Country Slovenia

Tradition of Gold of pleasure ( Camelina sativa L. Crantz) growing

Domain of activity
  • Agriculture
Support of the practice documentation questionaire ,video, photos,
Place of experiment Kozji vrh nad Dravogradom ( N Slovenia, 46°37′34.55″N 15°4′55.76″E), Otiški vrh ( N Slovenia, 46°34′18.69″N 15°2′5.45″E
Description of experiment We conducted two interviews with two elderly people from two farms, where the traditional growing methods for camelina are stil used and oil preparing practiced. The first was grandmother on the farm and the other was owner of the farm who presses oil for his use and also for other farmers. Both are over 70 years old. Field production of Camelina sativa (toter or riček) is an old tradition of Koroška region (N Slovenia). It was grown predominantly on farms situated on hihger altitudes (over 700 m asl). It was a minor crop and an oil culture predominantly used to produce camelina oil (totorvo olje, ričkovo olje). In the past oil was used as a lighting oil, technical oil and oil for consumption. Over all past uses camelina oil is stil considered efficient traditional remedy for different health complaints and wound treatment. Today also food science proved its beneficial effects on human health. Traditional growing method used by people of Koroška consisted of "wide sowing" by hand, on plots free of weeds and every farmer knows where on his farm camelina grows the best. There was only one weeding and thinning of sown plants necessary. Farmers considered it as easy crop to grow in their harsh conditions. Harvest was conducted when camelina plants turned yellow and seed pods were ripe enough. Cut plants were tied in bundles and left for three days to dry on the field (some farmers didn't tie the bundles and left cut plants on ground for three days). Bundles were transported to the homestead, threshed by threshing machine and weed seeds separated by big sieves. The seeds were packed in jute sacks and stored in dry and dark place. Traditionally seed is used for oil making by "warm method" by milling the seeds and roasting them. When optimally roasted they transfer the mass into pressing device. The expressed oil was caught into vessels and left for some days to clear by sedimentation of floating small particles. Oil is then filled in glass bottles and sealed.
More information Farmers used to sell camelina oil on farm and some of it was sold to local pharmacy, where people from city could buy it. The price was all the time relatively high ("fair") comparing to other oils. Camelina oil is still on high demant driven by traditional uses as a the remedy and also with growing health consciousness which promotes the use of oils with high share of nonsaturated fatty acids, Some farmers from the lower parts of Koroška with favourable growing conditions decided to produce camelina on their fields using modern approaches in cultivation and replace growing of wheet or maize or introduce it into crop rotation.
Succes factor Cameila sativa is a crop with low demands and is uitable for short growing season in the moutainous parts of the region. Farmers knew good the caracteristics of the crop and have chosen optimal plots for its production. Both interviewees said that they know on which fields they can grow camelina and which are better for other crops. Farmers knew that the plot should be free of weeds and the best results were achieved by turning permanent grassland into a filed or in the past also by burning exploited forest plot. Tradition of use of camelina oil as a health remedy maintained interest of farmers to produce camelina sativa. Promotion od high nonsaturated fatty acids oils into healthy food consumption gave rise to new customer group of people dedicated to health conscious nutrition.
Met difficulties Green seed pods produce seeds of low oil content and of low quality. So knowing the signs of optimal ripeness is very important. Overripen seed pods could open spontaneously resulting in massive crop loss. The harvest should take place at the right time, Too long roasting can result in oil of low quality (dark and bitter). Milled seeds were mixed with little amount of water to prevent burning and the consistency of the mass was monitored by testing the mass between fingers to obtain right consistency for pressing. The oil has relatively short shelf life. Farmers solved the problem by storing seeds and making oil by demand. The seeds can be stored for two years with no deterioration of oil quality (only quantity slighty drops). Oil is filled into the bottles imedietly after sedimentation period and sealed.
Contact dr.Janko Rode
Contact email
Address Kozji vrh nad Dravogradom 5 2370 Dravograd SLOVENIA Otiški vrh 102 2370 Dravograd SLOVENIA
Town Dravograd
Author of the index card dr.Janko Rode
Author Structure Chamber of agriculture and forestry of Slovenia, Gospodinjska 6, SI-100 Ljubjana, SLOVENIJA
Author Email