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Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

We’re celebrating all things oil (the edible type) at Big Barn!

Seeing the back of spring and the fields of yellow rapeseed flowers is probably quite the relief to those of you out there with hayfever who will have been dreading the arrival of spring and the fresh batch of pollen. But, as we edge closer to harvesting it’s time to celebrate oil! With all the bad news stories about cooking too frequently with the wrong sort of oils, it’s hard to remember that virgin olive oil and cold pressed Rapeseed oils are really good for us. That and they help make roast potatoes & dressings delicious 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, as having a global health crisis has shown us, sometimes it’s better to shop locally, support local jobs and keep supply lines open. We firmly believe we should be turning to our local farmers for the best produce and using the recovery and taking the opportunity to build new, LOCAL, food industries.

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 and as a growing cohort of people eschew meat products, the remaining sources of key minerals and compounds becomes even more important. 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. Even more interestingly 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 effective this actually is.

Rapeseed oil direct from British farmers

Rapeseed oil direct from British farmers

This is why we believe the best food and drink is grown locally. 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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