Back to our Roots

This Ribston Pippin (apple) tree may not look too impressive now but it will develop into a fruit-bearing beauty over time. It’s one of many historic varieties we’re establishing here at Foxbury Farm.

Sign of the Times

From the archive… this image shows the Mitchells’ fruit and veg stall in Covent Garden, London, circa 1968. The family name is visible on the sign above the porter’s booth.

New Beginnings

Last week we planted our newest lavender plantation – 90,000 ambitious little bushes no taller than a finger in height. They are of the Mailette variety (lavandula angustifolia, or ‘true lavender’) and will provide us with an annual bounty of pure, sweet-smelling essential oil for many years to come.

Morning Mist at Foxbury Farm

This moody shot was taken just after dawn yesterday, as we prepared the ground for a new lavender plantation at Foxbury Farm. The landscape may look somewhat monochrome, but come in summers to come it will be filled with scent and colour. Ninety thousand baby lavender plants will be bedded in here over the next few days.

Cobnut Harvest

Our cobnuts, whose ground shell is the secret ingredient of our new Kentish Cobnut Scrub, are now being harvested. There are several plantations (or ‘plats’) on the estate, some dating back over 50 years. The Kentish Cobnut, a cultivated form of wild hazlenut, is unique to our locality. The shell makes a particularly fine exfoliant, and the nuts themselves make the most delicious seasonal snack. Watch our for a cobnut serving suggestion from Xanthe Clay  in the next Foxbury Gazette and, to learn more about this singular nut, you can visit the website of the Kentish Cobnut Association.

Harvest Update

This weekend’s harvest was unexpectedly bountiful. In spite of variable conditions throughout the spring, our precious true lavender (lavandula angustifolia, seen above) has produced our second-highest essential oil yield ever. The oils will now be ‘dried’ and aged, before being blended by our perfumer with other fine natural essences and used in Mitchell and Peach products.

Fashion on the Farm

For our recent shoot we collaborated with Jaeger, the luxury British fashion house. In this image, Chloe Mitchell wears a ‘Houndstooth Print’ dress from its summer collection. Like Mitchell and Peach, Jaeger has a distinguished heritage and a meticulous eye for quality and detail.

The shoot, images from which will be released this autumn, marks the fact that Mitchell and Peach formulas now include pure honey gathered from hives on the Mitchell estate. The images were taken by Mark Harrison, an award-winning photographer whose subjects have included former US President Bill Clinton and actors John Hurt and Natascha McElhone. www.jaeger.co.uk; www.markharrisonphotography.com

Harvest Results – 2010

Harvest is complete and the results are spectacular. Thanks to a hot, sunny June, our fine lavender yielded 30% more essential oil than last year – a result to exceed our most optimistic predictions. The oil will now be ‘dried’ to remove water and impurities. It will then be matured for at least nine months (to achieve a fully rounded aroma). Only then will it be ready to be hand-blended by our perfumer with other fine essences and used in the Mitchell and Peach range.

Harvest Update – July 2010

Fragrance testJune’s glorious heat and sunshine has brought the lavender crop on apace, making up for the cool Spring. As usual, the ‘Maillette’ (the finest lavender – that we use in the Mitchell and Peach range) is flowering first; the ‘Grosso’ is following close behind. In this photograph, Ian Mitchell is testing the aroma of the fresh florets. We think this year’s harvest – which takes place late-July – could result in our most productive harvest yet. Watch this space…

Centenary Party

In May the Mitchells celebrated 100 years of farming at Foxbury Farm in Kent, England. The event, in the shade of Foxbury’s magnificent six-roundel oast house (seen below in 1910, and still part of the estate) included an exhibition of family archives, a traditional hog roast and swarms of children gleefully ‘driving’ antique tractors. Learn more about our heritage here.