Producer: Hillfarm Oils, Suffolk
Product: Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil and Hillfarm Honey
Region: Eastern England
Category: From the Field (Primary)
What they do
The Fairs family have been growing rapeseed in Suffolk for 35 years and in 2004 became the first UK farm to produce a premium cooking oil from their crop.
Sam and Clare Fairs and their team produce their cold-pressed rapeseed oil in their own onsite barn, which is powered entirely by solar panels on its roof. Following the harvest in July, the small black seeds are squeezed to release the golden oil, to which nothing is added and nothing taken away.
Cold-pressing the oil retains the crop’s flavour and colour, in contrast to the common factory practice of applying heat to speed up the process. The resulting oil has half the saturated fat of olive oil, is naturally high in the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, as well as Vitamin E. Its nutty flavour and high burn point makes it a versatile kitchen ingredient.
Hillfarm is dedicated to safeguarding Suffolk wildlife, and the bees that pollinate their crop. Borage is grown alongside the farm’s rapeseed and clover-rich grassland to provide insects with a longer flowering season, and Hillfarm have recently trialled planting wildflowers to provide an alternative food source when others are out of season. To make their honey, the farm works with a number of beekeepers who move their hives around these crops at peak flowering times.
What the judges said
The judges loved everything about this entry, in particular Hillfarm’s commitment to the countryside, synergy between products and their keen price. In Eastern England panel’s opinion Hillfarm’s oil is the best rapeseed oil on the market.
Visit the website: hillfarmoils.com