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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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Community

‘KINDNESS WILL ALWAYS OVERCOME’

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Pupils at Pembrokeshire Learning Centre re-planting their garden with the members of the youth engagement programme at MAWW Fire and Rescue Service.

GESTURES of kindness towards a group of young people have been praised.

The Pembrokeshire Learning Centre in Neyland suffered vandalism in September, where vegetable patches planted by pupils were destroyed.

The discovery of the damage upset and affected many pupils who had worked hard to grow the crops.

On hearing about the vandalism, the youth service at Mid and West Wales (MAWW) Fire and Rescue Service contacted the PLC offering to help re-plant and restore the garden.

Graham Jenkins, Service Youth Team Coordinator for MAWW Fire and Rescue Service said they had worked with the PLC on various schemes in previous years and were ‘particularly saddened to learn that the school’s garden had been vandalised in such a way’.

“Our youth engagement work has been restricted during the pandemic, but we are delighted to help these young people to re-plant their garden and, in so doing, re-energise our youth engagement programme in Pembrokeshire,” he said.

Sian Williams is Headteacher at the PLC, a school for 11-16 year olds with complex needs. She said: “We were all shocked and dismayed at the needless damage to an area where the pupils and staff had worked so hard to make into an enjoyable place to spend time. However we were touched by the outpouring of support and offers to help rectify the damage.

“One of our previous learners kindly reached out to help by donating his Education Maintenance Allowance in order to repair the damage. In addition B&Q Carmarthen donated plants to replace those destroyed, aided by MAWW Fire Service who worked alongside pupils to restore the garden to its previous state.

“We are hugely grateful, these offers restore your faith that kindness will always overcome.”

Jo Thomas, Teacher In Charge of the LRC, added: “We were so lucky to have the MAWW Fire and Rescue Service help us re-pot our garden, so it now looks good as new. We cannot thank everyone who offered help to us enough.

“It has made the young people in the PLC feel much happier because they were devastated at the damage children the same age caused, especially when they had worked so hard on the garden. All the children want to say a huge ‘thank you’.”

Local county councillor Simon Hancock said: “The ýoung people of the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre work so hard to cultivate their plants and improve their environment and it is shocking there has been this mindless vandalism. I am so grateful to the MAWW Fire and Rescue Service for their kind and timely support in putting things right.”

Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning, Cllr Guy Woodham also thanked the Fire and Rescue Service and the others who had helped stating: “When something as unkind as vandalising a school garden takes place, it is heart-warming when the community responds to address the wrong cause. I am very grateful for the continued support offered to the PLC by MAWW Fire and Rescue Service and all those who also helped restore the garden to its former glory.”

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Nigel Parlor runs Newport Marathon for Pembrokeshire NHS

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Nigel Parlor

WELL done to Nigel Parlor from Merlin’s Bridge, in Pembrokeshire, who is running the Newport Marathon to raise money for NHS mental health services in the county.

Nigel, who works for Network Rail, has been in training since June for the event, which takes place on October 24th.

As he pounds the course, Nigel is raising money for St Caradog Ward at the Bro Cerwyn Centre in Haverfordwest.

He said: “I have been suffering myself with anxiety and depression for the last year, so feel it is an appropriate area to support.

“I’m taking on the challenge of running the Newport marathon to raise money for my local mental health unit and to make people aware of the importance of talking about their mental health.”

Nigel, who has previously taken part in Long Course Weekend and other running events, added: “I am looking forward to the challenge and being part of a team to raise money for a worthwhile cause.”

To support Nigel, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nigel-parlor Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they wanted to thank Nigel for his fundraising efforts.

““The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive,” said Nicola.

For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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Pembrokeshire men run Newport Marathon to raise money for Glangwili

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Gerald and Bryan

COUSINS Bryan Hughes and Gerald Brace are running in the Newport Marathon to raise money for Prostate Cancer Services at Glangwili Hospital.

The pair are taking part in the ABP Newport Wales Marathon on 24 th October to say thank you for the treatment Bryan’s dad, Delroy Hughes, received at Glangwili Hospital after he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in July 2019.

Gerald said: “When Delroy was diagnosed it was a huge shock and worry for him and his family. But thanks to the quick action and treatment at Glangwili Hospital, along with radiotherapy at Singleton Hospital, Delroy has now been given the all-clear.”

“Bryan and myself will be running in the Newport Marathon to raise as much money as possible to give something back to the Prostate Cancer Unit for the fantastic work they do,” added Gerald, who is a 51-year-old personal trainer and sports massage therapist from Sageston, Tenby.

Bryan, 42, a Track Section Supervisor for Network Rail, from Haverfordwest, has completed the Newport Marathon before, in 2018. Gerald has also already completed two marathons, back in 2014.

Gerald said: “Training is going well. We are both up to 16 miles and reaching the business end of the training with an 18 and 20-miler to do in the next few weeks!”

The pair, pictured with Delroy Hughes, hope to raise £1,000 and are holding a raffle in October to help boost funds.

If you would like to donate to Bryn and Gerald’s fundraiser, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gerald-brace

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they wanted to thank Bryan and Gerald for their fundraising.

““The support of our local communities enables us to provide services over and above what the NHS can provide in the three counties of Hywel Dda and we are extremely grateful for every donation we receive,” said Nicola.

For more details about the charity and how you can help support local NHS patients and staff, go to www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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