“I’m really surprised, actually, that I’m the only one who does it.”
– THEO JORDAN
Buttery” or “nutty” might be how someone tasting coldpressed canola oil for the first time might describe its flavour. Those who’ve harvested canola will instantly recognize the scent of a freshly combined field.
Organic farmer Theo Jordan, says that taste and aroma combine to make this one of the “best of the best” things any Manitoba farmer can produce.
For the last half-dozen years, he and his wife Susanne have produced about 500 litres annually of this flavourful oil, using their own organic, non-GMO canola they grow on their Eriksdale farm, and crushing it with a small commercial-scale press in their basement.
The oil, simply labelled as “Cold Pressed Canola Oil” with Jordan Seed Farms’ contact information on it, is sold locally at Eriksdale’s Havakeen Lunch location, plus a couple of organic retail outlets in Winnipeg.
Its favourable reception makes the Jordans wonder why no one else, at least so far, is trying this in Manitoba.
“I’m really surprised, actually, that I’m the only one who does it,” says Theo.
Both avid cooks, it was a love of good food that got them interested, he adds.
Their press, acquired from Germany, can press about five litres of oil an hour. The equipment is designed to work around the clock so they could technically produce far more than they do.
But they are happy with their modest approach. In all, they produce about 1,000 litres of oil a year, including an additional 500 litres of cold-pressed golden flax oil.
“You can’t really call me a producer of this,” he says. “It’s less than a sideline.”
If they do expand, they’ll do it “slowly, so I don’t make any mistakes,” he said, adding that the rest of their 2,500-acre certified organic farm and seed-cleaning business keeps them very busy.
Last year pressing also had to grind to a halt. Their canola crop failed. They’ve begun pressing this year’s production and expect to have product back on store shelves this week.
That should make customers at organic food stores like Organic Planet in Winnipeg happy. People have been asking when Jordan’s canola oil will be available again, says Kelly McKinnon, who works at the co-op.
“This is a really good product,” she said. Customers really like its flavour, but additionally appreciate being able to buy something not only organically produced, but non-GMO and locally grown as well. A 750 ml bottle of Jordan’s oil retails for around $7 to $8. The golden flax oil sells in 375 ml for $6.
Eatit.ca, an online and in-store Winnipeg-based business selling organic food, also carries Jordan’s coldpressed oils.
Cold pressing is a traditional method of producing oil using a mechanical method that limits friction and thereby avoids elevating temperatures. The amount of oil that can be extracted from seed using the cold-press method is lower, ranging from between 75 to 85 per cent. Cold-pressed canola oil retains all the inherent nutritional qualities of regular canola oil.
Many Manitobans get their first taste of cold-pressed canola oil at Kelburn Farm’s Canola Learning Centre south of Winnipeg. Jordan Seed Farms’ oil is served during oil tastings there.
Further-processed, organic products such as these are what Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) wants to help more producers develop, says Robin McRae, MAFRI’s organic marketing specialist.
Consumers are looking for these products as their interest in both organically grown food and locally grown food grows, she said.
“I talk to a lot of individuals, from the consumer end of things, always looking to find out what we make in Manitoba, and where they can get it,” said McRae.
MAFRI will host a series of seminars and workshops in the new year to help farmers learn more about producing, processing and marketing organically grown products.