Makers of luxury skin care creams & balms high in the hills of Wales
The story of FARMERS’ and Wales’ first lavender farm begins in 2003 with the Oxford philosopher, Bill Newton-Smith, and international journalist Nancy Durham, wondering how their sheep farm might be put to new use under the blustery, grey skies of Wales. One fine spring evening in Wales, Nancy thought of the lavender hedge in their Oxford garden and wondered if she might be able to grow one on the farm. Never mind the hedge, by September that year an entire field of lavender had been planted. This is how the philosopher and the journalist became farmers, distillers of lavender oil and creators of lavender gifts.
Under the grey skies of Mynydd Epynt Nancy and Bill grow their Welsh Lavender with rows upon rows of luscious purple flowers stretching across field after field breaking up the more typical scenery of open farmland grazed by welsh mountain sheep. Farming lavender certainly isn't a typical past time in the Cambrian Mountains and making it work at 1100ft, open to the often unfavourable elements, seems tough but the end result come the autumn is wonderfully fragrant lavender oil that is the secret to so many of their products.
The oil is sent to the incomparable Helen Lowe, who designs FARMERS’ unique formulae in her north Wales studio. Helen makes creams in small batches with fresh, natural ingredients and never animal testing. All FARMERS’ products with the exception of the balms, which contain honey, are vegan.
FARMERS’ also make a perky scented line – without lavender – aiming to stimulate the senses, revive and reinvigorate. Oils of rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus are uplifting and energising.
The FARMERS’ name sprang from an encounter Nancy had in 2012 when she was invited to address the Wye Valley Grasslands Association on the topic of growing lavender on a hill farm. “I would be facing that species of rugged men and a few women who toil from dawn to dusk, no matter the weather tending their sheep: The Welsh Hill Farmer. I was quite nervous so I brought along my props: jars of body creams we were experimenting with at the time. It was ladies night and I thought they might like to try them. To my astonishment, so did the men. They plunged their hands into the pots of cream with gusto. Afterwards they told me about the toll work and weather took on their skin. One farmer held up his hands after slathering on our body cream and said ‘look, now they don’t smell like silage!’ It was a cold wet January night and as I drove home along our narrow track high up into the hills I thought of the name FARMERS’ HAND CREAM. We had it in a jar by June that year.”