Hello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com
Cooking up a storm with Harnett’s Oils
When it comes to cooking, my culinary experiences swing from the sublime to the ridiculous. I’m a big fish fan and love trying out new recipes and coming into the summer means I get to experiment more with new lighter styles of cooking.
After a recent trip to St George’s Market, I came across a local oilseed company that have a weekend stall there. Harnett’s Oils hail from one of the oldest family farms in the north – dating back to 1656. The family still live on the rolling fields in Waringstown and it is the only one on the island of Ireland able to grow and market its own range of oilseeds.
Production on the site is flat to the mat, as the company has just sold its millionth bottle of award winning oil. It has a regular customer base from across the island of Ireland, as well as America, France and Spain, on account of its online shop www.harnettoils.com.
After speaking to Jane Harnett who heads up the business, I get a real sense of the passion she has for the product range and her family heritage.
Maybe it’s my naive city mentally, but I think it’s great to see a young woman being so involved in farming – because to me it’s a very male dominated world.
She has been working hard to appeal to a new breed of consumer that recognises the health benefits of Rapeseed oil over some of the more traditional alternatives. This type of oil is definitely the most popular in the range, but maybe the more unusual of the bunch is the Hemp Oil – yes I did a double take too, but no, it’s not what you are thinking!
It’s great to see that I’m not the only one that recognises Jane’s brilliance, as Harnett’s was chosen to be part of a small group of artisan producers asked to showcase their wares this week at the House of Commons, organised through Taste of Ulster – wonder what flavour oil David Cameron will be having with his fish?
Like all good businesses, the secret of success is diversifying to meet customer demands – and Harnett’s is no different. Although Rapeseed and Hemp are the core products, there is also a very popular line in flavoured oils and vinaigrettes. Flavours of the oils range from Lemon & Thyme to Basil, with Chilli and Garlic proving to be the most sought after. With the vinaigrettes, it is the Raspberry flavour that is top of customers’ shopping lists.
Since picking up my Harnett’s bottles I have been trying out a few new recipes for pesto and using them for fish and salads. I wouldn’t say I have mastered the art of cooking, but now with my new yummy ingredients if it all goes wrong, for once I can’t blame my tools!
Contact Number: 02838 881210