The 'Oil Baron' of Co Wicklow

Myles Buchanan

Published 01/01/2014|05:44

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A new company launched in County Wicklow in late 2013 offers a new range of premium Irish oils grown by Keith Symes on his farm in Hawkstown.

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A new company launched in County Wicklow in late 2013 offers a new range of premium Irish oils grown by Keith Symes on his farm in Hawkstown.

Wicklow Rapeseed Oil provides rapeseed oil and rapeseed oil with garlic. All the oils are natural, traceable and GM free.

Keith says, 'I am delighted to be launching at a time when consumers are becoming more health conscious and know how good Rapeseed Oils are for you. I spent a lot of time cold pressing various seed varieties until the finest tasting rapeseed oil was achieved.'

Explaining the process, Keith adds, 'the seed is freshly cold pressed without the use of chemicals, thereby gently extracting the oil and preserving all its natural goodness while obtaining its Extra Virgin standard.'

Keith comes from a background of three generations of agricultural family farming, originally farming sheep, tillage and dairy. He maintains that small and medium sized farmers face challenging times ahead and must be willing to branch out in order to remain viable.

'In order for small to medium sized farmers in Ireland to survive in the long term they must either find an off-farm income or diversify.'

Keith decided to venture into the rapeseed market for a number of reasons, including the health benefits.

'Rapeseed Oil has the lowest amount of saturated fat than any other culinary oil in the market and is high in Omega 3, 6 and 9. Top cardiologists recommend Rapeseed Oil as part of a low-cholesterol diet. It also contains Vitamin E, which has a number of important functions, such as helping to protect cell membranes by acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin E is also necessary to preserve Omega 3 in cooking, helping to keep its nutritional value.'

Rapeseed oil is also suitable for cooking at high temperatures, unlike extra virgin olive oil.

'Rapeseed oil is ideal for stir frying, roasting, marinades and salads and has a high smoke point of 200°c, so no trans fats are formed hence all goodness in the oil is retained,' continues Keith.

'Extra virgin olive oil is not suitable for cooking at high temperatures, as at 180°c trans fats are formed in which increase your bad cholesterol LDL and decrease your good cholesterol HDL.'

Wicklow Rapeseed Oil is currently available nationwide and can be ordered online at www.wicklowrapeseedoil.ie

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