A rapeseed producer from Hawkstown Inferior, Co.Wicklow turned their products into a successful rapeseed oil business and also added another thriving brand to the fold.
Keith Symes, owner and director of Wicklow Rapeseed Oil, launched the brand in 2013. It was followed in 2017 by the start of sister brand Sussed which produces sustainable healthy food.
“My passion for agriculture as well as my ambition to create a business related to agriculture led me to the idea of producing eextra vcold pressed irgin rmonkey seeds ohe.“
Rapeseed was already grown on the property.
“I saw an opening in the market for this big, healthy product and began work on the creation of Wicklow rapeseed oil.“
This included a visit to the UK see a farmer who cultivated, pressed and bottled rapeseed oil.
Also a a lot of research was done. This implied in part grow and collect different types of seeds in order to find a Single variety that thrives in the areas’ soil conditions.
First tests with a small press in the kitchen
The aim was to produce a tasty and healthy cooking oil from eextra virgin sstandard. Keith did the first tests with a miniature press in her home kitchen.
“Anybody has been really using only one variety of seeds. They all used several aAnd they didn’t care what fertilizer was being applied.
“This‘That’s the difference between mass-produced rapeseed oils and mine. We guarantee that ours is light and nutty in flavor and that‘that’s why we won many price.“
Keith is the Fourth generation on the farm. He studied agagricultural engineering and then mechanical engineering before joining a power plant construction company.
When the economy slowed down, Keith started farming full time. The same time, his father began to relax on the farm.
The farm focuses on winter crops which turn between rapeseed, barley and oats with cover crops in between.
“The rich and fertile soil and favorable climate of this region lend themselves well to a high–quality harvest.“
“I knowa single rapeseed sow once every 4 years in the same field. From where, I have contracted farmers in the zone who delivers the product to me.“
He adds that it must be done to meet the requirements for his rapeseed oil. This too spreads the risk or something is going wrong with the harvests on his farm.
Regenerative agricultural practices bear fruit
Moreover, the regenerative farming practices Keith follows on the farm are starting to pay off.
“We are all on the environment, soil. Kcry the healthy soil is the key to us. Every year, we install cover crops from which we take absolutely nothing.
“It is expensive to set up and it takes time – bbut it’s worth it in the long run. The soil is teeming with life and we are seeing an increase in yields.
In order to reduce the carbon footprint, the farm also aims to use as few machines as possible.
“Instead of plowing, harrowing, sowing and rolling which is normal practice, we use an eco-till. This pushes the seed straight into the ground without the need for plowing or harrowing.
As for the availability of Wicklow rapeseed oil products, it can be found nationwide.
Keith says he started with SuperValu Food Academy Pprogram. However, today’s stock can be found in national stores., includeing Supervisor, Dunnes, Tesco as good as many butchers.
100% natural, traceable and GMO free
Wicklow rapeseed oil is also exported to the UK. In addition, all products are 100% natural, traceable and GMO-free.
AT reach the extra virgin cold pressed standard, the seed can not be heated before cold pressing. In addition, the temperature inside the press must stay below 27 ° C without the use of additives.
This process ensures that the health benefits of the oil are maintained.
“Wicklow’s rapeseed oil has completed a laboratory analysis to certify that this standard has been met. “
TThe residual cake after pressing is used for animal feed.
According to Keith, it’s high in protein and contains 12% oil, Who To does it is good for conditioning cattle.
“The advantage of producing rapeseed oil is that there is no waste. Everything is used.“
Keith says tThe health benefits of rapeseed oil include:
- It has less than half the saturated fat content (6%) compared to all other cooking oils. For example, olive oil contains 14% and sunflower oil 13%. Heart disease and high cholesterol have been linked to high saturated fat.
- In addition, it contains 52% monounsaturated fat (Omega 9). Omega 9 promotes brain development in unborn children. It may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.es.
- In addition, it contains 25% polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3 and 6) which are essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Rich in omega 3 foods can help reduce illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, as well as lower LDL or ‘bad“ cholesterol.
- In addition, it contains vitamin E this, for example, helps protect cell membranes by acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin E is also necessary to preserve Omega 3 in cooking, helping to retain its nutritional value.
- Another key advantage of extra virgin rapeseed oil is its relatively high smoke point of 200 ° C compared to the 180 ° C of extra virgin olive oil.
This allows cooking at a higher temperature without losing its health benefits.
Regarding the different brands, Keith says that Wicklow Rapeseed Oil is primarily focused on the petroleum product.
However, the Sussed brandthe scope of is wider than oils and Also includes other natural and healthy lifestyle products. Eis understand balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and his Vegan Power Bites snacks.
Sussed inincludes an oil which mixes rapeseed oil with Omega 3 DHA oil which is extracted from algae oil.
According to Keith, this mixed product is the healthiest cooking oil on the market.
Regarding expansion, Keith says they are always looking to launch new products according to the market appetite.
Right now, they plan to bring Sussed dressings to the market, hopefully by summer.
As for Wicklow’s rapeseed oil, a spray flavored with garlic and chili (with less that 2 calories per spray) will launch in February.
Company performance and future
Keith is happy with the performance of the company and says turnover has tripled in the past 2 years.
More prospects include the distribution of Sussed products through Amazon in the United States.
“In addition, our current factory on the farm is at maximum and we are presently install a new one.
All production of Wicklow and Sussed rapeseed oil is done on the farm.
According to Keith, add value to products from his farm can provide added security.
He says it gives more control of the product across the board and we are less exposed to Marlet price volatility of raw products.
“You have more control over your profits when you produce and sell the end products yourself.
“You also have a brand that you can create and invest in to increase its value. “