The Early Years
Adam had grown up working on his grandfather's farm, farming was in his blood. He helped at all available opportunities and at the age of 16 moved to North Breckenholme to work on the farm whist attending agricultural college. Following the death of his grandfather Brian in 2002, Adam took over the tenancy at North Breckenholme Farm.
Fast forward a few years and good friends sat around a pub table and discussed the need for farm diversification. For small farms like us diversification is a must, the question was – what to do! This conversation slowly developed into a plan to explore the possibilities of cold pressing oilseed rape to use as a fuel alternative on the farm. After much investigation the route forward was decided on. Cold pressed rapeseed oil would be our future! Plans started to build a new facility on the farm to house the project.
2008 was a busy year! Construction started on our oil shed, the press was purchased and slowly plans came together. During this time, we discovered what a fantastic oil we had and plans for it becoming a fuel source faded as the quality and versatility of the product was discovered. Adam met with Paul, Jennie's Dad, to discuss taking a product to market as a quality culinary oil, and from these conversations our first label was designed and Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil was born!
Adam and Jennie attended their first ever farmers market in the December of that year selling their newly bottled cold pressed rapeseed oil. The product went down a storm and they signed up for the monthly market immediately!
2009 saw new products launch and sharing with a whole new audience! Initially we only sold our 500ml natural oil, but decided to make up a variety of flavours for people to sample what they could create, and we soon found out that they wanted to buy them ready mixed!
We developed our first flavoured oils with some help from the fabulous James Mackenzie of the Pipe and Glass. These went down a storm at the increasing number of farmers' markets that we attended - including the first ever Farmers' Market in Knaresborough, and we also decided to let our customers have the opportunity to refill their bottle of natural oil and be rewarded with a loyalty card. Five stamps and a free refill - a great offer that we still offer at farmers' markets today.
As the market and awareness of rapeseed oils benefits grew, so did the need for a fuller range of products. In the spring of 2010 Jennie and Adam worked on developing several new products which launched that summer. When Adam wasn't standing in a field!
After being approached by a number of delis for a smaller bottle of oil, ideally suited for hampers and gifts, as well as for people to buy themselves to use at home, the 250ml ‘deli’ range was created. Alongside that, four dressings were launched at the first ever York Food Festival, with each dressing having a real Yorkshire theme. Each using Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, Yorkshire honey, and other great ingredients sourced from Yorkshire producers. Something that continues to this day.
With an ever-growing passion to create delicious Yorkshire products, and following a meeting the previous year with Simon, The Chilli Jam Man, we began to work on two new dressings to add to our range. Our Smoked Chilli Dressing was our first ever collaboration, and along with our Fennel Seed Dressing was launched that summer.
Later that year we trial launched, to great success, two of our Yorkshire Mayonnaises. Now having a growing range of products, the festive gifting season arrived and we shared gifts aplenty with the good people of Yorkshire!
This year saw us pick up our very first Great Taste Award for our Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil - considered the 'Oscars' of the food and drink industry - we were delighted! We also attended our very first BBC Good Food Show, proudly sharing our new 500ml bottle labels.
A year filled with markets and events, the year ended with our 'Taste of Yorkshire' event hosted at our neighbours, the Robert E Fuller gallery in Thixendale. A small but perfectly formed event showcasing the brilliant local producers based in and around the area. It was a great success, leading to a bigger event at the gallery the following summer.
2013 was the year we were lucky enough to feature on the front of the Yorkshire Post to share our story, and when our products were widely used by the chefs of Yorkshire and beyond, which continues to this day. And Father Christmas it seems is a fan too!
New products were still arriving, with the addition of our still popular Lemon Mayonnaise. Oh, and we changed our mayo jars to a new sleeker and stylish one - it was certainly needed!
In 2014 we discovered how wonderful smoking oil could be! After much product development with fellow local producer Staal Smokehouse we came up with our delicious Oak Smoked Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil. This went on to win many awards, and is still one of our best selling products.
The biggest launch of the year was our very own recipe book. Launching at Beverley Festival of Food & Drink, the book was the work of Angie and Paul, Jennie's parents, and it is packed with over 100 recipes using our products. It includes a guest recipe and foreword by James Mackenzie of the Michelin starred Pipe and Glass. This was the year that we hit the south, with Adam's sister Zoe taking our products to several of her local London markets to share the YRO love.
Back in 2015 we continued to share the YRO love at events across Yorkshire, but our headline of the year had to be Adam meeting HRH King Charles whilst exhibiting at the Great Yorkshire Show! Quite a day to remember.
In other news, we further developed our mayonnaise range, and that May launched our Yorkshire Mustard Mayonnaise and our Oak Smoked Mayonnaise, using our award winning smoked oil. Still popular choices in the range today.
