This August we paid a visit to the farm in Hampshire where all our peppermint and spearmint is grown. It’s the first time that most of the current team had been there, so we were super excited to see the origins of our mint. Ian the farmer showed us round and talked us through the whole process from growing the mint to maturing the oil ready for our mints and gum.
Here are our top five favourite things we learnt on our visit….
A giant kettle is used to distill our mint oil
After the mint is collected from the fields it gets taken to the distillery where a giant steam kettle is used to extract the oil from the mint leaves. The huge kettle produces steam which is pumped through the leaves to separate the oil from the plant.
There were bees. Lots of bees
Ian took us down to the fields where our Black Mitcham Peppermint is grown. Not only did the fields smell amazing, but we also noticed that there were so many bees buzzing in and around the fields and hedgerows. It was great to know that farming the mint isn’t stopping the wildlife from prospering around the farm.
The pure mint oil is really strong
The pure Peppermint oil smelled really really strong. So strong in fact that our supply chain manager Greg has cleared his sinuses for a whole year. Because of the amazing strength of the oil we only have to use a tiny bit in each mint and piece of gum.
The oil gets matured for two years
In the distillery we got to compare the aromas of the fresh oil and the mature oil. The oil which had been left to sit for two years after the distilling process smelled even more amazing than the fresh oil. The difference was incredible.
The sustainability of our mint
After the harvest and distilling process, the mulchy remnants of the mint is spread back over the newly planted crops for the next year. We were really happy to learn that there is almost no waste when our mint oil is produced.
As you can see from this photo we all thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the farm. Just look how happy we look.