During January, the team at Ireland Before You Die were invited to join a tour of the family farm, Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil. Set in the beautiful countryside of Broglasco in Limavady, we’re excited to tell you about what we learnt on our visit but first…
When did Broighter Gold Farm Tours Start?
Farm owners, Richard and Leona, opened their doors to the public in 2012. This followed the initiative known as ÉCONOMUSÉE, which was founded in Quebec, Canada. The aim of which is to showcase the work of artisans so people can learn the history of their craft and appreciate the traditional skills and methods involved. Broighter Gold Farm joins a handful of other ÉCONOMUSÉE sites in Ireland, located close to the Causeway Coastal Route.
We weren’t sure what to expect when we visited Broighter Gold. Nonetheless, we were pleasantly surprised and enthused by these five things we learnt.
1. The Golden History of Broighter Gold
In 1896, two ploughmen found what’s known today as the “greatest gold hoard in Ireland,” right on the land of where Richard and Leona farm today. From necklaces to miniature trinkets, it became a celebrated court-case of who would claim the gold as their own. This shining piece of history marked inspiration for their name today.
Another interesting fact is that the farm was a dairy-farm up until the 80s. Space which used to host cattle-rearing and milking is now used for rapeseed oil production.
Perhaps this could inspire other Irish farmers looking for innovative ways to use their land?
2. The Health Benefits of Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil: Cold-Pressed vs. Chemical Extraction
The production of Broighter Gold Rapeseed oil begins in the fields where Richard and Leona plant the crops in September. Come May; their top-notch machinery can harvest up to 60 acres of crops daily.
Much like the poppy seed, Rapeseed is small and black. The yellow oil is held within the seeds’ centres, and cold-pressing them ensures the oil is gently squeezed out. Though this process can only extract around 70% of the oil, it retains quality, natural flavour, aroma and nutrition. The left-over meal (containing almost a third of the oil) is incredibly rich in protein and is used for animal feed.
In contrast, chemical extraction is commonly favoured due to its ability to abstract almost all of the oil. However, since it’s done using chemical, petroleum solvents and high temperatures, it destroys the oil’s naturally-occurring vitamins, antioxidants and flavour.
Thankfully, Richard and Leona boast all-natural and clean cold-pressed oil! It even contains a good dose of Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E.
3. Rapeseed Oil’s Ability to Hold Flavour
Since the clean methods of cold-pressing retain all those nutritive fatty acids and minerals, Rapeseed oil is considered a great ‘carrier-oil’ for infusion.
Who knew there could be so many types of infused Rapeseed oil. From ‘Basil’, ‘Lemon’ and ‘Chilli’, to ‘Hickory Smoked’ and ‘Black Truffle’ – Broighter Gold reps them all! On this tour, you get to taste all of these and more.
They now stock their oils to many restaurants and retail chains throughout Ireland and the U.K.
4. Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil in Cooking
From savoury to sweet, there are many recipes which can use Broighter Rapeseed Oil. Given its health benefits and ability to hold flavour (as mentioned above), it’s a great go-to for home-cooking.
Leona made some gorgeous food for all guests to enjoy at lunch-time. All of which showcased the use of various infused oils she has on offer. Her carrot and parsnip soup was a delicious escape from the Winter chill, and for this, she used her ‘Thai & Chilli’ rapeseed oil which gave it a little spicy kick.
5. Broighter Gold Farm’s Environmentally-Friendly Methods
From the use of efficient machinery to the implementation of solar panels, both Leona and Richard are mindful of the environment.
Other than the growth of Rapeseed, the farm’s land is also home to all kinds of animals, insects and wildflowers. It was lovely to learn that many birds and bees have settled there. To ensure their protection, Richard only sprays pesticides at night time (when the bees are back in their hives), and his less destructive groundwork keeps the animals’ homes in good order.
We loved the tour and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn about Ireland’s local produce. You can keep updated with Richard and Leona’s tours and events via their website.
Thanks for having us guys!
Visit Broighter Gold
Where: 80 Broighter Rd, Limavady BT49 9DY
Buy Here: https://broightergold.co.uk/collections/all-products
Phone: 079 1207 6607
Article Photos in collaboration with GMG Photography