Humble Beginnings Yield Success: Local Business Seed Oil Company Puts the Rogue Valley on the Map
An innocent mention of the health benefits of pumpkin seed oil by Dr. Oz on his TV show in 2013 led local Seed Oil Company’s owner Lisa Doyle to believe a mistake had been made.
“I thought something was wrong with our email or someone was playing a trick on us; we were getting hundreds of orders per day,” recalls Doyle.
Since their inception in 2009, the family-owned and run SOC had done good business at local farmer’s markets and stores, but after that nationally televised endorsement of their product, they upped production and distribution significantly. Dr. Oz highlighted the sleep aid and protein benefits of pumpkin seed oil, and SOC’s other main oil, Camelina, does pretty well for itself with up to 45 percent omega-3 fatty acids and up to 32 percent protein, along with a healthy 110mg per 100g of Vitamin E, according to Wikipedia.
SOC originally started their business by researching biodiesel, but when they learned of all the health benefits and they tasted it, their business model switched gears.
“My dad had prostate cancer, and not only did we find that it was a great anti-inflammatory and excellent for prostate health, but we tasted it and found that this stuff is delicious,” Doyle says.
Hungry for a taste? In addition to their oils, butter and powder at local farmer’s markets and stores, Doyle says that Chef Alex at Taprock Restaurant in Grants Pass is using their products on the lunch menu, namely the Mahi Grilled Sandwich and the Turkey Burger.
Now, in addition to filling nation-wide online orders and keeping the community stocked with pumpkin seed and camelina oils, along with their line of pet and skin-care products, the still family-owned and run business has branched out a bit more. This past year, they have also opened a medical marijuana dispensary, Nature Scripts in Murphy, where they, of course, sell pumpkin seed oil infused with cannabis, along with the standard cannabis fare.
“We decided to diversify,” says Doyle. “Growing pumpkins, you never know; you can get a bad crop. Oils help the cannabis absorb and metabolize better in your system. Most of the people who take the infused cannabis are elderly. Our goal is to keep it about the medicinal use and help people find alternatives to prescription medication.”
Even with the recent allowance for recreational purchase at dispensaries, she says that they end up talking about the medical benefits the majority of the time.
“Fifty to seventy-five percent of the people on the recreational side are asking about the medical benefits, and we end up counseling people in recreational about health issues,” she says.