Frequently Asked Questions about Camelina Sativa, Camelina Oil, and Three Farmers.
Where does this oil originate from?
Camelina is an ancient oilseed that originated in parts of Northern Europe and Central Asia. This oil was commonly used for culinary purposes throughout Europe up until the mid-1940s. It is a non-GMO oilseed with many health attributes attached to it due to the high levels of Omega-3 inherent in the oil.
Where is Three Farmers' Camelina Oil produced?
Three Farmers is proud to say that every step in creating our Camelina oil is done right here at home in Saskatchewan. Our Three Farmers grow the seed near a town called Midale in Southeast Saskatchewan. We then transport the seed to Tisdale, SK where it is expeller cold pressed by a small family owned operation. We then transport the oil to Spalding, SK where it is bottled in a Food Safe facility by our good friends at Northern Nutraceuticals before being transported back to Saskatoon to be distributed to our wonderful retailers across Canada.
What does expeller cold-pressed mean? What is Expeller Pressing?
Expeller pressing is a chemical-free mechanical process that extracts oil from seeds and nuts. This method of oil extraction is an alternative to the hexane-extraction method used for many conventional oils. A mechanical screw press is used to press the seed through a barrel shaped cavity. The screw compresses the seed and the oil seeps out through the openings while the debris (or meal) remains in the barrel.
The temperature reached during pressing depends on the hardness of the nut or seed. The harder the nut or seed, the more pressure required to extract the oil, which in turn creates more friction and higher heat. Camelina is a soft shell seed. Three Farmers Camelina Oil is processed at temperatures less than 40 degrees Celsius, well below the standard for being considered cold pressed.
Why Cold Press?
Delicate oils, or those in which flavor nuances are a key component such as Camelina, need to be treated with greater care in controlling processing factors. Three Farmers carefully monitors the heat that is produced during the expelling process to ensure it remains below the standard so that the delicate taste profile of our Camelina Oil is not damaged.
It's important to note that the phrase 'cold pressed' has been used erroneously in North America for a number of years, often employed as a marketing technique for oils which have been expeller pressed at high temperatures or even refined (which exposes the oil to temperatures of up to 470 degrees F).
Who are 'Three Farmers' and what do they stand for?
The eponymous Three Farmers are Dan, Colin and Ron, who are also the company's owners. Together on their Saskatchewan farms, they take care of the growing and harvesting of the seeds before they are pressed into oil and bottled. It is this fully integrated approach, monitoring all elements of the process, that enables the three farmers to provide fully traceable oil. "Traceability" refers to the fact that every step in Three Farmers' process is completely transparent. By simply entering in the code found on every bottle of Three Farmers Camelina Oil into their website, the complete history of the oil can be discovered, from the moment when the seed was sown and harvested, to the farmer who planted it, the GPS location of the field, the area where the seed was pressed and, finally, the date of bottling.
Three Farmers understand that consumers want to follow their food to its source in a time when there is no shortage of concerns about food safety, both in the minds of consumers and splashed across the headlines. “What they're really trying to buy is food security. Every time there’s a food recall or you hear about contamination, people want to know where it’s coming from and what’s going on. Rather than just make a claim on the label, we’re showing them where it came from, what we did and how we grew it,”
What is your farmers growing philosophy?
We have taken a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture that encompasses the ecological, economic, social and political parameters that are affected through food production. Ecologically, we strive to reduce the negative environmental externalities created by agriculture, protect local ecosystems and preserve the biodiversity of our region. We do this by implementing zero tillage farming techniques and customizing our crop nutrition plans to fit the needs of the soil and plant life. Our crop rotation techniques allow for the preservation of the soil structure and stops the excessive depletion of soil nutrients. We are also reviving ancient farming techniques such as inter-cropping which is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same field at one time. Thus, each crop can give the other what it needs in terms of nutrients while maintaining the integrity of the soil.
Economically, we understand that we have a world to feed and that resources are limited. Our land and water supply must sustain not only ourselves and our children, but hundreds of generations down the road. We place great value on our ecological assets and believe in utilizing them in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Socially and politically, we believe that the various food movements that we have seen over the past few years, whether it be for organic foods, local foods or food sovereignty, are really pushing for one clear objective – to know where our food comes from and to hold those who produce it accountable. We believe a transparent food supply is the real answer to food revolution that has begun in recent years.
How is Camelina Oil used, and can it be used at high temperatures?
Camelina can be used for various culinary practices. It can be used for cold applications, such as in spreads, dips, marinades and dressings. It can also be used at moderate to high levels of heat given it has a smoke point of 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Camelina oil truly is your salad oil, your cooking oil and your omega-3 supplement wrapped into one great tasting product.
How long is the shelf life and do I have to refrigerate it?
Though Camelina is highly polyunsaturated and rich in Omega-3, it remains stable due to its high levels of a rare form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherols. These tocopherols act as an antioxidant in camelina oil extending its shelf life over and above any other expeller pressed oils, Camelina Oils shelf life is 18 months from press date when stored appropriately. Appropriate conditions are out of direct sunlight and away from humidity and heat (room temperature is fine) Refrigeration is also an option as this oil will not change consistency when chilled.
How does Camelina Oil compare to other oils, such as olive, canola, and flax?
Camelina Oil is unique in that it provides the necessary daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids that our body requires while at the same time has the ability to function as a culinary oil.
Olive oil is abundant in mono-unsaturated fat and functions as a cooking oil but does not have the nutritional advantages of Omega-3 that are inherent in Camelina oil.
Flax oil is known as the Omega-3 champion. However, flax is an unstable source of Omega-3 and has a limited shelf life. It does not withstand heat and does not have a favourable taste profile. It is not suitable for culinary applications.
Grapeseed and Avocado Oil are both known for their high smoke points and cooking benefits. However, they do not have the Omega-3 content that Camelina Oil has and neither have the balanced fatty acid profile that is known to be beneficial for the human body.
What are Omega-3 fatty acids and what do they do for me?
Dietary Fats are an important part of a healthy diet as the body utilizes them for several purposes such as: - transporting oxygen through the blood stream to all parts of the body - cell membrane development and strengthening - strengthening of organs and tissue - skin health - prevention of premature aging - promotion of weight loss through cholesterol lowering effects
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are labelled “essential” because they cannot be synthesized or produced by the body. The two primary EFAs are linoleic acid (LA which is synthesized into Omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA which is synthesized into Omega-3). Of these EFAs, ALA is most lacking in our diets today. Clinical research suggests that an increase in the presence of ALA in human serum levels can significantly contribute to the prevention of:
- cardiovascular disease