Q&A with the CEO of Three Farmers, Natasha Vandenhurk

It has been touted “Canada’s new super oil” and earned some amazing accolades on Dragon’s Den. The camelina oil by Saskatchewan’s Three Farmers is out to change the way we cook. Derived from the Camelina sativa plant (originally from Europe and Asia, now grown in Saskatchewan), the flavourful, cold-pressed oil is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 polyunsaturates and Vitamin E. Plus, its high smoking point makes it one of the safest oils to cook with. Three Farmers consists of two sisters, their father and two other farmers and they’re passionate about providing a personal connection between consumers and producers. We had a chance to chat with their CEO, Natasha Vandenhurk, to get a look behind the scenes.

three-farmers-family

1) How did culinary oils become your passion and career?

Three Farmers is a company that focuses on natural, healthy foods and sustainable and traceable agriculture. We are really about connecting customers back to their food source, the farmer and the land. So it wasn’t so much a passion for oils that drove our farmers and Elysia and I into this business and this career path, it was rather our love and appreciation for agriculture and for healthy, natural foods.

2) What is your first, or most memorable, memory of food?

Elysia and I are sisters and our dad is one of our Three Farmers. We grew up in a family of 8 so feeding a family of that size is no easy feat. A couple of the most memorable recollections we have about food is the size of our mom’s garden and the hours and hours we spent there weeding, watering, picking vegetables and berries, podding peas, snapping beans, etc. We spent a lot of time in that garden. Another memory of food is how we used to grind our own wheat for flour. Farming was not that lucrative back then and with 8 mouths to feed, we had to be frugal. We would spend hours grinding wheat into flour and then our mom would make the most amazing fresh bread.

3) What ingredient should we all be cooking with and why?

The ingredient we should all cook with is Camelina Oil of course! This is an oil that is rich in Omega-3 (something most of us are deficient in and must get from our food). It also has a high smoke point of 475°F so it is safe to cook with and doesn’t break down as many other oils tend to do.

4) Do you have a favourite or most-used kitchen tip you could share?

Use mason jars to shake up homemade dressings at the beginning of each week and refrigerate. They are then easily accessible throughout the remainder of your busy work week. Homemade dressings are way healthier and taste so much better than store-bought dressings. It makes all the difference in the taste of your salad.

5) Where do you shop for groceries and why?

We do a lot of our shopping at Coop as they are focused on local, fresh ingredients. We also shop at many of our local health food stores and frequent specialty retailers for those unique pantry items you just can’t find anywhere else.

6) What’s for dinner tonight?

We are having pasta tossed in a basil pesto (made with camelina oil) served with a quinoa salad dressed with Roasted Onion & Basil Camelina Oil and Nonna Pia’s Classic Balsamic Reduction.

Visit www.threefarmers.ca to learn more and download the Hiyu app to find your nearest retailer.