Not many people realize when they come to Castle Farm, that we grow a much wider range of crops than just lavender, hops and apples. In fact, over one third of the 1,200 acres at Castle Farm grows wheat.
We sow this wheat into the fields in September or October. After this, the Autumn months have just enough warmth and sunshine for the seed to germinate and send a few roots into the soil and sprout a few leaves. However, once temperatures and daylight drops in winter, the plants hibernate for several months. So it is always pleasing to a farmer when, at this time of year, the strengthening sun and longer days simulate these plants to start taking up nutrients from the soil and growing rapidly.
There is an old adage saying, “The best fertilizer is the farmer’s boot” meaning the closer the crops are surveyed and monitored, the more they will grow and the higher they will yield! So we will frequently walk several miles around Castle Farm each week with the farm’s crops advisor (and an energetic Labrador!) to check the crop’s progress.
During Spring, the wheat crops appear as a small collection of leaves at ground level but will quickly metamorphose by thickening and lengthening the stems that will eventually become straw. The grains are currently microscopically small and packed into the base of these stems. With the right care, these grains will enlarge and travel up the center of the stems to emerge into the sunlight in June.
We will cut a fraction of the crop at this stage, when it is still green, and by carefully bunching and drying it in our specialised kilns, preserve the shape and natural green colour.
Once harvested, these bunches are then handcrafted into our popular wheat sheaves and stooks… lovely dried decorations which will last years!
Some of the crop at Castle Farm is allowed to mature and naturally turn a beautiful golden in the heat of the summer sun when we cut, bunch and dry it again for our Golden Wheat stooks and sheaves, two icons of the British harvest.
The rest of the wheat crop is harvested with our combine harvester and the grains are made into high quality bread flour. The straw is baled and used for bedding our beef cattle.
This incredible ceiling displays of our golden barley looked absolutely amazing when installed at a Whiskey launch in 2018 by All For Love London… and our bunches of dried wheat can also been seen on film sets and in editorial shoots.
Our hand-made green & golden wheat stocks, wheat sheaves and individual wheat bunches are despatched nationwide for use in floristry, interior decoration, shop windows, at events and weddings. Order with confidence – we have won five gold medals for our dried flowers and grasses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!
Each Castle Farm wheat sheaf or wheat stook is carefully hand-made before being packed up and dispatched nationwide.