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Castleton Farm unveils new hemp seed oil at Royal Highland Show

23/06/2022

ABERDEENSHIRE food producer Castleton Farm has added a new product to its range with its own home-grown hemp seed oil.

And it is launching its Extra Virgin Culinary Hemp Seed Oil this week at one of the country’s biggest food and farming events, the Royal Highland Show.

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The hemp crop was grown by farmers Ross and Anna Mitchell, on their farm in the heart of the Howe of the Mearns in south Aberdeenshire.

After harvest, the oil was extracted by pressing the raw hemp seeds, with no heat added, to preserve all the raw nutrients.

Castleton Farm’s hemp seed oil expands its existing range of jams, preserves and vinegars, as well as the popular premium fresh berries and cherries.

Experiment

Anna Mitchell said: “We are delighted to be able to reveal our latest Castleton Farm product, a hemp seed oil, which is natural and full of goodness.

“Our Extra Virgin Culinary Hemp Seed Oil tastes a bit like walnuts or sunflower seeds. It’s darker and more intense than other more neutral oils on the market, such as vegetable oil.

“It’s a deliciously rich oil on salads as a dressing or drizzled over bread. You can use it as part of a blended sauce such as a vinaigrette, hemp pesto, to shallow fry, or even homemade mayonnaise.”

The new Extra Virgin Culinary Hemp Seed Oil not only delivers on taste, it’s packed with health benefits.

As well as containing 40% less saturated fat than olive oil, its ratio of omega 6 (linoleic acid) to omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) fatty acids is 3:1. Experts agree that this 3:1 fatty acid ratio is ideal for health benefits in humans.

As well as containing all the essential amino acids and fatty acids, it is vegetarian, vegan and free from gluten.

“It’s a great alternative for vegans to supplements made of fish,” said Anna, “It’s even been shown to improve skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.”

Sustainability

An early observer of the hemp crop trial was none other than the Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, when he visited Castleton Farm last summer.  

Ross Mitchell said: “Our aim is to farm profitably, in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way. We are continually trying out new ideas, and the hemp trial allowed us to combine diversifying into a new crop with establishing a new food product.

“There’s a common misconception that hemp is the same as the cannabis, or marijuana, plant. Although they belong to the same plant family, they are two different plants and hemp seed oil does not contain CBD.

“Growing hemp improves soil organic matter and structure, as well as absorbing more CO2 than it takes to cultivate.

“It’s said that hemp sequesters nine to 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare, which is almost twice as much as a forest of the same size.

“We’ve been practising regenerative agriculture on the farm since 2018, which is an approach centred around improving and revitalising soil health.

“We are an agricultural business that takes its products right through to market, truly from field to fork.”

Experiment

Castleton Farm is a member of the Scottish Hemp Growers Association, who have started commercial production of hemp oil following a successful partnership with the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute.

A team of researchers at the Rowett Institute led by Dr Madalina Neacsu offered the insights into the benefits of hemp. The oil and the by-products from the first cold pressing by the partnership will now be used to investigate the potential of hemp as a sustainable food crop.

The work will also focus on giving value to the by-products of hemp oil pressing to deliver a truly zero waste process for hemp oil production.

This involves research on the “cake” which is oatcake-like in texture that is ground from the seeds and the “fudge” which is a thick substance created during the pressing.

The Castleton team is launching its Extra Virgin Culinary Hemp Seed Oil during their first appearance at Scotland’s Larder at the Royal Highland Show from 23-26 June. After this, it will be available from the Castleton Farm shop and online at https://castletonfarm.co.uk/product/extra-virgin-cold-pressed-hemp-oil

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