So much has been written lately about the wide-ranging health benefits of coconut oil. So we’ve sourced a top-quality oil that we reckon is head-and-shoulders better than anything else around – imported from Sri Lanka to Lymington by Harry Woodington. Here Harry describes how a uni trip led to a whole career change…
I had just come back from a 10-day holiday in Sri Lanka, visiting a Sri Lankan friend who I met while at university and was working on a placement year in Sri Lanka. During my visit I found out the locals had many uses for different elements of the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), a member of the palm tree family:
- Shells are used for everything from making bowls for serving rice to making charcoal.
- Palm leaves are used to serve food on, thatched into coconut frond roofs and used to get trucks and cars unstuck on the muddy tracks.
- The flesh/meat is made into milk to make curries, desiccated coconut in desserts, oil to fry vegetables and even fermented to make alcoholic drinks and vinegar.
- Coir is especially good for growing plants in due to its ability to hold moisture – helpful in the extreme summer heat.
While most of the uses would not make sense in the west, I could not help thinking about how much we are missing out on high-quality coconut fruit derivatives.
How are The Coconut Experience products different?
- We have a direct relationship with the coconut farm
Once I was set on the idea of importing high-quality coconut products, the first thing I did was a thorough investigation of all the Sri Lankan coconut product producers, exploring:
- Production methods
- Willingness to work with us
My Sri Lankan friend then followed up by visiting the farms and meeting the people who work there.
We have continued to keep in contact with our supplier ever since our initial shipment and the ability to have my friend pick up the phone and speak in Sinhalese (one of the native languages of Sri Lanka) has been priceless.
- We source from a coconut farm
Why did we choose a coconut farm? The coconuts are picked from the trees and only processed when they are matured. In a lot of other countries coconuts are picked by people trying to scrape together money:
- They pick fallen coconuts and fill up their bags over time. No one knows how long the coconuts have been on the ground, or sitting in a bag.
- Local mills go around and collect them in exchange for little money.
- Coconut mill process the coconuts.
Our method ensures that a consistent, high-quality finished product reaches you every time.
- The range is produced in the most natural way possible
We did a lot of research into the production methods used to make each product:
Oil – is cold-pressed, using a similar machine to masticating juicers, which are well-known for their ability to extract the most juice, while not affecting the finished product.
Butter – is produced by grinding raw matured coconut flesh, giving it all the benefits of the oil, while maintaining some of the sugars and fibre from the raw coconut.
Milk – shredded coconut is soaked in water and filtered. Our coconut oil is 22% fat, making it the thickest and creamiest. Our coconut milk has no unnatural binders (such as xanthan gum), just a small amount 0.02% of natural organic guar bean gum, picked from the nearby trees in the rainforest.
As far as we are aware, our coconut milk is the only one on the market like this.
Coconut chips – are made by hand shaving the coconut kernel and passing them over a short-headed conveyor belt, similar to how they dry tea leaves.
- 100% organic and good quality
All of our coconut products are 100% organic. Our supplier has a long list of certification from ISO 22000 Food Safety Management, to BRC Food, Kosher and GMP. Furthermore, The Coconut Experience is organically certified by Organic Farmers and Growers, completing the chain of organic custody.
What does this mean for you? Unlike a lot of the rebranded and labelled goods, coming in from Thailand, the Philippines and India, we have taken another extra step to make sure you are getting what is being advertised to you. A true 100% organic product, produced using the best production methods, to retain as many of the health benefits as possible.
- Production method transparency
In our opinion we feel that the lack of transparency in the coconut product industry is what confuses us and our potential customers. How are we supposed to choose the best product when no one is even explaining how their product is made?
We hope to remedy this by providing you with:
- Information on the production process – my friend is returning to Sri Lanka on holiday in the next month to take pictures of the full production process of each and every product we offer and possibly even some extra ones we might be adding.
- Product descriptions – the exact details of milk to water content, breakdown of all the fatty acids in our oil and even the oil content in our chips can be found on our website.
Harry Woodington, The Coconut Experience
The Coconut Experience Oil, £7.99 for 250ml, is now on sale at The Hub