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3 June 2024

Shouting at Mushrooms in Welsh Helps Tea Company Earn Award Nomination

Staff at a wellbeing tea company in Carmarthenshire say that shouting at their mushrooms helps them to grow more quickly.

Now the team at Tetrim Teas in Trimsaran has been shortlisted for an award for its use of the Welsh language – including with the mushrooms it uses in some of its products.

The not-for-profit business, which launched its range of green teas last year, has been shortlisted for the award at the Gwobrau Mwyaf Cymraeg yn y Byd (Most Welsh in the World Awards) organised as part of the Bwrlwm ARFOR scheme run by Anglesey-based consultancy firm Lafan.

Kelly Stockwell, business manager for Tetrim, said:

“All of us in the company speak Welsh and we always use the language as the first option in speaking to customers and suppliers but if they’re not comfortable with that then of course we’re happy to switch to English.

“As part of our training we have discovered that the mushrooms respond to shocks such as shouting at them or playing loud music by growing more quickly – so we will use that as a stimulus. Of course we shout at them in Welsh.”

The aim of the competition is to celebrate all things Welsh in business across the four counties with the highest percentage of Welsh speakers, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Aberystwyth on June 20. The Tetrim team has been shortlisted in the category for the Most Welsh Staff.

Kelly said:

“We use green teas from the Dartmoor Estate in Devon as a base and then use rhubarb from a farm on Ynys Mon to make our Rhubarb Root Tea, our first product, which came out last year.

“We have since added our Lion’s Mane Tea, made with mushrooms from Gwynedd-based Madarch Cymru and launched on St David’s Day.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and we would like to source all our ingredients in Wales as much as we can to lower our food miles.

“We would like to work with farmers and growers to develop a regular green tea supplier here because they could grow tea plants in polytunnels, but for the moment we use the Dartmoor Estate.

“Our wellbeing tea collection is the main focus of the company and our three mushroom units funded by ARFOR should be at full capacity by the end of the summer, growing the Lion’s Mane Mushrooms, Shiitake and Wood Oyster varieties.”

Mari Arthur, who set up Tetrim Teas three years ago, became convinced of the benefits of green tea when she ran a health spa and that inspired her to launch the business. Tetrim Teas has worked with scientists and students at Aberystwyth University on clinical trials which suggest their teas had a positive effect on the health of those taking part.

Mari said:

“We are also a not-for-profit family business and enjoy giving back to our community.

“We do projects with local schools, growing tea plants with the children of the eco-committee, and also have a weekly Tŷ Tê – Tea Hub – where we encourage social gatherings of people to drink tea, chat about wellbeing and health and practise speaking Welsh.

“The fact we have been shortlisted for the Staff Mwyaf Cymraeg award is important to us as we value our team and encourage them in decision-making along with championing the Welsh language and being a living wage accredited employer.”

Tetrim Teas uses the village community centre as their blending house, where head blender and Mari’s nephew Steffan McAllister creates the teas.

The purpose of the competition is to encourage businesses to use the Welsh language. Dozens of entries have been whittled down to 30 finalists in seven different categories.

A spokesperson for ARFOR said:

“Our aim is to create a buzz around the use of Welsh in a business or commercial environment and how it can help businesses thrive and provide careers for our young people so they don't feel they have to move away.

“We have received dozens of nominations from a variety of businesses across the four counties of Ynys Môn, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and those shortlisted for an award are those the judges feel are doing their utmost to use and promote the Welsh language on their premises, their marketing and their social media channels.

“We have 30 finalists and we are conducting a public vote on social media.

“We wish all of them the very best of luck at the forthcoming award ceremony and hope the other nominees continue their good work in using and promoting our language.”

The Bwrlwm ARFOR campaign is part of the ARFOR Two scheme launched in 2022 in succession to the 2019 ARFOR programme to continue to strengthen and promote the economic resilience of the Welsh language in the four counties.

ARFOR Two is intended to provide economic support to communities that are strongholds of the Welsh language, increase opportunities to see and use the Welsh language on a daily basis and help young people under the age of 35 to stay in or return to their communities.

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