Our farming family and traditions
Wharfe Valley Farms takes its name from the beautiful Wharfe Valley in Yorkshire. The Kilby family, (left), are third generation farmers who have been in Collingham since the 1960’s, adding Oil Seed Rape to the traditional crop rotation in the early 1980’s. Originally producing asparagus and strawberries on the farm, like many others, they found that they needed a more sustainable offering and diversified into producing traditionally cold-pressed rapeseed oil.
Wishing to expand and diversify into other food related products we researched the possibility of converting a home grown crop into a finished product. We consulted with DEFRA (The Department of Environment Farming and Rural Affairs) and with the help of grants from them and Yorkshire Forward we were able to embark on our venture into the production of culinary Rapeseed Oil. As a result we are now pressing our own Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, from 100% of our crop, in our specially designed and built press room on the farm.
Since then the Kilby family have created a range of 30 rapeseed oil products and their son, Steven went on to introduce a new business, Wharfe Valley Stoves, and then Wharfe Valley Hearths, on site on Jewitt Lane, Collingham, West Yorkshire: Wharfe Valley Hearths and Wharfe Valley Stoves.
Wharfe Valley Farms extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil
The local free draining fertile limestone soil on our farm produces a prolific rape crop, from which we produce Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil, Extra Virgin because we only press once and do not use heat or chemicals to extract the oil. Not only that but we do not use chemicals in our harvesting methods either, thus taking great care to preserve all the natural, nutritional values of this product.
The rape plant flowers in May and June and its yellow flowers briefly convert the landscape into a brilliant carpet of colour. The plant can grow up to 6’ in height and when harvested in July it yields tiny, jet back seeds. We swath our crop rather than dessicate to ensure that we are not using a chemical so close to harvest. This is the traditional way of harvesting rather than the more up to date method of spraying the crop with Glyphosate, such as Roundup to kill the crop before it is collected with the combine. We store these seeds directly behind the press house, from where they are fed straight into the hoppers and very slowly cold pressed to produce oil. This is then filtered and allowed to stand before we bottle it by hand on the premises.