Wigan farm's success is cropping up

A family firm in Standish has been oiling the wheels of progress to come up with a popular addition to any culinary experts' cupboards.

Friday, 20th April 2018, 3:43 pm
Updated Friday, 20th April 2018, 3:46 pm
John and Clare Wignall in a rapeseed field, at Wignalls Farm
John and Clare Wignall in a rapeseed field, at Wignalls Farm

For the past seven years the Wignalls have been transforming Standish Hall Farm into the perfect environment for their brand of British cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Today their farm-produced Yallo brand, and several oil infusions, have made their way to The Ritz and Clarence House, picking up a fair few taste awards along the way.

Clare, who helps to manage the operation with dad John and uncle Derek, said: “For farms to survive in today’s world, they need to diversify. We looked at ways that the farm could diversify using a product that they already grow.

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“We had this amazing rapeseed that the farm grows annually so we looked into the possibility of pressing the seed to produce British Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil. Now we grow around 100 acres of rapeseed per year.”

Each with farming firmly in their blood, John and Derek acquired Standish Hall Farm in 2011 and knew it required some work to bring it back to its former glory.

Clare joined the family firm in 2016, as the trio looked to use farming methods which drove down the use of chemicals and reduced their carbon footprint.

“We believe in the minimum tillage soil conservation system,” said Claire. “This means we do only the very minimum needed to the soil for successful crop production.

“It’s a method that doesn’t turn the soil over, like ploughing, so we get more worms which helps to improve the soil naturally.

“It also reduces our carbon footprint, because reduced machine hours working the land means less fuel is used.”

An approach which also sees an increased use of natural fertilizers and widescale recycling of rainwater in the production of their oils, which also have lemon and thyme, habanero chili, garlic and garden herb and Cornish sea salt and rosemary infusions.

The result has been a product which has seen the oil snapped up by chefs at award-winning restaurants and wedding venues across the north-west, to farm shops and garden centres like Bents and Birkacres.

Clare added: “Lancashire isn’t the best climate to grow oil seed rape, as it is colder and wetter than down south.

“This, of course, makes for a shorter growing window, which can be particularly challenging on a wet year like this one.

“But with a lot of hard work, dedication and passion for the job we have produced an award-winning oil that we are very proud of.”