It’s not just the marriage of Harry and Meghan bringing together England and the United States in a perfect union, the US has always held a special place in our hearts and the unique Black Mitcham peppermint crop growing on our Hampshire farm today owes much to our friends in the States.
In the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries, England was renowned for growing the best peppermint in the world (Menthe anglaise), but the expertise to grow it was lost during the war. Meanwhile over the pond, mentha piperita (Black Mitcham peppermint) was successfully being grown in Oregon, Montana and Washington State.
In the early 90s, Summerdown Farm Manager Ian brought back a bag of mint sweets from a trip to the States – something akin to mint humbugs, which reminded Sir Michael of a sweet called a bullseye from his childhood. This sparked Sir Michael’s passion to revive the taste and scent that had been lost for generations. Ian travelled to the US to spend time honing his mint farming skills and brought back the latest technology and distillation equipment. It then took over ten years to successfully grow and distil this rare, single estate peppermint oil.
From the inspiration from that first American sweet, we now produce over twenty products which are centred around our pure, single estate BM peppermint oil, grown and distilled on our family farm. And Americans can’t get enough of the Summerdown Mint brand. We’re stocked in a variety of stores including Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods.
And this month, Jo Colman, Grandson of our founder Sir Michael Colman has been back there, kicking up a storm sampling our chocolates in a variety of stores across Texas and in New York City, spreading the Summerdown love.
Here’s a pic of Libby sampling at a Central Market store in Texas