We’d like to introduce you to Sarah, eldest daughter of Yeo Valley founders Roger and Mary Mead and the author of our Great British Farmhouse Cookbook. We chatted to her about how Yeo Valley has evolved over the years…
“I remember vividly how we used to work in the dairy during our summer holidays when we first started making yogurt. We used to do anything from making boxes and cleaning out stinky milk churns to filling the yogurt pots by hand. We’ve all pulled our sleeves up and done everything as the company has developed, but the farm has always been my favourite side of things. I used to get up early to go riding with my dad and help feed the calves. I feel very privileged to have grown up on a farm – it has been an incredible journey.
My dad put so much time into Yeo Valley and all his hard work eventually paid off. Yogurt had become more popular and we became better at making it – the whole thing just evolved and grew. We have always had a great product and now we have no problems being honest about it, the quality is there and always has been. We have also got better at telling our story: nothing is made up, we are a real place in the heart of a Somerset valley and now we have a fantastic following.
We also have a great team of loyal people, some of whom I’ve known for a very long time and some who have been here long enough to have worked with my dad. It’s fantastic to have such a passionate team who work so hard, even under pressure. We all have our own opinions and want what’s best for the future.
As more people join Yeo Valley, I think it’s important to remain true to the beliefs that were always at the heart of the company. The vision originally came from my father and his passion for farming, as well as his love of hard-working people and honesty. Yeo Valley is still very much a privately owned family business with a strong belief that the only sustainable way of farming is to farm organically. It’s also about being totally responsible for our land and supporting as many British farmers and producers as possible.
A great opportunity for supporting, educating and encouraging people to show their support are events like British Food Fortnight. It’s this sort of occasion that I’m really passionate about, and it was our love of British food that inspired us to up the ante with the food in our HQ canteen and in the garden cafe in our Organic Garden.
It was also this love of British food that encouraged us to produce our Great British Farmhouse Cookbook. With a great team of people, we created something that was different to a lot of other branded cookbooks. I felt the book didn’t need lots of Yeo Valley dairy products on show throughout, but should give a wider flavour of our farm and business – with delicious recipes and beautiful pictures of the valley.”
For an introduction to our Great British Farmhouse Cookbook, and a list of places where you can buy it, click here.