E. Oldroyd & Sons

Janet Olroyd-Hulme, husband Neil and sons James and Lindsay Hulme

E.Oldroyd & Sons Ltd. are producers and packers of high quality fruit and vegetables, most well-known for their forced Rhubarb. The family have 5 generations of experience in forced Rhubarb with Director Janet Oldroyd Hulme being affectionately known as the ‘High Priestess of Rhubarb’. Janet, along with her sons James (Sales Manager) and Lindsay (Production & Technical Engineer) are continuing the family legacy of rhubarb production at the heart of the Yorkshire Triangle. The Yorkshire Triangle is located between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, providing the perfect conditions for Rhubarb.

Janet is deeply proud of her family’s roots, “My Great Grandfather moved to Yorkshire from the family farm in Cambridgeshire in 1930 after losing much of their fortune in the Great Depression. He rented a small plot of land in Wakefield and grew fruit and vegetables which he sold locally.”

She continues “He started growing rhubarb after learning the method from a local producer in exchange for his knowledge of strawberry production. In 1933, his son Ernest joined him as the business was growing rapidly and shortly afterwards they were able to buy their own farm.”

From then on, the family firm was passed through multiple generations into Janet’s current hands. Her husband Neil Hulme retired as Director in 2016, passing on the title to his capable sons.

Fascinatingly, Mrs Oldroyd Hulme entered the business after a career as a Medical Scientist in Leeds and credits her scientific background to her interest in the production process and success of the rhubarb crop.

 “My father eventually put me in charge of root propagation, and I pioneered the technique of using a scalpel to dissect the best roots used to produce the next crop.”

As the High Priestess of Rhubarb, we asked Janet for her top tip when cooking rhubarb. She said, “Never fully immerse the rhubarb in water just clean simply wipe with damp kitchen roll. Chop it into small chunks and put into a pan on the hob. Pour on fresh orange juice until just covered. The orange juice sweetens the rhubarb and gives a lovely flavour. Bring to boil and remove from heat. The rhubarb will cook in the hot orange juice. Outdoor rhubarb will take a few minutes more to simmer to tenderise.”

The company is listed as a Rick Stein Food Hero Producer, and has Protected Designation of Origin, the top level in European Protected Food Names Scheme.

We are delighted to have such a historic and successful supplier in our stores!