Like many an amazing business venture…it was created over a pint in the pub…
Charlie Gardner was born and bred in the countryside and despite being an engineer knew that he would never survive a desk job. Growing up locally and knowing the farmers in his local area in Hampshire it was over a pint with his rapeseed farmer friend Giles where he pitched the idea…lets make award winning rapeseed oil and so the Cold Pressed Oil Company was born.
They agreed that provenance and traceability were key so decided to produce all of the oil on Clare Park Farm in Crondall (Hampshire) and adjoining fields that the harvest comes from and another stones throw from the converted barn where the seed is cold pressed.
Using the method of Cold Pressing, oil is extracted from the seed without adding any chemicals. The resulting product is a completely natural flavoured oil, which boasts a buttery, nutty flavour and rich golden colour. It also contains less than half the saturated fat of Olive Oil and is high in Vitamin E and Omega 3 essential fatty acids. The Cold Pressed Oil Company is the only rapeseed oil company to win 2 stars in the Great Taste Awards. Products include their Flag ship Pure Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, infused Oils including Rosemary & Garlic, Lemongrass & Thyme, Chilli and White Truffle Oil, dressings which include Raspberry & Mustard, Chilli & Garlic, Garlic & Herb. Sauces, Tarragon Mustard Mayonnaise, Tartare, Hollandaise and the ultimate Classic Mayonnaise. Constantly innovating Charlie will be producing a 20 Hour Maple Smoked Oil in the next few months which has a fantastic smooth flavour and a deep smokey tone. All created to fit in with the busy lives we all lead and to maximise on flavour and nutrition.
The farms location is perfectly positioned for trade in London, but also south to the New Forest and the south coast. The company grew from strength to strength and from July 2013 have been producing award winning rapeseed oils and mayonnaises – all self funded thankfully without any bank managers breathing down their necks.
Due to their growth and quality of product, 2 substantial competitors in the area stopped producing which allowed The Cold Pressed Oil Company to expand into their space and take on a number of new customers, constantly innovate and expand the range. Clare Park farm is approximately 800 Acres, but also farms more land that joins onto the farm thus totalling an area of around 3,200 Acres.Every year approximately 400 – 600 acres of this land is drilled with rapeseed which produces about 750 – 1000 tonnes of seed each year.
At present, about 30,000 litres of oil is produced a year but with substantial investment made over the past year in equipment, The Cold Pressed Oil Company currently can scale production to produce over 100,000 litres a year and still continue to use the seed that is grown on this farm.
“Aaron Mulliss – Head Chef – The Hand and Flowers, Marlow – Here at The Hand and Flowers we are always looking to use the best of British and the Cold Pressed Oil Company rapeseed oil products are just that, deep and rich in flavour and colour, it’s a true taste of England.”
Relationships and sustainability are key for Charlie and the company. The idea of having a circular production process is something that drew Charlie to the production of rapeseed oil in the first place as there is a use for just about everything. Not only does the Cold Pressed Oil company produce award winning products but the waste seed husk is all extruded from the press as pellets and bagged up. This is sold off to local cattle farmers as an integral high protein feed for their animals’ diet. In essence, there is virtually no waste produced from the process.
Charlie and the team are passionate about relationships with farmers and chefs alike as this constantly sparks innovation and as an engineer this is part of Charlie’s passion. Building great relationships with Chefs directly and through distributors has ensured that the Cold Pressed Oil company continue to produce products that chefs are passionate about using.They are always looking at ways to work closely with Chefs to produce products that can either save them time in their kitchens or create consistency across sites.
“A couple of years ago, the head chef at The Pig in Brockenhurst asked if we could produce a mayonnaise for them to use. I took a sample of the one they were currently using and went away to work on it. I soon came back with a sample for him to try which went down very well resulting in him instantly placing an order and asking for volume immediately and ever since then our mayonnaise has been used in the hotel.”
The Cold Pressed Oil Company supply everything from Michelin Star restaurants like Tom Kerridge’s famous The Hand & Flowers in Marlow to country pubs, from Farm Shops, Butchers and Delis and through various distributors and Southern Coop Food.
“Chefs love using our cold pressed rapeseed oil as it is the base ingredient for a number of their dishes whether salad dressings in the summer months to pan frying fish or even using in their dough for making breads. It is such a versatile product and can literally be used in any area of the kitchen.”