This year it was all about Adam! On the farm Adam welcomed celebrity chef James Martin and his team to the farm as part of his 'Home Comforts' programme for BBC. Adam got to stand in a field (again!), as one of the local food and drink producers that James decided to feature from around this home town! Exciting times!
Adam and Sue Nelson, one of our very favourite Yorkshire foodie people, got to visit BBC Radio York and chat all things rapeseed oil to share the YRO love a little more, and Adam found the perfect spot at Countryfile Live down at Blenheim. He really appreciated the big welcome at their first ever show!
But it wasn't all about Adam - our products were the stars too. 2016 was the year when we launched our Limited Editions concept. This was with the view that we could introduce seasonal products and share something a little different with you. This year we featured both our Lemon & Poppy Seed Dresing, and our Yorkshire Hollandaise - which we later introduced into our mayo. It's a popular little jar!
After a few years of fundraising for different charities, this was the year we decided to focus our efforts on just one local Charity, Our BOYS Fund set up by a local mum to support research into rare renal tumours of childhood. We got involved in various events, including a relay of the York Marathon that year.
Jennie got involved helping Kirsty with our first ever professional photoshoot, and some of those images you will still see today on our website. Today we do everything in house, as we're lucky to take full advantage of Jennie's creative and design skills.
Another year with awards aplenty - with two British Farming Awards for the business and the team, and also winning the Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards for our Oak Smoked Yorkshire Mayonnaise. The recipe hasn't changed - it's still award winning.
This was the year we celebrated 10 years of YRO and it certainly kept us busy! This was the first year we launched a Limited Edition product, with our Lime Oil supporting our charity of the year, Our BOYS Fund, with 35p of the proceeds from each bottle sold going their way. Today we continue to develop limited edition products to fundraise for our charities.
This was the year to share our story too. Jennie was a speaker at the Women in Farming group which is a group run by Yorkshire Agricultural Society , where she shared her perspective of living and working in our rural farming community.
We were also featured in a two page spread in the Yorkshire Living magazine where Adam & Jennie shared their 10 year story, and this was followed by Adam getting interviewed by York Radio, and the team listened live whilst he shared our team success to producing our award winning products.
The headline had to be our ten giveaways across the year to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and we loved you getting involved. Our final giveaway was linked to our new Yorkshire Stories feature (still going strong!) with Masons of Yorkshire, who used our very own farm-foraged wild gooseberries, to make a truly unique one off bottle of gin. We asked you to name it, and following hundreds of entries from yourselves, it was named 'Wild Decade' by the lucky winner who got their hands on a money can't buy bottle of gin! Couldn't have named it better ourselves!
What a year! Amongst many things, 2019 saw us support our 2019 Charity - Nice 2 B Nice (part of Life For a Kid), and launch our new Limited Edition Yorkshire Blue Cheese Dressing. Made with Shepherds Purse Cheeses 'Yorkshire Blue' it was not only delicious but also helped us raise money for this fabulous charity. 35p from every bottle went into the fundraising pot.
We also held a Charity Beer Festival on the farm in July to boost the charity funds, and with the help of a generous list of sponsors (and a great number of beer lovers!) the total raised for the charity was over £2700 which will have helped put a lot of smiles on the children in need in Hull & East Yorkshire.
So much going on, but we still managed to share the YRO love across our farmers' markets and events, and welcomed many a group to a tour at YRO HQ. Spending an hour or so here, they had an opportunity to see what we do, where we do it and we even got the tasting bar out to showcase just how wonderful our produce really is.
A challenging year for all, and a year of change. As a brand we had to adapt quickly and think on our feet. Throughout lockdown we saw amazing support and very humbling support from all our customers, whilst also attracting new online customers from further afield. We'd like to thank you for that.Lockdown gave us the opportunity to look at what we offered from a new perspective, and we introduced our 'bundles' - topical and seasonal collections of products with recipe booklets, which were perfect for the increased interest in home cooking. Our first offering being our Lockdown Bundle, with many to follow. Both Jennie and Adam along with the team members on site got a taste of fame as they went live - whether that was Jennie creating, filming and sharing her favourite bake recipe for the Virtual Dales Festival of Food & Drink, or Adam and Matthew going live as part of our 'Yorkshire Lives' series, sharing what we do and other local producers on a run of Saturday mornings when we couldn't meet you face to face at our farmers' markets and events. This was a year of newness. The year when we built a new extension to our production unit, which helped us keep up with the demand for our products, new gifting packaging arrived, and new products landed with you. Our Limited Edition Lemon & Lavender Dressing raised funds for our Charity of the Year, Downright Special, and our ever popular Tartare Sauce. Oh, and we got two new Great Taste Stars for our natural oil, a great commendation when it goes into each and every product we lovingly produce.
