Hautes-Pyrénées: Olisol, homemade sunflower oil, from field to bottle in Auriebat
Lilian and Amélie Olibère have just launched their first production of sunflower oil, directly from their fields. Plant more resistant to lack of water and therefore transformable locally.
Olisol, contraction of Olibère and sunflower. But Oli also likes oil in Gascon. “We were predestined to enter sunflower oil”, smiles Amélie, who then took the plunge, with her husband Lilian. Where her parents once raised cattle, this cereal farmer has paved the way for new produce, straight from the fields surrounding the house. “We have been thinking about using this oleic variety of sunflower for some time to make our oil and make the most of this production”.
In addition, the couple was nourished by lived experiences, and in particular that of Sylvain, Amélie’s brother, who had produced his own oil to launch Bigorre chips. Until then, the thirty tons of sunflower produced on the fifteen dedicated hectares were sold to cereal traders. “Without really knowing what was going to happen. We found the idea extremely interesting, but it took some time. A few months ago, we thought it was time to give it a try. We see that direct selling works well and people are very requests from the local producers, with the concern of knowing where what they put on the plate comes from”.
Cold pressing makes all the difference
Storage cell, press, bottling machine, labeling machine, the spouses equipped themselves also relying on Lilian’s manual agility. After the training, the two set out to process part of the latest sunflower crop, with the help of the children. “We needed some adjustments at the beginning, but everything is fine. The oil settles well before being filtered. We are on a cold pressure system. This makes the difference with industrial oils. We really feel the taste of the sunflower”.
Several hundred bottles were produced for this first cuvée. They will be distributed on the markets by Sylvain Andrieux, but also marketed in points of sale dedicated to local products. If Amélie and Lilian do not rule out diversifying production with rapeseed oil, the couple is already awaiting the first feedback from consumers. At the same time, they try to promote the sunflower cake that remains after pressing to local farmers. Depending on the success of this commercialisation, Amélie and Lilian may prioritize sunflower production on their plots. “It’s a hardy plant that needs less water and grows more easily in difficult terrain. Where you can’t water it, it’s a plant that will do just fine.” To germinate an entire local ecosystem…