Behind-the-Scenes: How We Measure & Improve Taste of our Rapeseed Oil
by Lawrence Frohn, March 30, 2017
Our cold pressed oil is considered one of the best rapeseed products on the market, according to customers and experts alike. But how do we make sure our oil tastes as good as it does? How do we measure taste, and how do we approach quality control here at Hillfarm? We unveil all the hard work that goes into making Hillfarm cold pressed rapeseed oil so undeniably tasty.
We do everything right here on the farm
Every seed that goes into our oil comes from our own farm. For many oils that’s not the case, with producers working in a co-operative, using seeds from different farms and grown under different conditions. For the taste of the end product, where and how a seed is grown makes a massive difference. That’s why we make a local product that’s grown, pressed and bottled all on one farm.
By growing our crops on our own farm, we have full control over the taste. The way you manage a crop influences the flavour of the oil and because our crops are all grown in one place – in the same soil type, with the same weather conditions and the same methods – our oil has a consistent flavour. We know exactly where every drop of oil has come from, and how it has been produced.
Second, we can maintain quality by growing our own rapeseed, because we know which variety produces the best colour, flavour and nutritional values. We grow three main varieties each year for our oil production, along with trials of around five or six other varieties. These trials allow us to improve taste and nutritional composition, while finding varieties with the best growing characteristics including high yield and disease resistance.
How do we keep improving the taste of our oil?
We’re not complacent about the taste of our oil, which is why we’re constantly holding taste tests with our customers, at events and with our own team on the farm. We have three different types of taste test:
Comparing rapeseed oil with other oils including olive, coconut and sunflower oil. This allows us to keep an ongoing record of the flavours our customers like, and use this to influence our own flavour profile.
Testing different batches of Hillfarm rapeseed oil. This helps us to ensure flavour doesn’t vary from one bottle to the next, so you know what to expect every time you buy our oil.
Comparing Hillfarm oil with our rapeseed oil competitors. This makes sure we stay ahead of the curve, as the most high-quality oil on the market.
At our taste tests, it’s always good to hear what our customers think about the flavour of our oil. Many have commented that it’s ‘nutty’ or has a ‘hint of asparagus’, especially when they taste it for the first time.
Most of our customers love our oil because it tastes ‘clean’ in the mouth. It doesn’t ‘cling’ or give a greasy oily feeling like olive oil, and it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. And, despite its distinctive flavour, cold pressed rapeseed oil is a very good carrier of other flavours, which is why it’s so good in dressings and marinades.
Of course, we know that taste is subjective and other types of oil have their place, but we’re very proud of how flavoursome and versatile our oil is, along with its high nutritional value. Hillfarm oil is also the only cold pressed rapeseed oil that is Kosher and Halal, as well as being vegetarian.
What’s next for the taste of Hillfarm rapeseed oil?
Here at Hillfarm we’re extremely proud to have a 2 Star Great Taste award from the Guild of Fine Foods. In fact, we’re one of very few producers to have a rating this high. But we’re continually striving to improve, and our aim is to get another star by working hard behind-the-scenes to enhance the flavour of our oil. Watch this space!
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