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Plant growers receive national recognition

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Quirky Young Plants: Environmental excellence winner

Quirky Young Plants: Environmental excellence winner

TWO plant nurseries from Pembrokeshire have been recognised at an annual celebration of Welsh horticulture. Last week’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Llanelwedd – the silver jubilee staging of the agricultural event – saw supply chain efficiency project Horticulture Wales reveal the winner of its third annual ‘Collaboration in Business Award’, as well as the victor in its ‘Environmental Excellence’ category. First prize in Horticulture Wales’ second annual Environmental Excellence Award, which is aimed at recognising sustainability and resource efficiency, was claimed by Quinky Young Plants, a wholesale alpine plant and herb nursery based in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire.

All plants at the nursery are grown peat-free, without the use of any pesticides. Judges were also impressed with owner Charles Warner’s investment in reusable storage trays and his decision to change from round to squareshaped pots, which means he can now transport twice as many plants per delivery. He was also praised for enthusiastically promoting his plants using ‘Grown in Wales’ bespoke labels and bilingual signs, a concept he also encourages through an online blog and social media.

Runner-up prize went to Penlan Perennials, a nursery from Newchapel, Pembrokeshire, that sells hardy plants such as geraniums via online and mail order. The business, which has been named as one of the top 100 Welsh companies in the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) ‘Pocket Green Guide for Wales’, was acknowledged for its tie-up with a carbon-neutral courier company, its peat-free and organic growing system, and for using old newspapers, biodegradable plastic, and recycled cardboard boxes to package its plants.

First place in the Collaboration in Business Award section went to the partnership between fruit juice manufacturer Fruitapeel from Llantrisant and Soulmatefood Ltd, a healthy-eating, tailored meal delivery service popularised by celebrities and sports starts such as actress Michelle Keegan, pop group The Saturdays, and cricketer Stuart Broad. The partnership saw off a strong challenge from runner-up the Taste Montgomery project, an initiative which sees more than 20 small-scale food producers located within a six mile radius of the town work together to promote the area as a tourist destination.

The winners and runners-up were presented with commemorative paperweights and certificates by Rebecca Evans AM, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, at a ceremony staged as part of sector skills council Lantra’s ‘Land-Based Learner of the Year Awards’. Dr David Skydmore, Project Director of Horticulture Wales, commented: “Our Awards aim to celebrate the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that runs throughout the entire horticulture supply chain in Wales, from growers and producers, through to manufacturers and retailers.

“This year’s finalists are all fantastic examples of this ethos, whether it’s groups joining forces on joint-marketing initiatives, businesses working closely together to improve how a product is packed, stored, and distributed, or growers finding ways to use resources more efficiently. Many congratulations to all our winners and runners-up.”

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Dragon Palace owners take on The Woodridge Inn Hotel, Saundersfoot

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AFTER five years running the popular Dragon Palace Chinese restaurant at Pentlepoir in Pembrokeshire, owners Jenny and Lok Cheung have taken on an additional business: The Woodridge Inn Hotel, located just down the road near Saundersfoot.

Following a year of lockdowns and refurbishments the inn is now open, offering a welcoming bar, 17 high quality ensuite rooms and an Asian-themed restaurant. Jenny and Lok have also reopened The Dragon Palace restaurant following lockdown.

Located approximately 4km from Saundersfoot and 6km from Tenby, The Woodridge Inn Hotel has good access to the major ports of Fishguard and Pembroke Dock and is ideally situated for trips to Haverfordwest, Narberth and Carmarthen. Surrounded by beautiful National Trust countryside, it has panoramic views to the sea from some of its second-floor rooms and sits on the stunning Landsker Borderlands Trail as well as being close to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Food at the The Woodridge Inn Hotel, Saundersfoot

Jenny and Lok hope The Woodbridge will become popular with visitors including walkers, cyclists, bird watchers and golfers (there are a number of 18-hole golf courses nearby). They also aim to make it a popular, family-friendly hub for the local community, just as it used to be in years gone by.

“Local people have told us that they have fond memories of coming here over the years, and we want to bring these local people back,” said Lok. “We want this to be a place they love to come to with their kids, just as they used to come here with their parents. Part of the reason we want it to be family friendly is because we have a young family ourselves, and we think this would be a nice legacy for our children.”

