wiskyThe Countryside Alliance Awards (aka “Rural Oscars”) were presented to the cream of Welsh rural enterprise at The Senedd, on Tuesday 9 February.

The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage through our small hard-working businesses. The Welsh champions were presented with red plaques at the prestigious Cardiff Bay event.

The Countryside Alliance’s director for Wales, Rachel Evans, introduced the Awards and winners at the reception which was kindly sponsored by Assembly Members Keith Davies, Llyr Gruffydd, Russell George and William Powell. Rachel announced the highly commended and winning businesses in four categories and they were each given their awards by deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, Ken Skates.

Local Food Category

CharcutierWinner: Charcutier Ltd, Felin y Glyn Farm, Pontnewydd, Llanelli, SA15 5TL. Tel: 01554 810 345, website: http://charcutier.co.uk, twitter: @CharcutierLtd

Rachel Evans told the audience: “Charcutier’s production line began on the farm kitchen table, but demand and business grew and led to the conversion of an old milking parlour. A deep commitment to playing fair with farming, ensures sustainability for their suppliers and an honest, rewarding business deal for all concerned. Offering more than the industry price for pork as they will not pay any farmer less than their cost of production, has given them a reputation for being purchasers to engage with and very high animal welfare standards.  Providing an outlet for dairy bull calves by agreeing a new deal for rose veal demonstrates another commitment to supporting the agricultural industry from the gate to the plate. Specialist meat producers Charcutier Ltd are the very deserving winners of this award.”

Highly commended: Llangollen Brewery, Horseshoe Pass Road, Llantysilio, Llangollen, LL20 8DD. Tel: 01978 861916,Llangollen Brewery website: http://www.llangollenbrewery.com/, email: [email protected]

Other finalists: Mon ar Lwy handmade icecream, Anglesey, http://www.monarlwy.co.uk/ and

Thornhill Farm Shop, Cardiff, http://www.thornhillfarm.co.uk/

Village Shop/ Post Office category

PwllglasWinner: Siop Gymunedol Pwllglas Community Shop, Pwllglas, Ruthin, Denbighshire LL15 2PB, Tel: 01824 703730, website: http://www.sioppwllglas.co.uk/

Rachel Evans said: “This award goes to a community enterprise that re-launched a village shop after a 20-year gap in service. It is owned and run by the community, employing five local people with the support of almost 20 volunteers. Celebrating its third year in business in 2016, this village enterprise embraces opportunities and has proved to be sustainable with I am sure a great future ahead of it. Whether recycling plastic bottle tops to make items to sell, ordering the syndicate oil, providing a takeaway, the weekly shop lottery or selling a very good cup of tea, the entrepreneurial thinking of the team at Pwllglas has secured its future.”

Parsons noseHighly commended: The Parson’s Nose Village Stores, 13 Queens Hill, Dingestow, Monmouthshire, NP25 4BE, Tel: 01600 740664, website: http://www.theparsonsnose.com/Village-Shop.html, email: [email protected]

Other finalists: Siop Dewi, Llandysul, http://www.capeldewishop.org/; The Post Office, Glyn Ceiriog, https://www.facebook.com/Glyn-Ceiriog-Post-Office-420843611351801/

Butcher Award

Martin PlayerWinner: Martin Player of Whitchurch, 10 Park Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF14 7BQ, tel: 029 2061 6094, website: http://www.martinplayer.com/, email: [email protected], twitter: @cardiffbutcher

Rachel Evans said: “This award is presented to a butcher who started out at the age of just 16. When he finally had the chance to take ownership of the shop in which he had worked since his schooldays, he had to build up the

business from scratch. Then Foot and Mouth Disease struck which almost forced him to close the shop door. Thankfully, with hard work and determination to offer quality meat to consumers, the business has grown year on year. The shop has won numerous awards for its meat and meat products and this butcher recently became one of the elite 108 across Britain to be a member of the Q Guild of Butchers. With people literally queuing down the street of Whitchurch for their Christmas orders the future is bright for Martin Player and I am delighted to announce him the winner of our butcher category.”

Bethesda Farm ShopHighly Commended: Bethesda Farm Shop, Rose Villa, Bethesda, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, SA67 8HQ, tel: 01437 563124, website: http://www.bethesdafarmshop.co.uk/, twitter: @ bethesdameats

Other finalist: Dyserth Butchers, Rhyl, tel: 01745 570324.

Tourism Award

Really Wild Food FestWinner: Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival, Pwll Caerog Farm, Berea SA62 6DG, tel: 01348 837405, website: http://www.reallywildfestival.co.uk/, email: [email protected]

Rachel Evans said: “The winner of this category has opened up a corner of Wales, welcoming thousands of visitors every year to explore and get in touch with our countryside through adventure and food. The ethos of this enterprise has been very much about having a close connection with the countryside and to include producers offering ingredients or materials from the wild in their products. The festival focusses on sustainable food resources and countryside activities, offering an extensive program of events from foraging to willow weaving, gun dog displays and many wild food cooking demonstrations. Coupled with the festival is Celtic Camping and together they welcome more than 15,000 visitors a year to Pembrokeshire.”

Cwmcrwth Farm and Holiday CottagesHighly commended: Cwmcrwth Farm and Holiday Cottages, Cwmcrwth Farm, Broadoak, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, SA32 8QP, tel: 01558 669160, website: http://www.cwmcrwthfarm.co.uk/, email: [email protected], twitter: @CwmcrwthHols

Other finalists: Honey Brook Wigwam Holidays, Llandrindod Wells, http://www.wigwamholidays.com/honeybrook-wigwams, Carreg Adventure, Reynoldston, Swansea, http://www.carregadventure.co.uk, and Celtic Quest Coasteering, Ambleston, Haverfordwest, https://www.celticquestcoasteering.com/