Father and son team Hamish and Robert Campbell farm in Stow-on-the-Wold, in Gloucestershire, and produce around 50,000 litres of rapeseed oil a month. Hamish has been mad about farming since he was a boy.
Hamish said: “We care about bees because they do a lot of work for us. We need to keep a natural balance in our farm ecosystem.”
Hamish started off growing oilseed rape as a ‘break’ crop – to improve the soil and reduce disease between sowings of wheat and barley. But now thanks to its tasty oil, it’s become his most profitable crop.
They started out taking samples to pubs and restaurants and asked chefs to give it a try. Nowadays, not only do they supply locally to delis, pubs, schools and restaurants, but also major retailers like Coop and Budgens, as well as prestigious venues and customers such as Michelin-starred restaurants Le Champignon Sauvage, Whatley Manor, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Hamish’s top tips:
- keep ploughing to a minimum to keep his soil in good shape
- create habitats at field edges by sowing special ‘pollen and nectar’ flower mixes to encourage natural insect predators and other beneficial insects.
Available nationally in larger branches of Coop, Budgens, Whole Foods Market.
R-oil is also sole producer of Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ British cold-pressed rapeseed oil.