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 thefarm 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 occured 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 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 89 !)
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.