by Lawrence Frohn, March 30, 2017
Every seed that goes into our oil comes from our own farm. For many oils that’s not the case, with producers working in a co-operative, using seeds from different farms and grown under different conditions. For the taste of the end product, where and how a seed is grown makes a massive difference. That’s why we make a local product that’s grown, pressed and bottled all on one farm.
By growing our crops on our own farm, we have full control over the taste. The way you manage a crop influences the flavour of the oil and because our crops are all grown in one place – in the same soil type, with the same weather conditions and the same methods – our oil has a consistent flavour. We know exactly where every drop of oil has come from, and how it has been produced.
Second, we can maintain quality by growing our own rapeseed, because we know which variety produces the best colour, flavour and nutritional values. We grow three main varieties each year for our oil production, along with trials of around five or six other varieties. These trials allow us to improve taste and nutritional composition, while finding varieties with the best growing characteristics including high yield and disease resistance.
We’re not complacent about the taste of our oil, which is why we’re constantly holding taste tests with our customers, at events and with our own team on the farm. We have three different types of taste test:
At our taste tests, it’s always good to hear what our customers think about the flavour of our oil. Many have commented that it’s ‘nutty’ or has a ‘hint of asparagus’, especially when they taste it for the first time.
Most of our customers love our oil because it tastes ‘clean’ in the mouth. It doesn’t ‘cling’ or give a greasy oily feeling like olive oil, and it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. And, despite its distinctive flavour, cold pressed rapeseed oil is a very good carrier of other flavours, which is why it’s so good in dressings and marinades.
Of course, we know that taste is subjective and other types of oil have their place, but we’re very proud of how flavoursome and versatile our oil is, along with its high nutritional value. Hillfarm oil is also the only cold pressed rapeseed oil that is Kosher and Halal, as well as being vegetarian.
Here at Hillfarm we’re extremely proud to have a 2 Star Great Taste award from the Guild of Fine Foods. In fact, we’re one of very few producers to have a rating this high. But we’re continually striving to improve, and our aim is to get another star by working hard behind-the-scenes to enhance the flavour of our oil. Watch this space!