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Carmarthen pork producer celebrating being shortlisted as having Wales’s best banger

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Winner of the Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2021 competition will be announced in the next month

Red Valley Farm in Carmarthen is celebrating being shortlisted in Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’s ‘Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2021’ competition, with their Wild Boar and Apple Sausages having been selected as amongst the very best bangers in Wales.

Rearing their very own wild boar, Red Valley Farm is owned and run by friends and business partners Andy and Graeme and producing quality pork products has been their passion ever since they took over the farm from Andy’s parents a few years ago.

Andy said: “My parents kept a range of animals, but as they grew older they weren’t able to manage the farm anymore so it was down to me. We actually got into specialising in pig keeping by accident, as we were gifted one boar to help clear the ground following some tree planting. Everything on this farm today has literally grown from there, from our two breeding boars Minnie and Mouse and one other pig.”

Wales is home to many small scale, artisan pork producers specialising in creating a unique, hand-reared product. Their products are often only available to buy directly from the producer or in equally small scale local independent shops, like butchers, making it a more sustainable food product and generating fewer food miles.

On being shortlisted in the competition, Graeme said: “We are genuinely really delighted to have our sausages shortlisted as amongst the best sausages in Wales this year. We came second in the Put Your Best Sausage Forward competition in 2019, so this year I’m hoping we make it to the top spot!

“We make a number of different flavoured sausages but overall our biggest selling, which happens to be an absolutely outrageous seller, is our boar and apple burgers and sausages. They have a really unique flavour – they’re certainly different to your everyday banger – and we find that people love to try something different while knowing they are also getting a top quality, traceable product.

“We feed our boars and pigs on the best produce available, including brewers’ grain from two local brewers, and this year we are becoming self-sufficient for the first time by producing our own hay for our pigs – they eat better than us sometimes!

“At the end of the day, this is our business, the pigs are our future, and that is what is securing us to Red Valley Farm and making sure that this place is still here for our kids, and hopefully even their kids.”

Also shortlisted in the Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2021 competition is Cwm Farm Charcuterie in the Swansea Valley, with their Cheese and Chilli Traffic Light Sausages, and Daniel Morris Butchers in Mold and Denbigh, with their Denbigh Plum Chutney and Ginger Beer Sausages.

The winner of the Put Your Best Sausage Forward 2021 competition will be announced on the brand new Porc Blasus website and social media channels in the next month, following judging by rugby player and sausage enthusiast Scott Quinnell and Hybu Cig Cymru representative Elwen Roberts.

The winner will automatically qualify for the UK and Ireland Champion of Champions Sausage competition, which will take place at the virtual Butcher Shop of the Year 2021 Awards in February 2022.

Philippa Gill, Brand Marketing Executive at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, said: “Picking a shortlist of just three sausages is always a difficult but hugely enjoyable task, and this year was no exception thanks to our fantastic Porc Blasus family of producers. We had lots of great entries to choose from, from producers from right across Wales – so a massive thank you to everyone who took part.

“We’ll be profiling the shortlisted entrants, and announcing the winner, in special films shared via our new Porc Blasus website and social media channels in the coming weeks so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out more.”

You can buy burgers, sausages and other products directly from Andy and Graeme at Red Valley Farm via their on site shop, on the A40 between Carmarthen and St Clears near the showground, on Fridays and Saturdays 10am until 1pm. They are also in the process of setting up a website with online ordering and courier delivery.

For more information on pork produced in Wales, and where you can buy it, please visit www.porcblasus.cymru.

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Development Bank backs Carmarthenshire manufacturer

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MIDTEC, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of chimney cowls and flue systems has completed the construction of 2500 square feet of additional manufacturing space at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate near Ammanford, using a £220,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.

Formed in 2003 by Managing Director, Trefor Jenkins, Midtec first benefitted from investment from the Development Bank in 2005.

They have since had several rounds of funding from the Development Bank to support growth plans and the next generation is looking to the future with the new additional space being used to house a state of the art ENSIS laser cutting machine, supplied by Amada.

Trefor said: “The ongoing support of the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to grow the business, drive efficiencies and invest in new market opportunities. We’ve also introduced new products including the MidCat, an innovative solution for reducing the pollution created by wood burning stoves and the only one of its kind in the UK.”

“Our latest investment in our technology means that we can now offer a laser cutting service that will help to improve our quality and production processes and save time on the turnaround of customer orders. We hope that this will play an important part in our future growth. Indeed, our turnover is on target to exceed £2 million this year and I’m delighted that my son Thomas and daughter Hannah are already playing a vital role in the business as we focus on our long-term sustainability.”

Richard Easton, a Portfolio Executive with the Development Bank, said: “Midtec is a family run and owned business that is known for its high quality and excellent customer service. With our continued support, Trefor, Thomas, Hannah and the team have created a modern manufacturing facility that has a really exciting future ahead.”

