We’d be lost without mint. It forms the refreshing core of our mints and gum and we’re proud to say ours is grown here in the UK on a sustainable farm in Hampshire. Mint harvesting is not a topic that’s very well known so we thought we’d shed some light on it. Who knows, it might come in handy for your next pub quiz.
What’s in a name
Our mint farmer Ian is one of the few who has reintroduced a traditional English variety of peppermint onto his farm, called Black Mitcham. This is the mint we use for our mints and gum. It is unique in its dark purple colour when it’s growing, and has a characteristically strong flavour compared to white varieties.
Image credit: Farming UK
Field to oil
The crop is left to grow until late July/early August, when it is mowed down, left to wilt and then chopped and hoovered up with the harvester. The oil is then separated from the crop using something similar to a giant kettle. This breaks down the oil capsules in the leaf, leaving us with world class English peppermint oil.
Maturing the mint
Much like a fine wine, Ian believes it is really important to let the mint oil mature a little, so he puts it into drums and to let it mellow. This is what makes our peppermint flavour really stand out.
And what happens to the mulchy remnants of the mint leaves after the oil is extracted? No waste here. The mint mulch is taken back out to the fields to be spread over the newly planted crops. When winter arrives the minty compost provides nutrients and a blanket for the new season peppermint.
So, that’s how the mint oil for our Peppersmith mints and gum is made. Great tasting, English and sustainable. If you’d like to learn more and hear from our farmer Ian, have a watch of our video here.