One of the UK’s foremost rhubarb growers will up its production levels by 25 per cent following new capital investment.

The finance from Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank will make the 5th generation farm E Oldroyd and Sons one of the largest rhubarb growers in the UK, with 900 acres of production.

Owner Janet Oldroyd said the purchase of 122 acre Castle Head Farm, near Wakefield, Yorkshire, will increase production by 25 per cent over five years.

Oldroyd is one of the largest growers of “forced” rhubarb in Britain, producing the crop in lightless sheds during the winter months, which gives it the famous electric pink colouring.

“We now havemuch–needed additional rhubarbforcing sheds to increase our capacity. Our plans, and the Covid-19 pandemic, have put us into uncharted waters, but we were determined not to let a virus stand in the way of growth and innovation,” Oldroyd said.

E Oldroyd and Sonscurrently produces 1000 tonnes a year of rhubarb, of which 200 tonnes are forced, and are located in the famous 'Yorkshire Triangle' of British rhubarb production.

Agribusiness relationship manager at Yorkshire & Clydesdale Bank, Darren Smith, said: “Janet is a very dynamic business owner and clearly knew what she wanted to accomplish for her thriving business. She had the vision but did not have the means to finance it so the Bank was the enabler. My role was to help her every step of the way so that she could successfully expand and invest further.”

The bank was keen to re-assure the agricultural sector that transactions like these are encouragingly still taking place and has seen an increase in requests by the agricultural industry for all levels of financial advice.

These include asset finance, adjustments to banking terms as a cushion during these worrying events, as well as advising on financial packages that have been put in place by the Government to help businesses to survive the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“My advice to any rural business considering new opportunities at this time, is to get in touch as the landscape is not a bleak as it seems. We are very much on hand to help you with any financial needs at this time,” Smith said.

“Agricultural Relationship Managers at Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank play a key role in working closely with customers, to provide finance and banking services for their day-to-day requirements, investment for longer term improvements and even for help amidst a crisis situation as we are now experiencing with Covid-19.”

To read more about Janet Oldroyd's impressive rhubarb operation read the latest FPJ issue on our app.