By: Sarah    Date: 06/22/16


By: Sarah Date: 06/22/16 Category: News

The story of FARMERS' and Wales' first lavender farm begins in 2003 with the Oxford philosopher, Bill Newton-Smith, and international journalist Nancy Durham, wondering how their sheep farm might be put to new use under the blustery, grey skies of Wales. At the time they spent weekdays living in 16th century Holywell Manor in Oxford, the perk that went with Bill's position as head of Balliol College's graduate student centre. One fine spring evening in Wales Nancy thought of the lavender hedge outside their window in Oxford and wondered if she might be able to grow one on the farm. She did a little research. Never mind the hedge, by September that year an entire field of lavender had been planted. This is how the philosopher and the journalist became farmers and distillers of lavender oil.

The idea of FARMERS' products sprang from an encounter Nancy had years later in 2012 when she was invited to address the Wye Valley Grasslands Association on the topic of growing lavender on a hill farm. "I would be facing that species of rugged men and a few women who toil from dawn to dusk, no matter the weather tending their sheep: The Welsh Hill Farmer. I was quite nervous so I brought along my props, jars of body creams that we were experimenting with at the time. It was ladies night and I thought they might like to try them. To my astonishment, so did the men. They plunged their hands into the pots of cream with gusto. Afterwards the men told me about the challenges of working in all weather. One of them held up his hands after slathering on the body cream and said 'look now they don't smell like silage!' It was a cold wet January night and as I drove home along our narrow track high up into the hills I thought of the name FARMERS' HAND CREAM. That's how the idea was born."

The product was launched in June 2012. Now foot cream, balms, scrub, body lotion and all over wash are in the FARMERS' family, all of which are available at the Farm Shop. Nancy and Bill distil their lavender oil on the farm then send it to north Wales where Helen Lowe designs and makes the creams. Helen dispatches the creams in big blue drums to the lavender farm to be bottled, labelled and sent on to small, independent shops across the UK and beyond.