A centre of excellence for Welsh food has opened two new outlets as part of a major expansion plan.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in the Conwy Valley has launched fresh meat counters in North Wales and the Wirral, stocking its range of specialist cuts, award-winning burgers, BBQ range and bangers.
The company is also seeking to increase its workforce to meet the growing demand for its produce.
The two new ‘mini-Bodnants’ are based at Bryn Teg holiday park at Llanrug in Gwynedd along with Gordale Garden Centre in Burton, South Wirral.
Large state of the art display fridges have been installed at both of them, which will be stocked with a wide selection of products, most of which will be delivered fresh each day direct from Bodnant with the centre’s new van.
Bodnant has also launched a home delivery service so shoppers can order a hamper of Welsh-raised meat and other Bodnant goodies, direct to their doorstep.
The centre’s butchery manager Jason Fraser explained that both the new outlets and the delivery vehicle are firsts for Bodnant.
He said: “The satellite counters and the van are completely new departures for us and will help us get our fantastic products into a whole new market.
“The counters are based on large display fridges with enough space to showcase a wide range of meat products, all of which is prepared and pre-packed in our butchery department.
“The burger range on the counters includes some of our most popular items, such as beef and onion, pork and apple, lamb and mint and our new line combining Welsh Black Beef with locally brewed Welsh Black Ale, which is going down really well.
“The sausage range features traditional breakfast, pork and leek, pork and chive and pork, apricot and Bodnant’s own Aberwen cheese.
“We’ve also got the Bodnant Dog – our take on a classic hot dog sausage – along with kebabs and grill-sticks.
“In the chicken line there’s whole birds plus fillets and portions, some of them flavoured with things like wild garlic, Chinese sauce and lemon chilli.
“Then we have our steaks – sirloins, rump and fillet – all of Bodnant’s locally sourced Welsh Black Beef, along with bacon which is from a local source and cured in my department.
“On the counters we also have our usual offers on multi-packs and mix and match lines.”
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre managing director Chris Morton is hoping the new counters will introduce a new wave of customers to the centre’s range, which recently won eight Welsh Awards for Excellence in Meat Products.
He said: “We’re already extremely busy and the introduction of the new counters will mean increased demand for our products. The BBQ range is perfect for holiday makers and means they don’t have to leave the campsite to get high quality produce.
“We are looking at taking on extra staff to cater for the demand – possibly two or three more people to add to our existing team of six, under Jason.
“The satellite counters are actually like having two more shops, or mini Bodnants, and we want to make sure they are adequately staffed.
“We’ve just taken delivery of a smart new refrigerated van, which will help us to keep the satellite counters freshly stocked and also be used in local deliveries in the area around Bodnant.
“These two developments, coupled with a new dedicated butchery department website, are very exciting and should give us the chance to showcase Bodnant products to people who have never tried them before.”
The man behind the wheel of the new delivery van also says he’s been raring to get the new service on the road.
Graham Jones, who lives in Glan Conwy and has worked in the Farm Shop at Bodnant since last November, said: “It’s great to be part of something new like this.
“The van gives us the chance to get our products out to people across a much wider area and once they’ve tried them I know they’ll definitely be wanting some repeat orders which I’ll be happy to deliver.”
James McAllister, owner of the Bryn Teg Holiday Park at Llanrug, is enthusiastic about the site’s new mini-Bodnant counter.
He said: “We have a fleet of holiday lodges and caravans, which attracts 10,000 visitors a year, and having the counter gives a new dimension to our appeal.
“We are very excited about being associated with Bodnant, which has a fantastic reputation for its food and produce, including its Welsh Black Beef which will feature on the counter.
“A lot of our visitors come from the North West of England and to give them something that is Welsh and local is for us a real bonus.
“We recently had Dai Chef, Bodnant’s resident chef, at Bryn Teg to do a tasting for our visitors and the feedback from his visit was superb.”
Gordale Garden Centre’s Food Hall expert Linda Jones is also delighted about the arrival of the new meat counter.
She said: “We have lots of visitors from North West England and North Wales every day, so having a counter with just high-quality locally sourced meat is something we know our customers will love.
“Bodnant has a fantastic reputation for great produce, from sausages and burgers to their famous Welsh Black Beef, so we’re really pleased to be able to feature them in store.
“Many of the breads, honeys, chutneys and sauces we sell in our food hall are from nearby suppliers already, so we’re glad we can now add delicious meats to our great range of locally sourced produce.”
Bodnant Welsh Food is located in a building dating from the 18th century which has been lovingly restored and includes a farm shop, tea room, restaurant, wine cellar, cookery school and farmhouse accommodation.
The centre had its fanfare opening by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation.
More details at bodnant-welshfood.co.uk