Grants' Farm Foods is one of this year's #SmallBiz100 and we are delighted to feature them as part of our Businesses Built on Passion series. Ellie Grant is the founder and director and she shares her story and tells us all about The Magnificent Seed.
Grants' Farm Foods - Ellie Grant
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Grants’ Farm Foods is home to The Magnificent Seed, a terrifically tasty extra virgin rapeseed oil grown and cold pressed on our family farm in Shrewton.
Every step of our process is about protecting the naturally great taste and nutrition of the rapeseed all the way from the fields to our customers' plates (with slow and gentle processing without the use of additives or accelerants and light protective packaging).
We also work hard to protect the land it comes from - with no-till farming methods aimed at minimising pesticide use and preserving soil structure, and a very low waste process (the part of the seed we don’t use is a valuable supplementary feed for the farm’s dairy cows). Each bottle is field traceable – you can find a picture of the field your oil came from on our website.
We are careful with our packaging too - selling oil in refill pouches as well as bottles, and supplying refill drums to local shops.
Grants’ Farm Foods Ltd started trading in November 2019, with set up support from an EU LEADER grant.
What inspired you to set up your business?
Our family farm in Wiltshire has been growing rapeseed for the last few years – and so we bought a small hand operated press to show our children what happens to the seed we grow. We absolutely loved the oil, and started looking at how to press commercially while keeping that ‘fresh from the field’ taste.
My previous work had been in building customer experience – and I was excited by the chance to have a new adventure and try and make something good. I love the fact that the rapeseed on our farm is grown with natural pest protection where possible, I love walking the crop and seeing it grow – and the bees enjoying it, and I love that our oil has half the saturated fat of olive oil and 10x the Omega 3 as well as being delicious! So it is a win all round.
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
The EU had a Grant scheme called LEADER to support agricultural diversification and rural business – but it was sadly about to come to an end because of Brexit. I squeezed in near the end of the application deadline and was very lucky to be awarded a grant to help me buy the equipment and build our brand.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
We started trading last November and had a fabulous run up to Christmas – but were still looking to build relationships with more stockists and eateries when COVID struck. This made growth over spring and summer more challenging. But we are lucky to have had had some wonderful feedback from customers and lovely accolades which has kept us going, and it is getting easier to get out there again now thank goodness!
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of?
Definitely the lovely feedback we’ve had from customers, it is what makes the whole thing feel worthwhile. I also very chuffed that Shrewton Farm has managed to grow a great rapeseed crop this year without using chemical pesticides, and proud that we’ve got a Taste of The West Silver, been shortlisted for The Great British Food Awards, and selected as one of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100, all in our first year of pressing!
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
Customer feedback every time. I also love being in the fields and at the press house – and the new friends I’ve made particularly with other small foodie business owners Iocally. I also wouldn’t want to cook with any other oil now -so I’d better keep pressing it!
Thank you so much to Ellie for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about Grants' Farm Food and The Magnificent Seed you can visit:
Instagram - @themagnificentseed
Facebook - @themagnificentseed
Twitter - @themagseed