SHOPLO­CAL

The best of re­gional food. This week: The Vale of Glam­or­gan, Wales

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Food & Drink - Rose Prince

With the area’s warm cli­mate, miles of pas­ture and beau­ti­ful coast­line, you would ex­pect the shops in the Vale of Glam­or­gan to teem with veg­eta­bles, beef, lamb and fresh fish. It is not that lo­cal peo­ple don’t care – they es­pe­cially lament a lack of fish­mon­gers that forces them to head to Cardiff’s mar­ket to stock up. And it is not a ques­tion of money. Judg­ing by the prop­erty prices dis­played in es­tate agents’ win­dows, the Vale is a pop­u­lar and ex­pen­sive not-quite sub­urb to the city.

But Tesco’s branch in the pretty mar­ket town of Cow­bridge sells ab­so­lutely no lo­cal pro­duce. It has ap­ples from Brazil and Ger­many, mush­rooms from Ire­land and straw­ber­ries from Spain. Not one veg­etable hails from Glam­or­gan, not even a leek, (al­though I have al­ways doubted any true Welsh pas­sion for eat­ing leeks).

The lo­cal Spar shop is no bet­ter. None of the re­gion’s fa­mous lamb or beef can be found there.

But farm shops are flour­ish­ing, bring­ing a lively at­mos­phere to the for­mer min­ing vil­lages and towns. In Llantwit Ma­jor, near the coast, is Bri­tain’s small­est, pret­ti­est butcher’s shop. And among the food pro­duc­ers of Glam­or­gan is a gem: a fruit farm mak­ing ice cream with wild fig among its flavours.

Su­per­mar­kets

Not un­usu­ally, there is lit­tle to re­port on this front. Tesco says its stores near Cardiff are shortly to stock more Welsh­sourced pro­duce. At present its Cardiff stores, which are not in the Vale, stock Cadog milk and cauliflow­ers, leeks and daf­fodils from the Re­ally Welsh Trad­ing Com­pany. Sains­bury’s sells “Taste the Dif­fer­ence” smooth­ies and juices made by The Se­ri­ous Food Com­pany, sausage rolls and savoury pas­tries made by Peter’s and cakes from Me­mory Lane. Mor­risons stores in Llan­ishen and Grange­town (Cardiff), Neath and Caephilly stock sticky tof­fee, straw­berry and triple-choco­late ice cream from Thay­ers in Cwm­bran.

Nei­ther Wait­rose nor Asda has shops in the re­gion but both have a rea­son­ably good record sup­ply­ing south Welsh Stores with Welsh pro­duce. Wait­rose has a store in Aber­gavenny and Asda’s store in Swansea sells quite a wide range, in­clud­ing Par­son’s cock­les, mus­sels and laver bread, Tan y Castell Welsh­cakes, Barry’s con­fec­tionary and Ad­well Welsh Brew tea bags.

