Penrhiw Farm is an upland farm, situated on the eastern side of the Taff Bargoed valley between Trelewis and Bedlinog in the county borough of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.
Penrhiw Farm is run by John and Celia Thomas who take great care to produce good quality organic beef, lamb and mutton and to make it readily available to discerning customers.
Cefn Coed / Fforest Farm at Llansannor is run by Celia's brother, Graham.Hopkin and his daughter Ffion. Delicious oganically reared pork, eggs and chickens are produced outdoors.with a huge emphasis on animal welfare.
Penrhiw Farm has been owned by the Thomas family for at least four generations, and the farmhouse, dating back to at least 1600, is of the traditional Welsh long house type with a stone barn attached.
The land rises from 850 ft (at the farm yard) to 1000 ft at the mountain gate which opens out onto the Merthyr and Gelligaer Common. The farm is mainly permanent grassland with a small area of forage crops which are grown to support the livestock in winter. Penrhiw Farm attained organic status in 2001
A flock of purebred South Wales mountain sheep, known locally as Nelsons, was established fifty years ago. These ewes are renowned for their hardiness and tremendous natural mothering instincts and produce lambs of excellent flavour. A small number of Suffolk x South Wales Mountain ewes produce early lambs for the markets. This is to ensure we can provide fresh lamb all the year around.
The herd of predominantly Aberdeen Angus suckler cows is bred with our pedigree Aberdeen Angus bulls. The calves are born in the spring and suckle their mothers for nine months. They spend the cold and wet winter months indoors and are then turned out onto fresh grass in the spring. Aberdeen Angus beef is renowned for its marbling, succulence and tenderness as well as a really good flavour.
A few changes have occurred over recent years. To expand the range of organic meat on offer, Penrhiw has linked up with Cefn Coed / Fforest Farm. Cefn Coed and Fforest Farm has been owned by the Hopkin family for 3 generations and is where Celia grew up with her siblings, Graham and Kath. After a period when Fforest was rented out to a neighbouring farmer, the farm returned to family control in 2015. Graham and his family took on the challenge of converting the land to a mixed organic livestock and arable farm. Ffion has left school and works on Penrhiw and Cefn Coed as well as attending Coleg Sir Gar at Gelli Aur. Nanny Sheila has retired but still oversees all operations and is always a valuable source of advice (and practical help - at 87 !)
The limestone derived soils of the Border Vale are productive and good for grass and growing arable crops. They drain freely and spring comes earlier than at Penrhiw. Welsh pigs, chickens - both laying hens and meat birds, a small herd of Welsh Black suckler cows, a flock of ewes and turkeys for Christmas have gradually been added as well as growing a range of cereal crops for feed.
Penrhiw Farm’s organic meat is all processed on the farm. The cattle and sheep are slaughtered in the Caerphilly Abattoir and the pigs in Maesteg at Maddock Kembury Meats. They are brought back to Penrhiw to hang in our own cold room.
Our Aberdeen Angus beef, derived from our suckler herd, is renowned for its marbling, succulence and tenderness as well as really good flavour.The carcases are hung in our own cold room for approx. 4 weeks. We offer a full range of roasting joints, steaks, mince and stewing steak. Our burgers are all hand made using fresh herbs and oats with no preservatives or flavouring added. We occasionally have Welsh Black beef.
Our South Wales Mountain sheep, known locally as Nelsons, produce lambs of excellent flavour. The Suffolk X South Wales Mountain ewes produce early lambs to ensure we can provide fresh lamb all year around. A leg of lamb from Penrhiw won a Gold Award in the Wales True Taste Award in 2011/12. A wide range of roasting joints as well as chops, racks and mince are available.
Our mutton is hung for at least 2 weeks and comes from ewes that are at least 2 years old. Many are much older - having come to the end of their reproductive lives. Some as old as 8 years!! Use mutton to make the most excellent stews and curries - the long cooking enhances the flavour of the spices. A leg of mutton recently featured in the National Sheep Association's mutton tasting at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and was deemed the most flavoursome.
Our pork comes from Welsh Pigs which are organically reared at Cefn Coed/Fforest. They roam freely outdoors, rooting around in the soil and enjoying life to the full. When the weather is bad they come indoors and enjoy deep straw beds. We sell a full range of roasting joints and chops, as well as bacon, gammon and sausages – plain pork; pork & apple, pork & leek; honey & mustard all made from natural ingredients. No artificial preservatives, flavourings or colours are used.
A flock of organically reared hens freely roam. The brown eggs taste wonderful with lovely rich yellow yolks. Happy hens sing all day long as they scratch in the soil and eat grass.
The demand for free range chicken has prompted the development of a small scale meat chicken rearing enterprise. A small on farm chicken abattoir has been organically approved and certified. Organic chickens are now available weekly continuing the Hopkin tradition of rearing chickens for the table.
At Christmas, free range organically reared bronze turkeys are a special treat
Penrhiw Farm attends various Farmers' Markets:
Rhiwbina in North Cardiff in the car park of the Butchers Arms every Friday morning from 10 - 1 pm.*
Riverside in Cardiff every Sunday in every month 10-2 pm
Caerphilly Market in the Twyn Hall on the 2nd Saturday of every month from 9.30 - 1 pm*
Porthcawl market on every 4th Saturday from 9.30 - 12.30 pm*
* Not currently attending
Within a 5 mile radius of Penrhiw Farm or Cefn Coed - ring for details. (see contact details)
Collections from the farm
Open all hours! Ring first to make sure there is someone home.
Order in the butcher's shop in Treharris -"Cig Mynydd Cymru" see www.cigmynyddcymru.co.uk*
Celia's emails, containing snippets of farm news, have become infamous and are included here. Updated fortnightly - follow the events at Penrhiw and Cefn Coed / Fforest - good and bad ...