Like most health-conscious cooks, Lisa Doyle always used olive oil — until her family hit on a method for extracting nutrient-rich oils from locally grown seeds.
"No one presses oil in Southern Oregon," says the Murphy resident.
Refining the method took Doyle and husband Kit about three years. Starting with camelina seeds, which they call a "better flaxseed," the Doyles then forged a partnership with Cliff Creek Cellars in Gold Hill to reclaim cabernet sauvignon seeds from the winemaking process. Most recently, the couple has farmed acres of organic pumpkins for the squash seeds.
"It definitely will add flavor to your food," says Lisa Doyle, 45.
Added to this year's roster of vendors, the Doyles will bring pumpkin-seed products to the season's first Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market Thursday, March 14, in Medford. By May, Seed Oil Company should have grape-seed oil on market days, along with grape-seed flour, body-care oils and pet supplements, says Doyle.
Seed Oil Company — one of 40 new market vendors — is filling the spot vacated by Rogue Valley Brambles, which sold olive oil from Northern California, says market manager Mary Ellen DeLuca. The Doyles also plan to set up shop at Medford's Saturday market beginning May 11 at its new location in the downtown Commons.
"They absolutely love that there is someone pressing fresh oil in the valley," says Lisa Doyle of customer feedback.
Seed Oil Company products are stocked at Ashland and Medford food co-ops, Grange Co-op and Big R stores, Health Food Mart in Medford and The Herb Shop in Grants Pass, in addition to several winery tasting rooms.
The Doyles sold their wares last year at the Grants Pass Growers' Market, which they will continue to attend, and through the online farmers market Rogue Valley Local Foods, www.roguevalleylocalfoods.com. Online sales also are available at www.seedoilcompany.com.
As the company's production has increased exponentially each year, it's started shipping to the East Coast, says Doyle. At home and across the country, Seed Oil Company is earning a reputation as nutritional and artisanal, she says.
"It's bringing money into our community," she says, adding that farmers market prices are several dollars lower than those listed online.
Citing the operation as "somebody that can capitalize on these niche markets," Phil VanBuskirk says he's not aware of any other food oil in production locally. Despite high hopes for Rogue Valley olive-oil production, the first groves planted several years ago have fared poorly, explains the regional administrator for Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center.
With prices comparable to high-quality olive oils, the Doyles' oils are best used for drizzling onto finished dishes, whisking into vinaigrettes and lightly sauteing vegetables to preserve the nuanced flavor, says Lisa Doyle.
"You get a winelike, fermented flavor in the (grape-seed) oil," she says. "You would not want to put it in your brownies."
Try these recipes from Seed Oil Company.
Reach Food Editor Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.