A bit about the family.

I am delighted to be able to play an active and supportive role in the Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil business and thought it might be interesting to expand a little on the ‘family’ context of the business. Ben and I are very proud of our three children. Our youngest daughter is a Visual Merchandising co-ordinator for the Arcadia group working very hard in London. She loves fashion, photography and travel. Our second son is a graphic designer working at the Tate in London and about to make a move to the British Library. He is also a successful musician and songwriter whose band Grasshouse are about to bring out their debut album in the autumn. Adam is our eldest son and with his very talented wife Jennie they have given us our wonderful grandson, Charlie.

My father farmed the land at North Breckenholme all his adult life and farming was both his occupation and his love alongside a very great enthusiasm for Yorkshire Cricket and Leeds United. During his time the farm was a mixed arable farm and in later years he certainly grew rapeseed but it was never conceived that it might be the kind of product we now see. He also had sheep and I always remember April as the month of lambing. My two sisters and I grew up on the farm living until I was eleven in the very house that Adam and Jennie now live. My parents then built a house on the opposite side of the road where my father lived until his very untimely death in 2000 when he was killed in a tragic baling accident.

All his teenage years Adam had worked the harvests on the farm and spent all his Easter holidays lambing. Our three children all loved the farm as little ones and helped Grandpa with the lambing but Adam’s enthusiasm never waned and he went on to Bishop Burton College with no doubts as to what he wanted to do in the future. Adam was still at college when my Father died and was only nineteen at the time. Since the farm was tenanted there were really only two choices, he either took over running the farm at that age with the moral support of Ben and myself and some practical support from his Uncle or he lost the chance to farm. He bravely shelved plans to travel to Australia and set about managing and developing the farm.

These were challenging times and diversification was a necessesity not an option. With the help of his father and some invaluable friends Adam built the shed that now houses the Oil Seed Rape business. Much of the work on the shed has been done by Ben and Adam over the years, building and developing the facilities required for an ever-expanding business. Adam was extremely lucky to have met Jennie at school and as he settled into his new role she became his constant support. When they married in 2008 the new business was well on its way.

In the early days the family supported all aspects of the business in between our real jobs! Ben, who is a Captain working on tankers all over the world, spent all his leaves working on the business and the rest of the family from Grandmas downwards all pitched in their time. We still all try to do our bit but the business now has two full time employees who are a great asset. Adam and Jennie work all hours in this very difficult financial climate to produce a top product and to meet new challenges as they come along.

I absolutely love the oils and use them in much of my cooking. I do literally drizzle, roast, bake and fry with the oil. One of my current favourite uses of the oil is to drizzle basil oil on rocket salad. The combination of flavours is great and makes a great accompaniment to many dishes!

Guest blog by

Esther Palmer

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