Producer of the Month: Hillfarm Oils
Hillfarm Oils are the original producers of cold pressed rapeseed oil. The Fairs family have been farming in Suffolk for over 50 years. Pioneers, their idea to turn their high quality oilseed rape crop into a premium extra virgin oil for cooking and dressing became a reality in 2004, when they became the first British farmers to grow, press and bottle their own cold pressed rapeseed oil. Today, they continue to lead the way by using only the very best seed varieties selected for their superior taste, golden colour and high nutritional value, which is protected by the brand's distinctive dark bottle. Hillfarm Oil's delicious nutty flavour, versatility and health benefits has earned a legion of fans, as well as prestigious 2-star Great Taste Awards. Their range also includes mayonnaises and salad creams, which have also won awards.
Hillfarm's homegrown seeds are pressed and bottled using solar powered electricity and the farm is committed to sustainable environmental practices. Protecting wildlife is a passion for the Fairs and their dedication to bees and pollinators prompted a visit from Friends of the Earth in 2016, who then featured them as role model bee-friendly farmers on their website. This year, Hillfarm Oils also launched a campaign to encourage as many people as possible to #backourbees by pledging small actions to collectively help boost bees' numbers.
Choosing Hillfarm Oils as our Producer of the Month, we chatted to Claire Fairs, Owner of Hillfarm Oils.
Why do you do what you do?
As a farmer’s daughter, farming is in my DNA. I love the British countryside and feel hugely privileged to live here in Suffolk, where it is so beautiful.
My other great passion is food, so Hillfarm Oils combines these two great loves perfectly. Cooking with our own cold pressed rapeseed oil for the first
time was a fantastic experience for me and still is!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It's great to be part of a family business that the whole family can get involved with and Sam and I are equally passionate about. I worked in catering before we launched Hillfarm Oils so I also really enjoy being able to use my skills to create new recipes for our oil. Our cold pressed rapeseed oil is incredibly versatile and I love finding new and interesting ways to use it. It has the lowest saturated fat content of all oils and I enjoy being able to find ways to make tasty treats like cakes or mashed potato healthier and more nutritious.
What do you least enjoy about your job?
I can't think of anything I don't enjoy about my job!
What achievement are you most proud of?
I feel very proud of how far we have come in the past 15 years and the high quality of our products. Our oil has just received another 2-star Great Taste
Award this year and our mayonnaises and salad cream have been awarded 1-star awards, which is a great achievement. I'm also very proud of Back Our
Bees campaign. As farmers, we are keenly aware of the importance of bees and other pollinators and found reports about reduced numbers very distressing.
We have our own bee hives here on the farm and have developed a great respect for these industrious little creatures upon whom so many plants depend.
Hopefully our campaign has helped more struggling bees to find the food and shelter they need this year with so many people pledging to support them.
Why Should we Buy British?
Why buy imported products that have been transported across the world when we have so many outstanding British producers producing fantastic food at home?
Locally grown food is much tastier and better for you. It's also important to buy British to support our economy and reduce transport emissions. Britain's
high food standards safeguard the quality of our food too. There have been many recent news reports about Italian olive oil not containing what is
says on the label but our strict regulations mean this wouldn't happen here! Our oil is 100% pure extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil and we have
to prove it!
How do you think we should be promoting British?
I think awareness is the key. Once most people understand the benefits of buying British they will make sure they always do whenever possible.
Buy British to look after Britain, the planet and your tastebuds!
What's on the menu this evening?
A quick one tonight! A Spanish style omelette made with our own eggs and homegrown new potatoes and courgettes.
How can people get hold of your product?
All our products are available direct from our website at www.hillfarmoils.com. You can also find our oil in Tesco, Sainsbury's and the Co-Op, who also
stock our mayonnaise.