TWO North Wales farming families h ave lau nched their ownmeat bu siness, and inthe process h ave safegu ard ed th e fu tu re of Snowdonia’s last abattoir.
FUW members Tesni and Dafydd WynJones, who farm near Trawsfynydd, have joined forces with friends and neighbou rs, Dewi and Megan Williams, also FUW members, to create Cig Eryri (Snowd onia Meat), in a bid to create a broader market for their lamb and beef.
The impetu s for the bu siness came whenthe opportu nity arose to take over th eir local abattoir, a move which would give them the ch ance to take control of th e wh ole process ‐from farm to plate.
The Cae Iago abattoir, which is situated betweenTrawsfynydd and Blaenau Ffestiniog, closed last Christmas when the owner Evan Roberts retired. That meant the nearest slau ghtering facilities wou ld be in Corwen or Llanrwst.
“We u su ally take some lambs to Cae Iago, and Evan told me Tesni. “I didn’t like the thought of the local abattoir closing down, as it is the only one in the Snowdonia National Park. Dafydd and I got ch atting with Dewi and Megan, and we d ecid ed to go for it.”
With Evanas a mentor and the services of a local bu tcher, Cig Eryri will process and sell the Jones’ and Williams’ lamb and beef, which will be sold mail order via the soonto be lau nched Cig Eryri / Snowdonia Meat website and at local retailers. The added bonus being local farms will still be able to enjoy the services of a local abattoir.
Dewi said : “It won’t ju st operate for Cig Eryri, keeping the abattoir going will be for other people to sell their produce as well ‐ it will provid e a commu nity service too.”
Tesni adds: “We want to keep the carbon footprint betweenfarm, abattoir and shop as s m a l l a s p o s s i b l e , a nd w e ’ r e t a l k i ng w i t h retailers who are keento u se local Snowd onia lamb. Hopefu lly, things will progress as Cig Eryri we can bu y‐in local meat too, and offer additional services at the abattoir such as matu ring beef and meat packaging service.”
Mu ch planning and technical cou rses have followed , inclu d ing h elp from Cywaina Menter a Bu snes d elivered project th at su pports th e development of growth orientated bu sinesses inthe food and drink sector inWales.
Tesni said: “Throu gh Cywain we have had h elp with mentoring, ou r packaging and branding, and they introdu ced u s to the Food Tech nology Centre in Llangefni wh ere we’ve been helped to achieve the necessary food safety and HACCP standards.”
It has beena change indirectionfor both families, wh ose d iversification projects u ntil now had predominantly been based arou nd land skills, with Dafyd d u nd ertaking fencing and forestry work, and Dewi stonewalling. Meganis a su pport worker, while Tesni works part‐time at the farmers’ mart inDolgellau and also ru ns a sh eep trekking enterprise ‐ Sh eep Walk Snowd onia ‐ with h er d au gh ter Lois, featu ring their small flock of pedigree Zwartbles sheep.