My grandfather William Larkin spent his life sowing and harvesting crops. He started when he was barely fourteen years old. With time, he aquired his own steam engine and thresher. That steam engine was later operated by my father Paddy to do the harvesting for many farmers in South Offaly. The steam engine is still going. It is now in Co. Carlow, and is one of the oldest steamers in Ireland.
So it is no surprise I inherited this dedication to growing and harvesting crops. Sixteen years ago I started to grow rapeseed using the oil, pressed by myself, to run my car. The cake (reside after pressing) was used in the central heating burner for my house. Then I progressed to marketing the oil to the equine industry. Three years ago, August 2013, I decided to supply oil for human consumption and at that time built my own production plant. As a result, Glen Field Rapeseed Oil was born in Coolderry Birr, Co. Offaly. Myself, Jennifer and our sons Ronan, Enda and Darragh are all involved in the production.
The Food Academy programme with SuperValu is now a major part of our business. Sales and turnover have increased which is vital to our company. Our very first sale in November 2013 was to SuperValu Birr, and to now be in over 100 stores is something we certainly would not have achieved without the Food Academy. The advice and support we received from the academy is most appreciated.
My proudest moments are seeing my oil on SuperValu shelves all over the country and receiving positive feedback from customers, and this is all thanks to the Food Academy.
All my family are involved in Glen Field Rapeseed Oil. I now have 2 part time staff employed, one responsible for accounts and one for distribution. I envisage in the near future to employ 2 or more staff full time in marketing and distribution.