The founder of Yorkshire family business Herbs Unlimited has passed the baton on to her son as the business looks to drive growth and meet the opportunities of Brexit.
Philip Dodd, who was formerly operations director, takes over as managing director of the speciality grower from his mother Alison Dodd, who founded the company in 1992.
Alison will continue in a part-time business development role.
Herbs Unlimited, which grows herbs, salads and edible flowers on its farm at Sandhutton, near Thirsk, celebrated its 25th-anniversary last year.
The company supplies the catering, hospitality, food manufacturing and wholesale sectors nationally.
Philip said: “This is an exciting moment and a new chapter for the business. Mum has left some big footsteps to fill but I am delighted to have this opportunity to make my own mark on the company after working alongside her for so long.
“Horticulture is a fast-moving and competitive sector and, with the management appointments we have made over the last year, we are ideally positioned to build on our successes and rise to the challenges presented by Brexit.”
After graduating in land and farm management from Harper Adams, Philip worked with East Kent-based fresh producer grower Intercrop for three years before joining Herbs Unlimited in 2007 in a production management role.
Promoted to the board in 2011, he has been responsible for both the day-to-day activities in the packhouse and on the farm since 2012, while Alison focused on marketing and sales.
Together they developed Herbs Unlimited into a £4m turnover business and the farm has expanded from 30 to 120 acres, employing 49 permanent staff.
As part of the firm’s development strategy,
Phillip added: “Our key point of difference remains our speciality herbs and edible flowers.
“The ever-growing demand for
“Investment in further infrastructure will help us to counter higher exchange rates and resulting higher import costs.
“Continuous innovation remains key to our success and we are currently trialling LED lighting and hydroponics to extend our growing season, along with the expansion of our polytunnels.
“The majority of our produce is hand-picked and packed and following on from the success of our current apprenticeship scheme we hope to extend it further, there are great opportunities in both sides of the business.”
In 2016 Herbs Unlimited invested £200,000 in new machinery to increase the output of its pack house. This has enabled it to optimise opportunities for growth in wholesale markets and through the increasing nationwide popularity of food boxes.
It also invested in
Herbs Unlimited is based at Sandhutton and was established by former chef Alison Dodd in 1992.
The company employs 49 permanent staff complemented by seasonal harvesting workers in the busy summer months.
It operates its own fleet of chilled delivery vans to distribute its products throughout the country.
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