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It’s Oil week here at Big Barn!

You’ve seen the fields sprouting in the last few weeks and those of you with hayfever will have been dreading this moment. But, as fields start to turn yellow with rapeseed it’s time to celebrate oil! Virgin olive oil and cold pressed Rapeseed oils are really good for us, it’s delicious for roast potatoes & dressings and we should eat more of it, like our Mediterranean friends do for health reasons.

We all know we can now buy cold pressed virgin rapeseed oil and special imported olive oils all over the UK. Not because the local food industry has made it available, but because enterprising people and farmers have ignored ‘the industry’ and grow, press, bottle & market their own. While it’s brilliant that food can be shipped around the world to meet demand, it’s not what we’re really about. We firmly believe we should be turning to our local farmers for the best produce and building a new, LOCAL, food industry.

It turns out that UK farmers have been growing rape for 40 years and selling it via the food industry. It has then been used to make vegetable oil using solvents to extract as much oil as possible. The trouble is, the solvents are difficult to extract at the end of the process, and ruin the end product. Luckily some enterprising farmers, angry by the low price they were being paid for their rape, realised they could make a better return by crushing their own and sell for the same price as a quality Olive oil, meaning we all have the opportunity to buy brilliant local oils that support our local farmers.

There are great health benefits to oils too. A Virgin cold pressed Rapeseed oil is high in omega 3, which is essential for our health. A recent study showed we should consume 10 times the quantity of Omega 3 oil, to Omega 6, found in most oils and foods, like crisps. An even more interesting fact is that local rapeseed oil could have some of the same anti allergenic qualities as local honey, helping hay fever and perhaps many other ailments, although there’s some debate at the moment as to how true this is.

Rapeseed oil direct from British farmers

Rapeseed oil direct from British farmers

This is why we should look local for the best food and drink. The more we communicate and buy, the more farmers are encouraged to grow more, and diversify. Likewise the more we buy the better economies of scale and the cheaper the produce will get.

To find your local rapeseed oil producer, or specialist, real, olive oil (a great deal of olive oil is blended with cheaper oils or has solvents in) and buy online we have lots of enterprising farmers in our MarketPlace. To make the delivery charge less of a burden, you can buy a larger quantity and share it with your friends.

If you have a favourite ‘oil’ recipe that you’d like to share, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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