Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Clay Oliver, Founder of Oliver Farm Artisan Oils, located in Pitts, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Oliver Farm presses and bottles cold-pressed seed and nut oils. We grow our own sunflowers and source local peanuts and pecans, pumpkin seeds, and okra to make oils suitable for dressings, dipping, sautéing, butter substitute, frying, and cosmetic uses. We also make Gluten free flours from the defatted seeds. Our customers vary from professional chefs to home cooks. Those looking for a unique gift and those seeking pure, fresh, natural products.

Tell us about yourself

The oil business came about from an idea several years ago when fuel prices soared, and the American economy faltered. There was a lot of talk about alternative fuel sources. That sparked an interest in an area that I knew very little about. I began researching, visiting oil plants, and talking to individuals in this field. My initial thought was to make my own fuel. The equipment needed to extract oil is expensive, and the savings on fuel would not pay for the equipment for many years. I was fortunate enough to meet a couple of people who influenced me to consider growing, processing, and selling food-grade oil. During this time, I discovered the cold-pressed method of oil extraction, which does not use chemicals or high temperatures to remove the oil. This process leaves valuable vitamins and nutrients in the oil. The oil also retains its natural flavor and color.

In 2012, I grew my first crop of sunflowers for oil production, and by the end of 2012, I had pressed oil from sunflowers, pecans, and peanuts, all grown in Wilcox County. More oils followed, and Oliver Farm Artisan Oils quickly caught the attention of chefs and foodies. As oil production has expanded and I begin to understand a little more about the properties and uses of various oils, I am filled with awe and wonder at the countless ways they can be used. Naturally tasty nut and seed oils are necessary for balanced nutrition. They can be used in fuel, cleaners, soap, and cosmetic products and have medicinal uses as well. Our simple process, genuine care for your approval, and desire to keep it pure and fresh make Oliver Farm a natural choice for any pantry.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The ability to spend each day with my beautiful wife, Valerie, who left her job as a teacher to be here with me every day.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

You must wear multiple hats and be able to put them on one after another and often at the same time.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't be scared to dream.
  2. Don't sit around dreaming.
  3. Ask God for direction in your life.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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