Producer of the Month: Duncan Farrington, Farrington Oils
Duncan Farrington's enthusiasm and commitment for his Mellow Yellow cold pressed rapeseed oil and dressings has not diminished since he started selling bottles in 2005. The range is now award-winning and endorsed by the likes of the Bradshaw family on their blog about a family buying British
Farrington's Mellow Yellow award winning cold pressed rapeseed oil and dressings are produced by the Farrington family at Bottom Farm in Hargrave, Northamptonshire. Duncan is the fourth generation of the Farrington family to farm, and works in partnership with his father, Robert.
The concept of producing rapeseed oils was born out of a need for the farm to diversify. Duncan had first realised the health benefits of rapeseed oil when he was at university studying agriculture. He had originally been investigating biodiesel production but when, on a visit to Germany, he met some farmers who were pressing their own oil for human consumption he began to look into the nutritional benefits and culinary properties of cold pressed rapeseed oil and was pleasantly surprised. It has less than half the saturated fat and ten times more Omega 3 than olive oil, as well as having the optimum balance of Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils and being a natural source of Vitamin E. Being cold-pressed means the oil is gently squeezed out retaining its natural goodness. So after a lot of research it seemed the logical step for the farm to take and the first bottles of Mellow Yellow were launched in 2005.
Farrington Oils is now a successful thriving business, employing family members, including Duncan's mother – Angela – who helps bottle the oil, and other full and part-time people from the local area. In March 2013 they launched a garlic mayonnaise as the latest addition to the Mellow Yellow range.
- What do you enjoy most about producing rapeseed oil?
I still remember the first time I tasted our own cold pressed rapeseed oil when I was researching the whole idea and was relieved that it tasted so good. From that point on, I knew I was onto something. I had done the research, I knew in theory it was a great product, but to actually find it tasted good too, made me really believe in the product and still does today.
- What do you enjoy the least?
This year, after an 18 month winter, it has to be looking at all the bare patches in our fields of rapeseed where it has either been eaten by slugs or pigeons, or simply been drowned by the months of wet weather.
- Why should we buy British produce?
Apart from keeping farmers like me in business. As consumers you can have the faith in buying traceable food, produced to a minimum standard that is the envy of some of our competitor countries. In our case the standards we produce our crops to are far higher than the minimum as we grow to LEAF Marque standards, which ensure we produce quality food in a manner that is environmentally and socially sustainable too.
- What achievement are you most proud of?
After much research, actually having the confidence of starting something I believed in, that has turned out to be a great success and even created a whole new food category of Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil. Obviously it would not have been possible without the help and support of my family.
- What are your predictions for the future of British food and if you were Prime Minister what would you do to encourage more people to buy British?
British food has a great future. There are some fantastic businesses out there of all types and sizes that want to produce the best they can. I believe governments should help behind the scenes in setting the direction we want to take as a country, be seen supporting British in every day consumption, but not supporting in a way that stilts entrepreneurial innovation and progress. I believe if you create a strong product built on quality and service, customers will pay you back with their loyalty – that is certainly what I have found with Farrington's Mellow Yellow.
- If you were an advertising executive what slogan would you use to promote British food?
‘Buy it, Taste it, Love it’ We use the slogan ‘Healthy, Delicious and Truly British’ as our strap line, as is ‘From healthy soil we produce healthy oil’
- What other British food producers do you rate?
There are so many that I greatly respect. As an industry we are all very friendly and happy to share ideas. There is nothing I love more than talking to other producers and looking around their businesses. We always learn from each other. A couple of examples of great companies could be the likes of Aspalls, as one of Britain's oldest family run food company, they still make excellent products as well as being able to keep their image both up to date whilst respecting their long heritage. Another younger company is a fellow Northamptonshire producer - Pickled Village, they make some fantastic quirky pickles and chutneys
- What's on the menu this evening?
I have had a look in the fridge and am going to suggest to my wife Eli that we have grilled red peppers covered in goat's cheese, with baked potatoes and a salad dressed in our Balsamic Vinegar Dressing…
- How can people get hold of your produce?
Look on our website to find a local stockist. We are available nationwide in all good independent stores, as well as a few of the national retailers