As I was driving to Cromarty on the part of Scotland’s north coast known as the Black Isle, I kept seeing these bright patches of yellow fields on the hillsides. It was far more compact and brighter than the golden weeds I had seen elsewhere. It was as if square acres of land suddenly turned bright yellow.
Outside of Cromarty, I found two fields by the road and got a closer look. This must have been the inspiration for Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” I thought.
|A field of this vivid yellow flower against the blue of the Cromarty Bay.|
The kindly docent at the Hugh Miller House in Cromarty told me the flower is called rapeseed.
“Quite unfortunately named,” she added.
It’s used to make cooking oil. “It’s supposed to be healthier than even olive oil,” she said. “At least, that’s what they say.”
I didn’t ask who “they” were.
But I did look it up, and according to the Scottish Rapeseed Oil industry group, the plant comes from the same family as broccoli and is "ideal for roasting, frying, baking and drizzling" and has "less unhealthy saturated fats than other cooking oils."
|It sure doesn't look like broccoli, but apparently it's related.|
And, based on the number of these brilliant yellow fields I saw, and this coverage of new crushing/processing plants opening up, it seems that business is booming.