THE Duke of Edinburgh visited one of Pembrokeshire's key businesses this morning.
His Royal Highness visited Puffin’s headquarters at Withybush near Haverfordwest, where he toured the company’s state-of-the-art fresh produce facilities.
He was particularly interested in the machinery and speaking to the growers and hearing about the local provenance of Puffin’s produce and how this approach benefits agriculture and the local economy in Pembrokeshire.
Puffin Produce Ltd’s managing director, Huw Thomas said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to Puffin Produce.
“We hope that His Royal Highness enjoyed his visit, which is the pinnacle of a very exciting year for our company, its growers and indeed farming in Pembrokeshire."
Last December, the county's famous Pembrokeshire Earlies were granted European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, protecting its identity and putting it on a par with some of the most famous food and drink products in the world.
“Consumers can now be absolutely sure that when they buy Pembrokeshire Earlies they are getting a product which has been grown and picked in Pembrokeshire, using traditional methods," said Mr Thomas.
“Achieving PGI status was a long and rigorous process, and now we can’t wait until this year’s crop – the first with PGI status - come into season within the next few weeks.”
Puffin invited 250 children from local schools to greet the Duke of Edinburgh.
Two six year-old pupils from Hook Primary, Rhys Jones and Lily Ramsey presented a commemorative model of a coal waggon – one of a limited edition specially made to celebrate the school’s centenary.
Also taking part in the day were Puffin’s group of dedicated growers and their families, who have been the life-blood of Puffin’s business for over 30 years.
Said Mr Thomas: “Our business and our grower base has more than doubled in the past three years, and the next step will be the addition of a new cold storage facility on a new site close to our headquarters.”