Stretching back six generations, the Hamilton family farm, located near the picturesque shores of Strangford Lough in Co Down, today has produce on supermarket shelves across Ireland and the UK.
For husband and wife team Martin and Tracy Hamilton founding Mash Direct, which makes more than 40 different vegetable products, was done out of necessity.
In 2004, on the back of a declining vegetable market, mixed with the poor prices for their crops, the company was born over "a couple of glasses of whiskey".
"Martin and I had been growing vegetables for the wholesale market and the return on what we were producing was getting less and less and we thought, 'what are we going to do to survive this?'," says Tracy, co-founder and director of Mash Direct.
The company looked at a number of alternatives, including turning the farm into a golf course, however that didn't work out. It then looked at developing a rural village.
"At the end of the day we thought, you need to do what you enjoy and do what you're good at, and we are good at growing vegetables," she says.
"Martin is passionate about farming and while at a friend's party he'd had a couple of glasses of whiskey, and said, 'you know what we're going to do, we're going to make champ,' and that's where the idea came from."
Products made by the business - which in 2019 reported close to £2m (€2.2m) in earnings - include mashed potato, carrots and parsnips, and more recently beer-battered chips, made using gluten free beer. As well as the food being gluten free, the company does not add any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
While Mash Direct has a number of independent directors on the board, it remains very much a family affair with their two sons - Lance and Jack - both working for the business.
"It works well. Obviously you've got the family dynamic and we've all got our different goals and skill sets. We also have a board that meets every month," Hamilton says.
"We set up a board within the first year of business, and I think that's really important for any family business because the board can ask us questions we wouldn't have to ask ourselves."
Having an idea to set up a food business can be relatively easy. The more difficult part comes in executing it.
With Mash Direct produce today sold in retail, food service and food manufacturing channels, the Hamiltons have proved very successful at bringing their idea to reality.
However, starting out, it was literally a case of a man and woman with a van and some vegetables.
"We started [selling the produce] with our local corner shops, we went around with our van and explained what we were doing and who we were, and they had the confidence to try us," the gardening enthusiast says.
"Then we had the confidence to go to the bigger stores, the major multiples in Ireland.
"But when we started off we walked before we ran, we wanted to get the confidence that we could supply to the big stores 52 weeks of the year."
The family business made sure it was "very careful with our steps" as it started out.
"We went slowly, we reinvested everything straight back into our systems and our processes, just to make sure we had the efficiencies," Hamilton says.
In addition, "making sure the quality of the food was [and remains] paramount".
"It was a massive learning curve, we did a lot of tasting shows, that was really important that we got direct feedback from our consumer," she says.
Along the way Hamilton herself enrolled in night classes, all to help the business.
"I had read business studies at university. But again, you know, there had been a big gap between university days and now. I did the courses to upskill because there's an awful lot to take on."
Where the family lacked skills, they invested in the team around them.
"We had to recognise that we couldn't do absolutely everything, and anything we felt we needed for extra support we invested in the right people at the time," Hamilton says.
Now a firm staple on supermarket shelves here, the on-set of the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it mixed fortunes for the company.
On one hand it helped "literally feed the nation".
As sales of Mash Direct produce "absolutely went crazy", the business put out a call for extra employees in order to meet customer demand.
"I think we had 2,000 applicants for  jobs to help make sure that no matter what, food got onto the shelves," the mother of two says.
Given the nature of the business, much of the work is very hands on.
Those that could work from home were told to do so.
In order to ensure the safely to those that had to work on-site, Mash Direct took a number of measures including putting sanitisers everywhere, compartmentalising certain zones to prevent employees mixing, and even setting up a number of new canteens.
"We put markers on the ground to make sure that we had the social distancing. We had Perspex screens where we needed them, [and] we obviously had to do temperature checks on teams coming in," Hamilton says.
As well as selling through supermarkets, the company - which prides itself on innovation, Martin Hamilton along with an engineer friend designing some of the equipment used by the business - also developed its online sales offering.
While the demand in supermarkets shot up, at the other end of the scale, Mash Direct's business of supplying to restaurants, pubs, and hotels suffered a dramatic slow down.
"When that was turned off, literally overnight, it was deeply serious, it was a major drop in sales," according to Tracy Hamilton.
"Thankfully we really look forward to all the pubs and restaurants reopening because that was such a massive impact on all food producers," she adds.
If there are to be positives from the global pandemic, Hamilton thinks more people will be encouraged to shop locally.
"People are now recognising the enormous amount of produce that is actually local, which they might not have seen before because their shopping habits have changed. The local store business is really holding up and I think that will be the new norm."
Away from Covid-19, another challenge faces the company in the form of Brexit.
However, planning for whatever the UK's exit from the European Union will look like is difficult, as Hamilton explains, "things keep changing every day, we're obviously monitoring it all very carefully, but it's very hard to anticipate or to predict anything until we know what we're actually facing.
"We have to be aware of what the scenarios might be, and then act accordingly, but not lose focus on what we are doing because the most important thing is not to go too far in one direction and then suddenly have to backtrack," Hamilton says.
She adds that the company is "just keeping [its] ear to the ground at all times and thinking, 'what if?'
"But until we know for sure we don't know what buttons we are going to have to press."
Having achieved so much already with Mash Direct, Hamilton - who in January was awarded an MBE in Britain's New Year's Honours list for her services to the Northern Ireland agri-food sector - is keen to offer advice to people who might be thinking of setting up a food business themselves.
Key to being successful is doing research.
"Be aware of what's in the supermarkets, [ask yourself] why should you be on the shelves, what will your competition be, where would you sit in the supermarket?" she says.
"And get every magazine. You have to be informed of what is going on in the food world, and the standards that will have to be kept as the regulations are absolutely phenomenal," Hamilton adds.
In addition, she stresses the importance of getting the best advice possible and asking questions.
Between living on a part of the farm and all the family involved in the business, switching off can be hard.
Hamilton elaborates: "In theory, people say you should never discuss business at home.
"It doesn't work, it never works like that, but I think this is our DNA and we love it."
In her down-time though, Hamilton can be found indulging in her other great passion of gardening.
"I sit on the committee of the Irish Tree Society, I'm a director of the Heritage Garden Trust and we have a heritage garden ourselves which is open to the public by appointment to specialists groups."
There are so many unknowns in the business world right now, however one thing is for sure - Hamilton and Mash Direct are made of strong roots to withstand any challenges they face.