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Farmer strikes it rich with oil
8:00pm Saturday 1st September 2012 in Evesham
A FARM on the edge of the Cotswolds has been attracting visitors from across the globe.
East Lodge Farm in Stanton, near Broadway, which is surrounded by brightly coloured rapeseed fields, began to attract coach loads of Japanese tourists earlier this year.
But the farm is much more than just a tourist attraction.
It is also the base for a successful rapeseed oil business, Cotswold Gold, run by 25-yearold Charlie Beldam.
He took time out from recording an online demonstration of how to cook using his rapeseed oil to explain what goes into making it. “Everything we use comes off the farm,” said the young entrepreneur, whose family have farmed at East Lodge Farm for 45 years.
“The seeds are fed into a machine and what we don’t use is given to a local farm which can use it to feed cattle.
“The rest becomes oil, which sits for about four days and separates with the good oil coming to the top. We then use filter pads to separate it and these are later used as firelighters. The oil is then pumped into the bottles.”
Rapeseed oil has grown in popularity in the past few years due to its health benefits, which include high amounts of Vitamin E and low amounts of saturated fat. Last year Cotswold Gold sold about 100,000 bottles of its oil and it hopes to sell up to 140,000 by the end of 2012.
Mr Beldam said: “We create a variety of flavours including infusions of chilli, cumin, dill and rosemary. We also have got a new range of salad dressings called Drizzle. With this we are trying to step outside the box of Farmer strikes it rich with oil the traditional salad dressing.
“It is very exciting the way it’s changing.”
The young entrepreneur, who has won numerous awards for his two-year-old business, developed the company from a project he undertook during his time at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
Now he offers a placement to a student doing the same course and hopes to soon recruit some more permanent employees.
“Everything we produce is now sold through farm shops, farmers’ markets and to local businesses. We have even had top Michelin starred chefs using the oil including Raymond Blanc. I think it’s important to show we can make something in this country which is healthy and British.” For more information, visit cotswoldgold.co.uk