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    Produced at Castle Farm

    Proud to be diverse

    Lovingly and professionally grown, reared, nurtured, tended and harvested in a way that only a family farm knows best.

    Castle Farm Beef

    Reared to high welfare standards and air-dried for 3 weeks, ensuring superb quality and taste.

    Castle Farm has a herd of about 240 cattle made up of native European breeds including Aberdeen Angus, Devon, Sussex, Limousin, Charolais and Simmental. The calves are from small herds born near the Kent and Sussex marshes. Then, from the age of six months, they are reared on the lush meadows or steep grasslands of our beautiful Darenth Valley. In winter they enjoy the comfort of our purpose-built ‘Roundhouse’ – the ultimate in cattle luxury, designed to the highest standards of animal welfare.

    Our livestock manager, David, knows each animal individually and ensures that the cattle are always healthy and content. Each animal is selected when in its prime and the meat is hung for three weeks to mature and develop its full flavour.

    How to buy

    Castle Farm Beef is conveniently vacuum-packed as roasting joints, steaks, braising or mince and sold frozen from the shop, alongside delicious meat pies. Special cuts, such as ribs of beef, rolled sirloins, t-bone steaks or whole fillets, or fresh Beef can be pre-ordered by phone. Because the beef is hung, air-dried for three weeks and then vacuum packed, there is no deterioration in quality from freezing.

    For Christmas, you can start placing orders as soon as you want, but it is really helpful if customers can give us at least 3 – 4 weeks notice to ensure we can plan efficiently to set aside exactly what everyone needs. Many families rely on us for their most important meal of the year – so we take our responsibilities very seriously! Castle Farm Beef is Red Tractor Food approved – traceable, safe and farmed with care.

    Castle Farm Hops

    Traditionally, garlands of hops were hung afresh every year – for good luck – in the pubs and farmhouses of the hop-growing areas of the UK (Kent, Herefordshire and Worcestershire) but few people outside of these areas appreciated the decorative potential of a full-flowered hop bine until The Hop Shop started, in 1986, growing and marketing them nationwide specifically for interior use.

    To achieve top decorative quality, our hops are grown at extra-wide spacing to encourage flowering along the full length of the bine. This means that they are bigger, fuller bines and more consistent in their flowering than hops produced from closely-spaced brewing hops which are always competing for sunlight.

    The fully-grown bines are harvested from mid-August to mid-September when they are in their prime and have their freshest green colour. They are either sold as fresh-cut bines for immediate decorative use or dried in the dark in temperature- and humidity-controlled sheds to hold their colour. They are then boxed and stored in insulated, dehumidified stores for sale throughout the year. The decorative bines are approximately 3m (10ft) in length.

    Hops are hardy plants and relatively easy to look after. They flourish in rich, moist, well-aerated soil and do not need much space to grow, especially if you are growing the dwarf varieties, like the prima donna. They grow happily in many parts of the UK if given good soil and protection from strong winds. The flowers develop in August and mature in early September. Being perennials, the stems need to be cut back to ground level in the Autumn and the plant will lie dormant until the Spring. Potted hop plants, complete with a screw peg, string and growing instructions, can be purchased direct from the farm shop from December until April.

    ALL OUR PLANTS ARE CERTIFIED DISEASE-FREE – an important consideration when buying hops which can be susceptible to soil-borne viruses.

    Castle Farm Apples and Apple Juice

    We grow the specialist apple variety – the Norfolk Royal – which is a wonderful sweet, big red eating apple and you can let the whole family join in at our Pick Your Own apple orchard in Kent. The apples are usually ready for PYO from September, but cropping is weather dependent.

    You will also find our Cox apples, local Bramleys, pears, corn on the cob and the Kent Cob hazel nuts – a seasonal speciality. Sign up to our e-newsletter and social media to be kept informed of orchard opening dates and times.

    Visiting Castle Farm’s Pick Your Own Orchard during the Autumn months is a great day out for the whole family. Only 50 minutes’ drive from London, our apple picking farm in Kent welcomes guests to our pretty little orchard with some of the freshest, sweetest and juiciest apples, not found elsewhere. We also have selected seasonal fruits and vegetables ready to purchase from our Farm Shop. We hope you can visit us soon!

    Our Varieties

    Norfolk Royal Apples
    Few people have heard of the Norfolk Royal apple and indeed, as far as we know, Castle Farm is the only commercial grower of this rare and beautiful variety. (It is one of the few apple trees that will grow happily on the chalky soils of the North Downs.) Ripening in early September, the apple is a distinctive bright red and develops a natural waxy skin as it matures. Sweet, juicy and full of flavour, it is best eaten fresh from the tree (or as early in the season as possible). When cooked is has a soft consistency like Bramleys – but much, much sweeter.We supply a few boxes of apples to markets around the country in September, but it’s not the sort of apple that you will find in a supermarket because it bruises easily and won’t withstand rough handling.

    Cox Apples
    For keeping and storing, you need to buy our traditional Cox apples which are grown on alternate rows in the same orchard. Small and flavoursome, they are ideal for lunchboxes or as children’s snacks.

    Our Apple Juice
    Castle Farm’s unique apple juice balances the sweet taste of our lovely Norfolk Royals with the fresh sharpness of Kentish Bramleys to produce a refreshing drink, especially good when chilled. It tastes like Apple Juice should taste! Refreshing and full of flavour. Available only from The Hop Shop and a few selected retailers.

