27 Mar

Scotland:Borders farmers take on Tuscany

Farmers in the Borders have hatched a plan to tackle the Italians in the world of culinary oil production.

They have launched their own extra virgin rapeseed oil – designed to challenge the popular products from the olive groves of Tuscany.

Oleifera is produced by Borderfields Ltd a group of farmers in the Scottish Borders and north Northumberland.

They claim that the finished product has a “magnificent golden colour and nutty flavour”.

The move is part of the farmers’ plans to expand their businesses into new markets.

The group claims its cold-pressed oil has less than half the fat and ten times the omega 3 oils of its Mediterranean counterparts.

Company secretary Jill McGregor of Coldstream Mains Farm said a lot of effort had gone into the final product.

“We trialled 14 different varieties and found enormous differences between them,” she said.

“But after many tasting sessions we have chosen an oil with a magnificent golden colour and nutty flavour.”

The market for olive oil has been growing rapidly in recent years with annual sales in the UK now topping £100m.

It is that sector which the farmers hope to tap into.

“We wanted to add value to a crop that we were growing and this obviously helps us by giving us a better return,” explained Ms McGregor.

“It also helps the discerning and health conscious consumer who is increasingly looking for quality, traceability and sustainability.”

Further advantage
There are 12 farmers in the group, farming land from Alnwick in Northumberland to Coldstream in Berwickshire where their main office is located.

Their press house is situated near Belford in Northumberland.

That allows the oil to have another advantage over its foreign competitors, according to its producers.

It travels “minimal food miles” from the point of production to UK dinner tables.

[Source] Click here

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