25 years of distilling peppermint oil

We're celebrating 25 years of distilling our pure, single-estate Black Mitcham peppermint oil, the star ingredient that makes all our award-winning chocolates, teas and treats so special. Back in 1995, founder Sir Michael Colman travelled to America in search of Black Mitcham peppermint – an extraordinary plant prized for its pure bright, character. Once native to England, it is a taste that that had been all but lost to our shores. Notoriously tricky to grow, Sir Michael decided he’d take a few cuttings back home and have a go at cultivating them in the kitchen garden, with the help of farm manager Ian Margetts. After months of research, advice and a good bit of patience, they started by planting a plot the size of a tennis court. Over time, those peppermint plants slowly started to establish themselves in the soil at Summerdown. 25 years later, that plot of Black Mitcham peppermint spans around 100 acres on our farm in the foothills of the North Hampshire downs. Every year a small, dedicated and passionate farm team looks after this prized peppermint, tends it and hopes for just the right amount of rain and sunshine, so that in August, the mint can be harvested. It then goes into the purpose built, on site distillery where it’s transformed into single-estate peppermint oil by Farm Manager Ian, before being aged for two years to further develop the flavour. Summerdown is celebrating by introducing a limited edition ‘bestseller’ product bundle for £25 and have teamed up in a giveaway with charity partner FCN (The Farming Community Network) who are also marking their 25th birthday.
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