    Pumpkins and Squashes

    At Castle Farm, we have a beautiful pumpkin patch where we grow a variety of Pumpkins and Squashes.

    We cut all the pumpkins by hand, and bring them outside the shop for you to be able to choose your perfect pumpkin for cooking, or just for decoration. The kids love being able to pick and choose from the big trailer-loads!

    Our home-grown pumpkins come in a range of shapes and sizes from the tasty little ‘rolet’ that can be baked whole, to the versatile butternut squash, the smooth grey-skinned ‘Crown Prince’, the stripey ‘Harlequin’, mini little ‘Gold Dust’ and the traditional orange Hallowe’en varieties for carving.

    Seasonal availability: September to November/December depending on variety.

    Come and visit us! The Hop Shop is open seven days a week throughout the year. Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.

    To store: Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 month.

    Castle Farm Lavender

    Lavender

    We are proud of the beautiful fragrance and consistent high quality of the Lavender and Lavandin oils which we grow and distill on our family farm near Sevenoaks. The pure essential oils are used in our own range of toiletries (soaps, hand creams etc), natural sleep products, candles, massage oils and food essences. They are also sold to fragrance houses for a host of other uses from everyday household products to exclusive perfumes.

    During the summer months, we harvest bunches of lavender by hand every year, to sell fresh during the season, and also to air dry for sale throughout the year. These bunches are used for interior decoration at home or for weddings and events.

    Lavender through History

    Lavender originates from Mediterranean regions. The name comes from the Latin lavare – to wash (which is also the origin of the word ‘laundry’) and is indicative of its use in Roman times as a fragrance and insect repellent. The oil has also been prized for centuries for its antiseptic and healing properties. English lavender has always been recognised for its fine quality and in medieval times it was a favoured strewing herb for scattering on the floors of houses to mask other, less fragrant aromas!

    LAVENDER or LAVANDIN. Which to use?

    We take special care to distinguish between Lavender and Lavandin in our products because they have distinctly different characteristics and uses – which are important to know when you are buying or using them.

    LAVENDER

     

    – Relaxing – Soothing – Sleep-inducing

    Extracted from Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’, our pure Kentish Lavender Oil is valued for its medicinal and soothing attributes as well as its fine fragrance. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, can act as a mild anaesthetic and has traditionally been associated with remedies for soothing headaches and tension and reducing stress. It is in high demand for use in aromatherapy, perfumery, skincare products and pharmaceuticals.

    • Relax with a few drops in the bath or on a pillow.
    • Massage gently into the forehead to help soothe headaches and reduce travel sickness.
    • Use (with a base oil) in aromatherapy massages to help relieve muscular tension and painful joints or to induce relaxation.
    • Massages with lavender oil can be especially helpful to both patients and carers in cases of illness or dementia.
    • Put in an oil burner to purify the air – the volatile oils are highly effective at controlling airborne bacteria.
    • Ideal for sleep pillows and for culinary use and calming herbal teas

    LAVANDIN

     

    – Envigorating – Penetrating – Energising

    Extracted from Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’, a high-yielding variety, Kentish Lavandin Oil has a different chemical profile with about 10–12% camphor. This gives it a powerful uplifting scent so it can therefore act as a mild stimulant. Therapeutically it can be an aid to breathing – helping to clear a blocked nose – and the camphor also makes it an effective moth and mosquito repellent. Its uses are therefore in outdoor candles, general household products, hand-soaps, room and linen sprays, and therapies for easing breathing or tired, aching muscles. It is NOT appropriate for a relaxing bedtime bath!

    • Inhale a few drops on a handkerchief to help clear a stuffy nose, dispel sleepiness or aid concentration.
    • Massage (with a base oil) into aching, tired muscles.
    • Add to washing powder to scent clothes or bed linen and to help repel moths.
    • Deter flies by painting around the edge of window glass.
    • Rub into wrists and ankles as a mosquito repellent.
    • Add to candles at summer barbecues.

    A Natural Sleep Range

    Restful sleep is critical to your health,
    mind, well-being & mood.

    The hop is a member of the Cannabaceae family, traditionally used for relaxation and to treat insomnia. And we aren’t just talking about having a beer to send you to sleep! Read old books on herbal remedies and you will always find reference to both hops and lavender being good for sleep – and for many years customers have been asking us for hop flowers to make sleep pillows and lavender oils to aid relaxation.

    At Castle Farm, it was therefore obvious to use our Kentish grown hops and lavender to develop an exclusive range of natural sleep aids – and they have proved incredibly popular with our customers, with many repeat orders and personal recommendations.

    This is a subtle and totally calming scent using 4 essential oils. It is very concentrated so you only need a few drops on a handkerchief next to your pillow at night. Keep it on a bedside table and take it with you when travelling (especially on overnight flights). All-natural Sleepy Scent is a great alternative to sleeping pills. It acknowledges folk-lore and herbal traditions dating back for centuries which advocate the use of hop pillows to cure insomnia, but also leans on more recent scientific evidence which has proved that lavender calms the nervous system, thus reducing stress, inducing relaxation and improving sleep quality. In particular, feedback from Sleepy Scent users seems to suggest that it increases the speed of going to sleep and encourages deeper, longer periods of sleep in people suffering from sleep disorders.