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Local food producers take advantage of the dark skies of Wales

Astronomy meets gastronomy in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales, as local food, drink and craft producers make the most of world-class dark skies.

Local producers have created their own food, drink and craft network and are currently planning to launch new branded produce, in the Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park, in celebration of some of the darkest skies in the world.

All this comes after a report published recently confirmed that 99% of the Cambrian Mountains night sky has the best dark skies possible owing to there being such low light pollution. As such, this part of Wales is perfect for foodies and stargazers alike.

Dà Mhìle Distillery will soon be launching an exciting new Cambrian Mountains Dark Skies themed product and what’s more, Dà Mhìle have collaborated with Welsh Homestead Smokery to produce a special edition smoked bacon.

Ideal for energising is the fruity Morgan’s Brew Stargazer Tea Blend and for the ultimate cosmic caffeine hit, why not try the cacao orange tasting notes of Teifi Coffee’s Dark Skies coffee. Add local milk from Llaeth Llanfair or Gwarffynnon for a milky coffee under the Milky Way!

Small family-run butchers Mathews Butchers have created star-shaped local beef and lamb burgers too, perfect for those summer BBQs under the August Perseid meteor shower.

Tantalise those taste buds with the Dark Skies Preserve from award-winning Radnor Preserves as well as the ultimate experience of the Cambrian Mountains Hathren Brownies Galaxy Collection. For the young or even young at heart stargazer, why not slip a bar of Sarah Bunton’s Dark Skies chocolate into your backpack and you’re set for a great night out under the stars.

Network coordinators, the Cambrian Mountains Initiative, hope to work with local retailers and outlets, including local accommodation providers, to provide opportunities for people to buy these wonderful new products. In recognition of this, a Cambrian Mountains Local Produce Champion scheme will be established.

“This is one of many themed networks we’ve set up over the last few years and it’s great to support these local, rural businesses in making the most of the Cambrian Mountains Astro Trail”, said Cambrian Mountains Initiative Project Manager Dafydd Wyn Morgan.

“Working with the Cambrian Mountains Initiative has given us a sense of identity within Wales itself, and we are very excited to be launching our new products as part of this local produce network”, said Joanna from Radnor Preserves.

“The Cambrian Mountains Initiative has a great list of contacts for networking and generating leads, and the social media posts are plentiful” says Chris from Teifi Coffee, who hopes to benefit from working alongside fellow network members.

Cambrian Mountains-inspired local produce will be officially launched, in partnership with Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water, on Saturday 23rd of October 2021 between 10am and 4pm at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre near Rhayader, Powys.

The Cambrian Mountains Initiative’s work is an RDP-funded project and part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, Ceredigion County Council, Powys County Council and Carmarthenshire County Council.

The project also receives support from the Cefn Croes Windfarm Community Trust, Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Community Fund, Aberystwyth University and the Elan Valley Trust.