Some days, events in the news or experiences of friends near to us, remind us how lucky we are. I am fortunate to have the support of a loving and healthy family around me, great friends, a stable and exciting career, with some great people who help make Farrington’s Mellow Yellow the success it is. Of course, there are days when life is a bit of a struggle and, as Eli will testify, I can get a bit grumpy and stressed on occasion. However, compared to some people in the world, we have a pretty good lot.
I originally looked at starting Farrington Oils as a farm diversification. The aim was to try and create a more sustainable income so Eli and I could continue to live and work at Bottom Farm where our (at the time) young children could grow up. With the support of both of our parents, not to mention years of hard work, Farrington’s Mellow Yellow has become a great success, far exceeding what I originally envisaged. I am very proud of what we have achieved, not only providing Eli and I with a stable income, but also a livelihood for the small, dedicated team that work with us.
Our success is very much thanks to the many loyal customers who buy our products, some of whom have supported us since I first started making Britain’s original farm to bottle cold pressed rapeseed oil back in 2005. If I think about it too much, it is rather humbling and, perhaps because of this, I am keen that we should share some of our success with the community around us. Over the years, we have been proud to support several good causes.
I have always been keen to support young people, to try and inspire them in a small way, so they will have the confidence to ‘have a go’ and possibly stretch themselves to reach for goals they may not have thought they could achieve. This comes to life in some of the LEAF talks I hold at the farm or in schools. I love it when I talk about some of my experiences, the challenges and successes in starting and running your own business. I remember on one school visit, a girl asking if I was famous because there was a picture of my face was on our bottle of oil, and the excitement in the classroom that with a bit of hard work and passion they too might start something successful one day.
We have supported some charities close to our hearts over the years. The Faraway Children’s Charity is named after one of Enid Blyton’s children’s books: ‘The Faraway Tree’ which tells the story of a group of children who discover a magical tree where they are safe and happy. This great local charity came to our attention as Eli and I were shocked by the amount of absolute poverty all around us, in our supposed modern, developed economy. Volunteers help young vulnerable people in Northamptonshire to “survive, thrive and smile”. The charity was set up to support children, to give them simple things such as toiletries and clothing for example, or an Easter egg at Easter; to show them love and hopefully put a smile on their faces.
Another charity we have supported over the years is the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA). This cause is incredibly close to our hearts; Batten Disease is a very rare and cruel neurological disease with very little known about it. There are only around 150 sufferers in the UK, including our close family friend Laura. Laura is a fantastic eighteen year old, crippled by the disease, but cared for with the love and help of her family. The BDFA helps support such families and to try and raise awareness for research into Battens.
We have also supported Children in Need by attending CarFest at Laverstoke Park each year and supplying the oil for their Foodie Workshops, which are always good fun. More generally, we always try to support local charity fundraisers and events when a request comes through for some Mellow Yellow products as a raffle prize, for example. Recently Farrington’s Mellow Yellow supported the Hargrave Music Festival. For four days in September, our sleepy little village played host to a series of classical concerts, opera performances and cabarets performed by world class acts. Not something you would expect in Hargrave, but a great weekend to put our community on the map. I even read on one of the performer’s credits that she had performed in Sydney, New York, London and Hargrave!
Finally, we are very proud to support our local Premiership rugby team, Northampton Saints. The club’s chef, Gavin Austin, has always been a great supporter of Mellow Yellow and when he moved to the Saints, he wanted to take his trusted oil with him. Our healthy range of oil, mayonnaise and salad dressings are now an integral part of these elite athletes’ diets.
Whatever you like to support, I greatly enjoy being in a position to be able to help others. In the past people have helped, inspired and supported me over the years. Besides, as well as giving you that warm fuzzy feeling when you support a cause you believe in, we have also had a bit of fun in doing so. Have a look at our Oilslide Challenge to see what I mean.