IT has been ten years since food farming expert Jonathan Curtoys took ownership and management of fledgling North Yorkshire gin producer Sloemotion.

A family-run business based in Barton-le-Willows, just off the A64, north of York, Sloemotion now specialises in producing a range of hedgerow fruit liqueurs, chocolates and chutneys.

The business sells the products to around 400 farm shops and delis nationwide, with local stockists including Malton Relish in Malton, Castle Howard Farm shop, Field and Fawcett wine merchants, Henshelwoods and House of Tembling Madness in York, as well a variety of bars in York including Sutlers, the Duke of York pub and The Whippet Inn.

Mr Curtoys started his career as a farm business advisor in his native Gloucestershire. He went on to become a policy advisor on agricultural issues for the RSPB, Europe's largest environmental group.

In 2002, he moved to live near Malton and helped start Sloemotion alongside a number of farm-based food projects, including working for Jordan's Cereals implementing a new ecologically inspired farming system called Conservation Grade, with their 70 growers. He took on the ownership and management of the fledgling Sloemotion business in 2006.

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

"I love music, so perhaps being out discovering new bands and musicians would be interesting. I have a friend who manages a river catchment which sounds pretty good too - being paid to be out in the countryside would be idyllic."

Greatest achievement?

"Juggling the ongoing triumvirate demands of being a father, husband and managing director. Although, Sloemotion winning the Daily Telegraph's Taste of Britain and being given "National Treasure" status on the Alan Titchmarsh TV show were pretty good too."

What makes you most angry?

"Inequality; financial, sexual or racial."

Biggest mistake?

"In a different life I was invited to the Prime Ministers office to give my thoughts to an advisor on an issue of environmental concern (I was a lobbyist for a conservation charity).

"I happened to be invited on the day of a cabinet reshuffle, and following my meeting emerged through the door of No.10 to a bank of flashing cameras - them all thinking I was a new or sacked Minister emerging from an important discussion.

"Following an audible sigh from about 200 journalists, I didn't have the presence of mind to ask one of the photographers to send a picture to record the event."

What do you need to make life complete?

"I would like a masterpiece on the wall - a Chagall or Mondrian would be fine. A home by the sea would be good too. Oh, and Newcastle United to win the Premier League - on current form this seems like the least likely of these things to happen."

Why do you make a difference?

"I'm not absolutely certain I do, but I have a lot of passion and a lot of stamina. I keep my head down and I'm prepared to keep working on things."


"A good husband and father. His Sloe Gin was ok, too."