Harvest finished in the second week of September, it was a rather drawn out event in the end, but on the whole went well. The new combine was the highlight of the year, a great machine that will hopefully be serving us well for the next decade. However, being a farmer, there is always something to worry about and this year it is the prices. The collapse in milk prices over the last year has been well published; but now it is hitting home with me of the 30% reduction in grain prices also, with no immediate prospect of a recovery on the horizon.

To take my mind off impending gloom on the current viability of British agriculture, I was delighted that our work in Farrington Oils has come to the attention of some influential people, like His Royal Highness.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a mysterious phone call to say we had been selected for a royal visit, to the home of Farrington’s Mellow Yellow “if you are interested?” Of course, we were interested, but the catch was it all had to be arranged within a few days. The timing was perfect for us as we have been investing in the business, hence we had something to talk about and see.

We hastily invited local councillors, colleagues, and customers to the event, with everyone being asked to keep it quiet. The drivers and armed police came out to check everything were up to scratch, with no security issues. Floors were scrubbed, equipment polished, whilst my mother and Eli made some Mellow Yellow inspired cakes and made sure we had enough cups and saucers to hand.

It also allowed us to exert some pressure on the local engineers to finish off the work in time for the occasion, it being finally finished the evening beforehand. We have installed more oil presses, increasing our capacity by two-thirds, along with two impressive oil storage tanks, increasing capacity by 400%. On the morning we busily gave the new equipment a final check-over before starting it working, nervously checking for leaks and issues, before getting changed into suit and tie.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester came to visit, spending time touring our factory and meeting the team. He bottled his own oil, before enjoying refreshments, chatting to our guests. It was a great event, I was very proud to show off our team at Farrington Oils. I was delighted to talk about our investment in equipment, a new staff position to look after national sales and our two latest export customers in the Middle East and Asia.

Following the visit, everyone was really pleased with a job well done, although exhausted. It is fantastic for company moral to be able to do something different and exciting occasionally; to invite customers and other guests to show them first hand what we do and, to be proud of our village and our county.