Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Penrhiw Organic Farm open day

I was at the Penrhiw Farm open day, organised with Slow Food South East Wales, on May Bank Holiday Monday 2 May 2016. The farm, on a hill above Trelewis, produces organic meat that is sold at Farmers’ Markets around South Wales.
Penrhiw Farm is run by John and Celia Thomas. They started the two-year process of turning the farm organic in 1999. Since then, they have produced good-quality organic beef, lamb and mutton.

The lamb is from South Wales Mountain sheep; also called Nelson South Wales Mountain sheep (Nelson is a Valley town just a few miles down the road from the farm). This breed is part of the food heritage of South Wales. The meat is renowned for its sweet taste and succulence. Slow Food South East Wales are trying to get South Wales Mountain Lamb included in the Slow Food Ark of Taste: an international catalogue of heritage foods. The Ark is designed to promote foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and have strong links to local areas (Pedigree Welsh Pig is already aboard the Ark).

On a farm walk we saw the flock of sheep with lambs. One characteristic of the South Wales Mountain lambs is the brown neck – as you can see in these photos. The ewes thrive on the clover-rich pastures on the upland farm.

The beef at Penrhiw Farm comes from a herd of around 30 Aberdeen Angus cows. We saw them in their field with calves; though one mother and calf were in the barn, where John described how he had delivered the calf at 8 am that morning.
On the farm walk, we also saw the farm’s horses, bees and areas replanted with trees.

At the Farmers’ Markets, the Thomas’ combine their produce with pork from the Welsh Pigs, as well as chickens and eggs, from Cefn Coed Farm, near llansannor. A sow and her piglets, born the previous Friday evening, were on display in the barn. Graham, from Cefn Coed, cooked the BBQ that rounded off the afternoon.
For more information about Slow Food South East Wales: http://www.slowfoodsoutheastwales.org.uk/
Penrhiw Farm’s website: www.penrhiwfarmorganic.co.uk

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