Bringing mint home

The Americans admired Black Mitcham mint so much that they brought it over from England in the 1930s. A research programme at the University of Oregon improved its resistance to disease, fungus and drought and its oil was soon recognised as the gold standard.

When Summerdown decided to bring Black Mitcham home, we started small, with a plot the size of a tennis court. It is a notoriously difficult crop to grow, sensitive to nuances in soil, weather and temperature, so we looked for expert help – and found it in America.

For four years, we picked the brains of farmers and academics in Montana, Oregon and Washington, where Black Mitcham is produced on an industrial scale.

Our plot gradually expanded as our knowledge grew. Today, a thriving mint crop covers 80 acres of land.