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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

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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