Farms, farm shops and farm­ers’ mar­kets

Farm­ers’ mar­kets are held in the Vale of Glam­or­gan ev­ery Satur­day, in the fol­low­ing venues: 1st Sat – Cow­bridge; 3rd Sat – Pe­narth; 4th Sat - St Fa­gans, near Cardiff; 5th Sat – Barry. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 01446 774036 or see www.vale­farm­ers­mar­kets.co.uk. Ty­tan­glwyst Farm, Pyle, Brid­gend (07968 565 881; www.ty­tan­glwyst­dairy.com) Rhys Lougher and his fam­ily milk 80 pedi­gree Hol­steins at his dairy farm near Brid­gend. Re­al­is­ing the dairy busi­ness was in trou­ble, he in­vested heav­ily in a pas­teuri­sa­tion plant for the farm. Now it pro­duces half a mil­lion bot­tles of milk a year and dis­trib­utes to the doorstep, schools, ho­tels, restau­rants and shops. Slade Farm Or­gan­ics, South­ern­down (01656 880048) From their beau­ti­ful farm over­look­ing the dra­matic coast at South­ern­down, Peter and Rosamund Davies pro­duce or­ganic lamb, beef and Glouces­ter Old Spot pork. They sell their slow-grown meat lo­cally and en­cour­age farm-gate sales (but do tele­phone be­fore­hand). They also sup­ply or­ganic lamb to Wait­rose stores. Pen­coed Farm­ers & Grow­ers, Felin­dre, Pen­coed (01656 861956) John Roberts and Yvonne Les­lie run a veg­etable-box scheme from their 34-acre small­hold­ing on the edge of the Vale. From May un­til De­cem­ber they serve more than 100 cus­tomers weekly with ev­ery­thing from straw­ber­ries, spinach and let­tuce to cut flow­ers. The pair also sell their wares at the River­side farm­ers’ mar­ket in Cardiff. Co­coa & Co, Ver­i­tys Court, Cow­bridge (01446 775729) That a small mar­ket town can sus­tain a small spe­cial­ist choco­late shop is heart­en­ing and Co­coa & Co is of­ten heav­ing with peo­ple. Mary Roberts sources na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally and sells Fair­trade choco­late. She also sells a range of cof­fee and lo­cally pro­duced ice cream. Ty-Tal­garth Or­gan­ics, Nan­ty­moel (01656 840436) Nan­ty­moel is the most un­likely place for a farm shop. This for­mer min­ing vil­lage is fairly dour and de­pressed, but drive to the top and there’s a de­light wait­ing for meat lovers. The butch­ery is ad­ja­cent to the 2,000 acres that Jonathan Pugh farms. The shop op­er­ates a box scheme and will de­liver free within a 20-mile ra­dius. It has a pedi­gree herd of Welsh Black cat­tle, cures its own ba­con and

rears its own lambs. The Fruit Gar­den, Groes­faen Road, Peter­ston-su­perEly (01446 760358) Lucy Ge­orge and her par­ents run the Fruit Gar­den, which was orig­i­nally a fruit farm, and have di­ver­si­fied into ice cream (con­tact for stock­ists) and pick-your-own (June and July). An all-year­round farm shop opened on Thurs­day. It prom­ises to stock pro­duce from lo­cal farm­ers and grow­ers as well as its own wild fig ice cream.

Other shops

Straw­berry Fields, 6b Penny Lane, Shop­ping Precinct, Cow­bridge (01446 772675) Paul and his son Joel Preece run this fruit and veg­etable shop, which sells lo­cal goose, duck and chicken eggs as well as Gower cauliflow­ers, lo­cal plants and shrubs. In the sum­mer, the soft fruit is lo­cally pro­duced. This is a nice old-fash­ioned green­gro­cer with lots of fresh, loose pro­duce and vir­tu­ally no pack­ag­ing. Far­things at Home, 31 High Street, Cow­bridge (01446 773545) A well stocked del­i­catessen in the mid­dle of the town, with a good range of Welsh cheeses and cakes, Con­ti­nen­tal oils and char­cu­terie. It also makes bread on the premises. Alan Young Fam­ily Butcher, Church Street Llantwit Ma­jor (01446 792356) A tiny butcher’s shop that sells lo­cal meats to a loyal and pas­sion­ate fol­low­ing. It spe­cialises in Welsh lamb, beef and or­ganic Oak­land chicken.

Cook­ing with Glam­or­gan pro­duce

Make an un­usual braise us­ing Welsh lamb, fin­ished with leeks and cock­les from the Gower Penin­sula. The cock­les con­trib­ute a lit­tle of their salti­ness, but must only be added in the last mo­ments of cook­ing. You will be sur­prised how well this works — fish and meat of­ten get on well to­gether.

Brown 8-12 pieces of lamb chump or neck in drip­ping and add two sliced onions and two finely chopped sticks of cel­ery. Cover with lamb stock (which is made by stew­ing bones with wa­ter, car­rot and onion) and sim­mer for 1½-2 hours.

Ten min­utes be­fore serv­ing, add one very finely sliced leek and two hand­fuls of live cock­les in their shells.

Bring to the boil and sim­mer for five min­utes, then serve with pars­ley thrown over the top and plenty of bread.

Live cock­les are only spo­rad­i­cally avail­able from fish­mon­gers, but you can buy them on­line from www.mar­tinsseafresh.co.uk.

rose.prince@tele­graph.co.uk

Spot-on: Rosamund Davies of Slade Farm Or­gan­ics with a young Glouces­ter Old Spot; choco­lates at Co­coa & Co (above); and Welsh cheeses at Far­things deli (above right)

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