The loan came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government.

Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.

Construction company TRJ of Ammanford carried out the building work, while Jamie Reynolds of Cennen Solutions has also been providing strategic support.

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Trainees are the lifeblood of south Wales accountancy firm

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ASHMOLE & CO are encouraging those qualifying from university, waiting for their GCSE or A Level results to consider a future career in accountancy. 

Trainees are the lifeblood of the accountancy firm which has offices throughout south Wales.

James Davies has been employed by Ashmole & Co since 2017 as a Trainee Accountant based in the Carmarthen office. James has steadily been progressing to becoming a fully qualified accountant whilst working with the firm full time. 

He has just recently passed his 10th exam and has just five more exams to pass until he gains his Chartered Accountancy qualification (ICAEW).

As a Trainee Accountant, day to day, James prepares financial accounts for clients, Tax returns and VAT returns for local individuals, sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.

Sharon George, Partner in the Carmarthen Ashmole & Co office, said, “It is important as a profession that we help nurture the next generation of professional accountants. Trainee staff members are the lifeblood for the future success of our firm. We are a local business and are always keen to employ those who live locally.”

James lives in Llandeilo and after gaining his A Levels at Ysgol Gyfun Tregib he gained his AAT qualifications at Coleg Sir Gar whilst working for Pritchard Jones Accountants in Carmarthen. When the firm’s director retired in 2017 the firm was taken over by Ashmole & Co and James has been employed with Ashmole & Co since. 

James said, “Providing a high-quality service to current and new clients is the most rewarding part of the job for me. Providing this reliable service allows local businesses to manage the day to day running of their business while entrusting us to manage their accounts and tax affairs. The most challenging part is the substantial changes to IT in accounting over the last decade and that will continue into the next decade. It’s important for us to keep up to date with current technologies.”

In his spare time James likes keeping physically active at the gym, running and cycling. He is a keen sports fan, especially rugby and is an avid supporter of the Scarlets rugby team.

Ashmole & Co are one of the largest chartered certified accountants in Wales. The rapidly expanding and modern firm often has job opportunities for enthusiastic individuals both qualified and non-qualified within the organisation. 

If you feel you have the qualities to be part of the team at Ashmole & Co, please email, with your CV attached, to AshmoleHR@ashmole.co.uk. Alternatively, apply for a specific vacancy listed on the website: www.ashmole.co.uk

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House prices in Carmarthenshire rise at the highest rate across west Wales

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HOUSE prices in Carmarthenshire have risen by 17.5% annually in the second quarter of 2022 (April-June) to reach a new peak price of £228,609.

The figures have been released from Principality Building Society’s Wales House Price Index for Q2 2022, which demonstrates the rise and fall in house prices in each of the 22 local authorities in Wales.

Carmarthenshire’s double digit percentage rise annually was the second highest across the whole of Wales, after Blaenau Gwent, and coupled with a strong quarterly rise of 4.7%. Ceredigion also experienced a new peak price in Q2 of £274,967 reflected in a 12.3% annual increase and 4.4% quarterly rise.

While Pembrokeshire also recorded a strong 9.9% annual increase in Q2 to £248,172, it saw a slight dip across the quarter by 2.2%.

Shaun Middleton, Head of Distribution at Principality Building Society, said: “Against the backdrop of significant cost of living pressures, with food, fuel and energy prices continuing to spiral, higher interest rates anticipated from the Bank of England, and the collapse in confidence levels across companies and households, there is a growing expectation that the wider economy will enter recession over the coming quarters. Across the UK, these cost-of living pressures have begun feeding through into lenders’ affordability calculations, whilst higher mortgage rates might affect the ability and willingness of households to borrow.

“Such changes appear modest for now, but they are cumulative in nature, and their eventual impact will be influenced by the ultimate extent of rate increases, the resilience of the jobs market and the ability of households to increase income. The housing market in Wales starts from a strong position, as prices have been steadily rising post-Covid restrictions but is not immune to these macro-economic challenges, and the likelihood is that housing demand and property price inflation will ease over the coming quarters.”

Wales continues to experience some of the strongest property price increases across the UK as the average price of a property rose to more than £240,000 for the first time. The new peak average price of £240,635 in Wales reflects an 11.5% annual increase and a 3.1% quarterly increase.

Half of local authorities reported double digit percentage price increases in Q2, with nine areas also recording new peaks. Blaenau Gwent and the Vale of Glamorgan join Carmarthenshire in reporting annual price increases of more than 15%.

Principality’s Wales House Price Index estimates there were as many as 11,900 transactions in Wales in Q2, 9% higher than in Q1 and well above corresponding levels in 2019, pre-Covid. In the second quarter of 2022, sales of detached homes are down nearly a fifth (19%) while sales of flats are up 14%.

For more information go to: http://www.principality.co.uk/mortgages/house-price-index

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