Producer of the Month: Ownsworth, Rapeseed Oil and English Vineyard
The Ownsworth family have been farming for several generations and our aim has always been to create top quality produce. On our mixed arable and stock farm in Fulbeck, Lincolnshire, we grow wheat (our milling wheat is on contract to Warburtons Bakery and we won Northern Regional Grower Award in 2009), barley for malting and oilseed rape (from which our delicious award winning rapeseed oil is produced – we were Highly Commended in both “Producer of the Year” and “Grower of the Year” in Select Lincolnshire’s Food, Drink & Hospitality Awards 2015). Our herd of pedigree Charolais cattle graze in the ancient parkland surrounding our vineyard and self-catering holiday cottage on the farm.
We are a husband and wife team (Andrew and “Ronnie”) with son Tom now a partner in the business helping run the arable and livestock operations with fellow staff member, Ben Hunter, who along with his dad, Dave (and recently retired farm labourer Terry Godson) attend the grapevines throughout the season. Younger son Jim is involved in the sales and marketing team and daughter, Rosie helps with publicity photography.
Why do you do what you do?
A long held love of farming and working with the family is very rewarding. Working the land and livestock, in tune with nature and the seasons with modern techniques and machinery, but reflecting and learning from years of traditions and past generations, giving a moral stamp to food production.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
On the arable side of the farm, the men enjoy seeing a healthy, even crop, growing well, ripening evenly and successfully harvested at optimum quality. On the livestock side of the farm - every successful birth is magical! Pressing and bottling our rapeseed oil is very satisfying and seeing it fly off the shelves of our many stockists makes us feel very proud of what we do.
What do you least enjoy about your job?
Being a family business, we all work in all aspects of the business and the variety is very stimulating, but perhaps the least enjoyable part of our jobs is the time consuming mountain of paperwork involved!
What achievement are you most proud of?
Being a family mixed arable and stock farm producing quality produce, winning all our awards, producing our first wines and seeing all our customers satisfied and coming back to us and lately, Ronnie producing her cookery book “Ronnie’s Rapeseed Oil Recipes” which is available direct from us and from selected stockists.
Why should we buy British produce?
British farmers are some of the most regulated farmers in the world and produce some of the best food in the world. When buying local and British produce, the consumer is putting money directly back into the pockets of the farmers or the food retailers who support British farmers. There is a tight traceability chain which is so important, especially following the recent food scares from some imported foods.
How do you think we should be promoting British?
We should introduce food technology back onto the curriculum as standard, right back to primary school and continuing through secondary education. That
way every student knows exactly how food is grown or reared, knows and understands the cuts of meat and the variety of fruit and vegetables and they
should also learn how to cook these foods and in which season you get these foods in – that way they would be learning to cook cost effective healthy
meals for themselves and their families. We shouldn’t be shy at shouting out how good we are in Britain at producing excellent food! I’m not!
If you were an advertising executive, what slogan would you use to promote British food?
Our future is in your hands! Your future is in the choices you make!
What’s on the menu this evening?
Local family butcher pork loin steaks with a tomato, bean and onion ragu – cooked in a little of our rapeseed oil of course! We find the quality and taste of our local meat and vegetables surpasses any other and in 2011 Lincolnshire won “Best Food County” – we are very lucky to have all this amazing food right on our doorstep.
How can people get hold of your produce?
Online sales from our website www.ownsworths.co.uk which also lists all our current stockists and food events we may be attending. Customers are also very welcome to contact us by telephone on 01400 273989 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org We also post information and recipes on Facebook and on our twitter page @Ownsworths