieve those outcomes.

“I’ve been allowed to try new and often unusual approaches to reach out to people, so to be recognised for our ‘innovative’ approach is extremely heartening. I’m very proud of my project and very excited about what’s to come.”

The Eco Champions Project is a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council and PLANED, funded by the Local Action Group (LAG) for Pembrokeshire, Arwain Sir Benfro.

As part of the project, a recruitment drive has been launched for aspiring or active Eco Champions willing to help their local community become more environmentally aware.

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said it was an exciting initiative.

“The aim is to build and support a network of enthusiastic people who are eager to encourage others to become involved in local waste and recycling initiatives, as well as providing environmental information, organising events and celebrating good practice,” he said.

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Sniffer dog’s presented award by local MP

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IMAGINE a sniffer dog, so good at its job, that a £25K bounty is put on its head! Scamp, a diligent springer spaniel who recovered over £6 million worth of illegal tobacco products in the last 5 years, has been named the Institutes Hero in the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Hero Awards 2019.

Described as a ‘modern-day Eliot Ness’, the seven-year-old owned by specialist detection dog company B.W.Y Canine ltd, has been involved in countless trading standards raids throughout the years. Most recently, his work with trading standards caused such disruption to one organised criminal gang that he had a £25K bounty placed on his head, with his handler Stuart Phillips receiving death threats.

During a recent project between several local authorities, Scamp and B.W.Y Canine helped trading standards seize nearly 430,000 cigarettes and 189kg of hand-rolling tobacco, with a total street value of approximately £137,000. The CTSI Hero Awards celebrate those who make outstanding contributions towards consumer protection in our communities. Scamp and B.W.Y Canine received the award at the CTSI Hero Awards 2019 ceremony at One Great George Street, London, on Tuesday.

After presenting the award to Scamp and Stuart Phillips, Stephen Crabb MP commented: “I was thrilled to present this award to Scamp for the important and diligent detection work he has carried out. Stuart and the whole team at B.W.Y. Canine should be immensely proud of Scamp and what he has done. This goes to show the outstanding work being done by B.W.Y Canine and I look forward to catching up with them in Clunderwen soon.”

Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: “CTSI received a landslide of nominations for the outstanding work Scamp and B.W.Y Canine have done with trading standards services up and down the country. To keep providing such a service in the face of great personal risk is admirable, and Stuart from B.W.Y Canine, and of course Scamp, deserve our thanks.”

Stuart Phillips from B.W.Y Canine, said: “To be nominated for this award by so many trading standards teams is a great honour, but for Scamp to actually win and be awarded the Institute Hero Award is fantastic news for our small Pembrokeshire based company. The work that Scamp does is of huge importance to tackle the illegal tobacco trade and we both thoroughly enjoy working with trading standards around the UK. Scamp is special dog, with an amazing nose and great work ethic – for him to have his work recognised is superb, he is a true hero.” Scamp and B.W.Y Canine were presented with the award by local MP, Stephen Crabb, and Robert Wright, CTSI College of Fellows, Sponsors of the CTSI Hero Awards.

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