The life of a Rapeseed plant
November 23, 2011
It is important to us that you know exactly where oil starts from…and what better way than to tell you the life of our Rapeseed Plant!
Rapeseed, also known as Brassica Napus, comes from the Brassica plant, which is part of the cabbage family. There are around 100 different varieties of rapeseed plant, but only 15-20 of these are suitable for culinary use! The Rapeseed plant transforms the countryside in spring turning the landscape into a beautiful pool of yellow, something which has recently become commonplace in Britain. At the point of flower, the rapeseed plant is only part-way through its growth cycle.
Our rapeseed is planted around the middle of August to give it sun, and the indubitable rain! This year our crop got off to a healthy start thanks to the early rain and the ‘Indian Summer’, and it is now at what we like to call ‘Pigeon height’…which means exactly as it sounds! Our rapeseed is looking healthy and strong which will help get it through the winter months. The plant will continue to grow until it feels the full force of the cold winter, when it will lay dormant until early spring. Once the weather warms up again, the rapeseed flourishes and grows rapidly. They develop into mature plants around April and then they flower. The yellow fields look dense, but we ensure that we leave enough room for the whole flower, including the stem, to flourish, to give the plants an even distribution of leaves and allow sunlight to penetrate not just the top of the plant but further down to ensure we grow healthy, mature plants. The plants grow taller than the average person…a lot bigger than they look from the roads!
After a few weeks of brightening up our countryside, we see the yellow fade to a light brown. The plant is then ready to be harvested and go into storage in preparation for pressing, filtering and bottling, turning it into a healthy delicious oil!