Your Reading List

A new oil for the Prairies

Recipe Swap

Three men holding bottles of Camelina Oil.

It’s a healthy oil that tastes great and hits several other high notes when it comes to what customers want from the food they eat.

The code on the bottle, for example, tells you the name of the southeastern Saskatchewan farmer who produced the crop for it. 

Three Farmers Camelina Oil is a golden culinary oil now finding its way on to Canadian tables as they learn about the flavour profile of this nutritionally dense seed, its health benefits, and the story of the farmers who developed it. 

Colin Rosengren, Dan Vandenhurk and Ron Emde are second- and third-generation farmers living near Midale, Saskatchewan who formed their own company to direct market cold-pressed oil made from camelina Sativa.  

The idea to tap into the growing consumer interest in knowing the story behind their food germinated a few years ago while sitting around the local curling rink complaining in typical fashion about commodity prices, says Colin Rosengren on the website’s promotional video. 

They began researching camelina to learn more about its history — how it was grown up until the 1940s in Europe for use as a cooking oil until other crops supplanted it — and learning how to grow the winter annual in a Saskatchewan climate. Eventually, their artisanal, cold-pressed oil product emerged, and in early 2010 Health Canada gave them its stamp of approval to start marketing it for food uses. 

Three Farmers Camelina Oil
Three Farmers Camelina Oil photo: Three Farmers

Three Farmers Camelina Oil is now a rising star on the culinary scene, with food writers eagerly telling the product’s story. The company received national exposure when Dan’s daughters, Natasha and Elysia, who now work for Three Farmers/Canpressco, the family-owned company they created, appeared on CBC’s “Dragon’s Dens’” in 2012. 

Three Farmers Camelina Oil — available in original and two flavoured versions — is now found in stores right across the country, and while it is a challenge to entice consumers to try something they may never have heard of before, they’re hooked when they do.

“The product sells itself once the bottle is open and customers try it,” says Elysia Vandehurk, whose many hats include a chef’s (Red Seal) and chief operating officer for the company. Customers tell them they love the taste, the product’s traceability, and of course, the company’s story. 

I picked up a 16.5-oz. bottle of the original oil ($15) the other day.  

This oil has a remarkable fresh, earthy or “grassy” scent. Others describe it as “asparagus-like.” It has a light and nutty taste and gives a wonderful depth of flavour when added to winter salads. As a culinary oil, it’s well suited for adding to dips and spreads, marinades and dressings, but with a smoke point of 475 F it can also be used as a cooking oil at moderate to high heat levels. Much like flax oil, camelina oil is rich in Omega-3. But due to its high Vitamin E content it’s shelf stable so you don’t have to refrigerate it.  

I went looking for my first taste of this oil in a specialty food store in Winnipeg (Organza Market), but have since learned nearly 60 stores across Manitoba now carry it, including several small-town Co-ops, thanks to Federated Co-op’s commitment to stocking it right across Western Canada. (Ask your store to bring it in if not found yet where you shop.) 

I encourage you to pick up a bottle of this “old yet new” oil and try it yourself. You’re in for a treat.

Panzanella Salad

A recipe perfect for using those fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and basil from a backyard garden.

1 baguette (or French loaf)
3 medium-size ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber (diced)
1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 c. kalamata olives (halved)
1 c. diced fresh basil leaves

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3/4 c. camelina oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 tbsp. honey (or to desired sweetness)

Cube baguette, place in bowl, and drizzle with camelina oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Lay out on cookie sheet and bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes so bread is crouton-like in texture. In a small bowl, place diced tomato and drizzle with roasted onion and basil camelina oil and let stand for 15 minutes while you pull the rest of the salad together. Mix dressing and let sit in fridge (this dressing can be used for a variety of salads and will keep in the fridge for up to a week). Put tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and baguette pieces in large bowl. Add basil and pour dressing over salad. Mix well.

Source: Three Farmers

Morning Glory Muffins

Try camelina oil in these classic fruit, nut and veg-packed muffins.

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. raisins
3/4 c. grated carrots
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
2 c. chopped apples (unpeeled)
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 c. Three Farmers Camelina Oil Original

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl combine egg, oil, apple sauce and vanilla.  Stir in apples, raisins and carrot. Add flour mix to liquid mix and blend to moisten, but do not overmix. Some lumps are OK. Spoon into lined/oiled muffin tins and sprinkle with pecans.

Bake about 35 minutes or until the muffin will spring back when you lightly press on it.

Source: Three Farmers

Fruit And Nut Quinoa Salad

This is a perfect breakfast for getting a great start on an early-spring morning, or a health snack later on.

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
4 tbsp. Three Farmers Camelina Oil Original
1 c. dried fruit and nut mix – we use apricots, dates, sultans raisins, cranberries, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds

Rinse quinoa well. Add camelina oil to a pot and turn on low to medium, then add your rinsed quinoa to the pot and toast quinoa for one minute. After you have toasted the quinoa add water and cook. While quinoa is cooking, roughly chop the fruit and nut mix. Once quinoa is cooked, let cool before you add your fruit and nut mix. Dress with Three Farmers Camelina Oil to taste.

Source: Three Farmers

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



Stories from our other publications