He and Jenny are especially excited about their new restaurant, whose kitchen is headed up by locally renowned award-winning chef Cheryl Badham. Cheryl, who was previously sous chef at The Mulberry restaurant in Saundersfoot, has excellent links with local food producers, and sources the very best ingredients for her kitchen.

“I try to source all my ingredients within Pembrokeshire,” says Cheryl. “We live in such a beautiful county and its produce is something that should be cherished.”

Jenny, Lok and Cheryl have worked together to create a menu that reflects Jenny and Lok’s Asian background. It builds on their experience running The Dragon Palace, but has a broader culinary range, offering pan-Asian and fusion cuisine.

“We’re offering a nice mix of pan-Asian cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Filipino dishes,” says Lok. “I don’t think there is anywhere in West Wales that does this kind of food at the moment, and we’re pleased offer something fresh and new.”

They have also added Asian touches to the interior and exterior of the hotel, including an impressive pergola entrance to the restaurant created by a local craftsman. Lok and Jenny have worked to enhance the Woodridge’s large garden, making it a perfect place for a spot of al fresco dining or drinks while the children play.

Now, after over a year of preparation, they are delighted to have opened their doors.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs – obviously Covid didn’t help, but it’s coming together now,” says Lok. “We’ve got a hunger for success and we really want to make something special for the area. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential here.

“Our aim is to offer great quality rooms, a quality restaurant and bar and lovely grounds, and also a high standard of service. We’re very much a family-friendly business and we work to make sure our team and our customers are happy – and that everyone has a smile on their face.”

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Pembrokeshire the perfect holiday spot

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Pembrokeshire has been the perfect holiday destination for many years.

The county is home to miles of scenic coastline and beaches, stunning villages full of character and plenty of coastal escapes. It is the perfect place for tourists to sweep the cobwebs away and enjoy the beauty of the scenic Welsh countryside.

But with so many holidaymakers set to staycation in the UK, the question many people have been asking is where will they all stay? This is where Pass the Keys® comes in!

As the demand for staycation accommodation and short-term rentals grows across the UK, and more so in Pembrokeshire, there is an increasing demand for professional holiday let management services to help make the process of short term letting a completely hassle-free and enjoyable experience for property owners.

Pass the Keys® is run by local people & partnered with local companies but backed by a national brand who have are tried and tested infrastructure, as well as award winning technology to keep a cut above the rest. We are proud to be one of the only Professional Co-hosts of Airbnb in Pembrokeshire, so you can rest easy knowing that you are dealing with short-term letting experts.

Mark Pennino and Jamie Smith, Owners of Pass the Keys – South Pembrokeshire

Our holiday homes thrive thanks to our high standards of local support and this is demonstrated by our extremely high ratings on both Trustpilot and Google Reviews, why not take a look for yourself. Our bespoke software systems ensure that your holiday home is successfully marketed, occupied and kept safe, all of which are important factors to consider when selecting a holiday letting agency.

So, if you’re curious to find out more or maybe you are managing your holiday home yourself and it’s all getting a bit too demanding, go to our website and see how much your property can earn.

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Health, safety and welfare facilities enhanced at Milford Fish Docks

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WORK has been completed at Milford Fish Docks to enhance health, safety and welfare facilities, including the installation of the only marine crane in south Wales.

Following close consultation with the fleet, the Port of Milford Haven successfully applied to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to add to the existing provisions for local and European fishers at Wales’ largest fishing port.

Despite progress being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, embankment ladders, additional life rings and fire extinguishers have all now been installed around the docks, as well as the refurbishment of the shower, toilet and laundry block which includes disabled access.

On the quayside, a marine crane has been installed to enable fishers to load and unload their bait and catch in a safer, more efficient manner, with comprehensive training undertaken by Port staff who are able to operate the crane at any time of the day or night – at no additional cost to the fishing customers.

In order to help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the water, a new mobile foul waste pump out facility is now available meaning any waste from fishing vessels will be taken away and disposed of appropriately rather than entering the waterway.

Melanie Durney, Marina and Docks Manager, said: “We are home to Wales’ largest fishing docks and as a Trust Port we use any profit to develop our infrastructure and services to provide opportunities for today and for future generations. Over the last few years, we have been investing to ensure the inshore fleet can work as effectively and safely as possible, and having this funding meant we could build on what is already here. The new shower and laundry block will make a huge difference to the welfare of fishers as they now have their own designated area to freshen up and the marine crane, which is the only one in the whole of south Wales, will make landing their catch a quicker and safer process.”

The project has been part-funded through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.

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