Continuing to be a challenging year for many, it was only in the summer that we returned to meet you at events. The Great Yorkshire Show was one of the first shows that we attended, with Adam & Matthew welcoming many of you back to show season. The first time in its history that this show had run for four days.
In March of that year we took to celebrating Yorkshire produce with our EAT Yorkshire campaign. Designed to help you discover new Yorkshire food and drink producers and provide the opportunity to shop and save with each of them. It was meant to be a one off campaign during lockdown, but such was the success that we've brought it back bigger and better each year. Keep an eye on it returning next March.
It certainly was a year for firsts as we launched our Yorkshire Stories, we love to share the stories of other Yorkshire people we admire. Back in May 2021 we shared our first story ever with the founders of Masons of Yorkshire - Cathy & Karl Mason. It went down so well that we have continued to share those Stories until today. Our own story was shared in many a publication that year. Adam (and the team!) couldn't have been happier!
Charity was certainly on our minds this year. We extended our support for our Charity of the Year, Downright Special, for a further year, and our team took on a fundraising challenge in Down Syndrome Awareness Week in March. Across the week some of our team members took on a 500 Mile Challenge, where we walked, cycled or ran 500 miles collectively as a team. Not only did we smash our 500 mile target in steps, but we also raised over £4,000 for this amazing charity whilst doing so! A big thank you to all who supported us.
A year when home cooking was certainly top of our agendas, we developed a huge raft of new recipes. Collaborating with our good friends at The Wold Top Brewery, and WensleydaleCreamery we celebrated both British Food Fortnight and National Vegetarian Week with 11 new recipes in total! Creating, cooking and shooting all our recipes in house - it kept Jennie and Marcelle in the Marketing team busy, and the team well fed!
We started the year off with a bang when we launched our brand-new refreshed look to our logo and our bottles and jars. With our newly launched Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil with Rosemary & Sea Salt becoming a hit in your shopping baskets. With all these new changes we shared a raft of new and re-worked recipes.
We also looked to you to find our local Charity of the Year, and the final round of voting saw nearly 1.9k votes! You chose RSF to be our charity, and we quickly got to work on launching a new Limited Edition product, with 35p of the proceeds going directly help the charity. Our Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil with Lemon, Garlic, Oregano & Thyme was full of summer flavours and a winner with you, and sold out during this summer.
In July our team set out to complete a challenging circular 44-mile trail, The Wold Rangers Way, to raise further funds for the Charity. We started and ended the walk at Thixendale on a seriously hot day, and our amazing team raised £2.5k in total!
And it’s that same amazing team that keep both our taste and business awards coming our way. 2022 saw us recognised as Artisan Food Producer finalists in the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards and Best Pantry Award Finalists with our Oak Smoked Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil in the deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards too. It was the same Oak Smoked Oil that saw us gain more Great Taste Stars in the same year. It’s a best-selling oil for a reason!
In July we made royal connections when Adam met with royalty at the Great Yorkshire Show, when he was introduced to Anne, Princess Royal. They had a brief chat about all things rapeseed oil and our 10 years at the show. Not the first time Adam has met with royalty at the show!
Halloween saw us get a visit from Ryedale Special Families! We were delighted to welcome a group of young people and their carers to our Farm Discovery Day to get involved with some spooky and seasonal nature themed activities, along with exploring and walking on the farm. A great day that we won’t forget and we hope to invite them back again soon.In July we made royal connections when Adam met with royalty at the Great Yorkshire Show, when he was introduced to Anne, Princess Royal. They had a brief chat about all things rapeseed oil and our 10 years at the show. Not the first time Adam has met with royalty at the show!
Halloween saw us get a visit from Ryedale Special Families! We were delighted to welcome a group of young people and their carers to our Farm Discovery Day to get involved with some spooky and seasonal nature themed activities, along with exploring and walking on the farm. A great day that we won’t forget and we hope to invite them back again soon.
EXCITING TIMES TO COME Looking back and writing this timeline has been a delightful opportunity to reflect on the past 15 years since we sold our first ever bottle of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, but one thing remains the same. Everything is still 100% made by us here on our farm on the Yorkshire Wolds and everything is made with the base ingredient of our Great Taste Award-winning Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil.
With our business being a family affair, and a passionate team behind us, grown from family and friends, this allows us to continue to keep our brand close to our hearts. The future for us is to continue to cold press our oil, and to look to building a more sustainable future with our full team behind us.
All of us here at YRO HQ would like to take the opportunity to thank all our customers, stockists, friends, and of course, family. Without all of you none of this would have been possible.