With rugby supporters and foreign dignitaries among its fans, Cwm Farm Charcuterie’s salami and cured meats are gaining a reputation for flavour and innovation.
Cwm Farm’s story began eight years ago when carpenter Andrew Davies and his school administrator wife Ruth began rearing Saddleback and Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs at their smallholding in Rhydyfro near Pontardawe.
Initially, they intended to produce pork and sausages for themselves, but such was the positive response from friends and family they decided to expand production and sell them to the public.
Says Ruth, “We bought a catering trailer – Poacher’s Pantry – and sold our bacon and sausages on the A4067 in Pontardawe.”
Looking for ways to add more value to their pork products Ruth went on a fact-finding visit to Denmark, where for the first time she saw salami being made – and it was a revelation.
“This was the something extra I had been looking for,” says Ruth, “and our Saddleback pigs have the right fat ratio for salami making too.”
With help from agri-food support project, Cywain, and 18 months of technical advice and training at the Food Centre Wales at Horeb, Ruth and Andrew created three varieties of salami.
Through assistance from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s Business Development team, the couple set about creating their ‘Salami HQ’ on Pontardawe Industrial Estate, and sourcing specialist equipment – including a drying cabinet from Italy.
Says Ruth “We’ve worked with the Council’s business team from the start, and they have given us lots of great advice in all areas including where to source grants so we can grow our business.”
The home-grown venture has developed into a thriving enterprise producing an innovative and award-winning range of salami and cured meats.
Their growing client base is particularly strong in London where they count top restaurants and iconic retailer Selfridges among their customers.
They have featured at foodie ‘heaven’ - Borough Market too and have just been included on the menu at Tomos Parry’s new restaurant, ‘Brat’ in Shoreditch.
Says Ruth, “It’s been an amazing journey with some wonderful opportunities, and to be able to work with people we’ve met along the way is fantastic.”
Cwm Farm’s range has been served at a Downing Street reception to Prime Minister Theresa May, and at the British Embassy in Finland too.
While nearer to home, Cwm Farm’s charcuterie can be found at Parc y Scarlets, farmers markets, delis and restaurants where they are sold in a variety of flavours and sizes and can be served in numerous ways.
The council’s business team is currently helping Cwm Farm with its next expansion project – the creation of a ‘salt wall’ drying room and refrigeration area.
Explains Ruth, “A salt wall entails using blocks of pink Himalayan salt which help to dry the salami, and with NPTCBC’s help we are preparing the room.”
Cllr Annette Wingrave said: “We are so pleased that the Business development team has been able to work with, what was initially a small business to grow and expand its products. The development of the new salt wall will see the company diversify and expand into new markets. We wish Ruth and Andrew all the best with the business.”