Preempting the boom of organic farming that swept through the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, Carole Bamford began converting her family’s properties in Gloucestershire to self sustaining farmland. A decade later, she opened Daylesford Organic farmshop, a destination that encapsulated her passion for seasonal, fresh produce. Daylesford, situated a few minutes outside of Kingham Village, allows its visitors to experience Oxfordshire’s bucolic countryside and to observe how proceedings on a modern, organic farm are conducted.
We arrived in Kingham on a brisk March morning, as the last vestiges of winter lent a chill to the air and light frost to the surrounding fields. The village sits on Oxfordshire’s western border, in the heart of the Evonlode Valley, a place of thick hedgerows and thatch cottages, where the smell of woodsmoke catches your sense. Our first port of call was Daylesford’s sister property, the Wild Rabbit. Formerly a country pub, the residence, with its log fires, copper saucepans and oak doors captures the atmosphere of Jane Austen’s England whilst retaining the pared back minimalism of a modern boutique hotel. The building’s interiors display exposed brick walls, ikebana inspired flower arrangements and unadorned light fixtures which all contribute to a feeling of harmonious simplicity.
Having dropped off our bags we drove through wooded meadows to Daylesford where we enjoyed a breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs and a tour of the creamery. There, John the cheesemaker showed us how the farm’s single Gloucester cheese is produced, explaining that rather than using complicated techniques, he relied on the farm’s pure milk to account for the cheese’s unique flavour. We spent the remainder of the day wandering the vast grounds of the estate and the market garden, where an array of cauliflowers, leeks and purple sprouting broccoli were beginning to push through the hard soil, before returning to the Wild Rabbit for a late supper and pint of local ale.