Fussel has been growing rape on his Somerset farm for 15 years, mainly as a break crop to enhance the quality of the wheat that was planted after it. But when rapeseed prices were low, he was encouraged to turn the produce into a high-quality food stuff, sold under the Fussels Fine Foods brand.
“I had to find something to add some value to the crop,” Fussel says. “The price was £125/tonne – now it’s £340/tonne. Had it been like that two years ago, this probably would never have happened. The low price meant there was an opportunity to do something different.”
Rapeseed oil’s concentration of essential fatty acids, such as omega 3, surpasses regular oils. It can be used in salad dressings and marinades and doesn’t lose its goodness when used in cooking.
Fussel sells his oil into pubs and restaurants in the Somerset area, farmers’ markets and trade shows while customers can also buy it from the farm direct. He adds: “There’s a Michelin-star chef using the oil on the television. He absolutely loves it.”
Rapeseed oil is also being lauded as a low carbon alternative to the likes of olive oil and the fact Fussel’s product is grown locally is also a huge selling point. “People can see the traceability on it,” he says.
“I would like to see the oil sold into supermarkets. But into someone that looks after local producers. That’s what the idea is; that’s how we’ve branded the oil. It’s local, it’s versatile and it’s simple. It’s straight out of the field, cleaned, looked after, crushed and then goes onto the table.”