Rowan
Rowan2
Gathering Rowan Berries in Wensleydale

Our Heritage

Our story starts in Swaledale, a few miles west of Richmond in one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful Dales. It is famous for dry stone walls, old field barns and wild flower meadows in the upper Dale and for its river which tumbles over rocks between green meadows and fell side fields along the narrow limestone valley.

The Past

Elspeth Biltoft’s formative years were spent in these idyllic rural surroundings with parents who were completely passionate about the countryside. So in autumn 1989, these were renovated to accommodate the fledgling business and the first successful route to market created through agricultural shows and craft fairs.

Her father was an amateur naturalist, angler and keen walker and encouraged her to accompany him at every opportunity. So, season by season, she was introduced to the secrets of her environment and the wealth of things it had to offer.

On their shared walks they would gather watercress from a secluded stream in late January, gull’s eggs in the early summer months, wild crabapples, sloes and blackberries and pounds of aromatic mushrooms in autumn.

Elspeth’s mother taught her to appreciate the value of all these wild and home grown ingredients. By preparing preserves together they were able to enjoy seasonal treats throughout the year. Favourites were Blackberry and Apple Jam, Wild Crabapple Jelly, Sloe Gin and Traditional Piccalilli.
By the early 1980’s, Elspeth was honing her skills by making preserves for her own family, faithfully following the eight traditional recipes handed down by her mother.

She still gathered from the wild, as well as her own kitchen garden, and had begun to develop her skills as a cook, experimenting with recipes, appreciating the flavours of named varieties of fruit and vegetables, while learning a little about the science of preserve making along the way.

Her love of countryside, appreciation of the seasons, respect for tradition and desire to perfect her preserve making skills had unwittingly formed the basis of her future business.

The Present

In 1988 when Elspeth was looking for a home based business to support her family, preserve making was high on her list of possibilities. She had a workable foundation which had been honed to some degree, and the preserves she had first made with the help of her mother, such as wild rowanberry and herb jellies, marmalade and cucumber pickle, formed the basis of her catalogue of products.

When her family moved to Rosebud Farm near Masham in North Yorkshire they acquired two traditional nineteenth century barns that were perfect for conversion to food production.
So in autumn 1989, these were renovated to accommodate the fledgling business and the first successful route to market created through agricultural shows and craft fairs.

Independent customers followed, including delicatessens, stately homes, cheesemongers, hotels and farm shops throughout the UK. Then export to Ireland, Germany, France, Japan and the USA, where our naturally set fruit and herb jellies in particular have achieved considerable success in the top gourmet and natural food stores.

Although our present catalogue has increased to almost sixty products and our locally recruited staff to match, the principals on which the business was founded remain exactly the same today. These are to produce the best possible products by continually developing and improving our skills.

We hope that our thoughtful approach to sourcing flavoursome produce, generous quantities of fresh ingredients and passion for consistent quality in all we do, creates preserves that you genuinely enjoy.

Learn more about Rosebud