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Farm news

    • Castle Farm Cattle enjoying our Roundhouse

      Posted on 25th March 2018 by

      Thankfully the grass is starting to grow again in the water meadows after a very wet Winter. Hopefully the ground will dry out soon and the young cattle can enjoy some fresh grazing! In the meantime, the cattle enjoy our state of the art ‘Roundhouse’ building. We had a visiting study group from Iowa State […]

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    • We are open over Easter

      Posted on 25th March 2018 by

      COME VISIT Whether you’re out walking in the lovely Darent Valley or in need of some excellent hot cross buns we will be open: Good Friday 10am – 5pm Easter Saturday 9am – 5pm Easter Sunday 10am – 5pm Easter Monday 10am – 5pm WALK THE VALLEY  Farmer William has created […]

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    • Jobs available – The Hop Shop is hiring!

      Posted on 25th March 2018 by

      Come and work with us!  GENERAL ASSISTANT We are looking for a friendly, versatile, hands-on and energetic person to join the team here at Castle Farm as a temporary General Assistant. The role will be part time, consisting of one weekend day plus a minimum of 2-3 weekdays for the next 6 months (potentially more for […]

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    • The coffee cart is back!

      Posted on 8th December 2017 by

      ENJOY OUR CHRISTMAS COFFEE MENU!  Warm yourself while Christmas shopping down on the farm with a seasonal drink from our wonderful Coffee Cart.  Specials this Christmas, include Gingerbread or Hazelnut Lattes and Hot Chocolates with cream and marshmallows or Black Forest syrup. You must try our wonderful Winter Apple and Ginger Punch… and finish it all off […]

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    • Pumpkins for carving, cooking & decorating!

      Posted on 4th October 2017 by

      Castle Farm pumpkins

      We are THE place for Pumpkins this year! It’s been a bumper crop down on Castle Farm, so come and choose your perfect pumpkin for carving, cooking, or just making your home look pretty this Autumn! Read more about our pumpkins here.

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    • Cottage for short term let

      Posted on 27th September 2017 by

      We have a lovely Farm Cottage available for short term let over the Winter. Fully furnished and the perfect cosy home. Can be two or three bedroom (sleeps 4), with fully equipped kitchen, lovely living room, bathroom, laundry, private garden and drive, off road parking, Sky TV, WiFi… and a great little farm […]

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    • It’s Pumpkin season on Castle Farm

      Posted on 19th September 2017 by


      The Hop Shop has a wonderful selection of farm-grown pumpkins now available! Harvested from our pumpkin patch on Castle Farm, we are known for growing some well-known favourites, such as Butternut Squash and Crown Prince, but also some more unusual varieties that you won’t find in the supermarkets, such as Rolet […]

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    • Castle Farm features in Selfridges & Net-A-Porter photoshoots

      Posted on 18th September 2017 by

      Castle Farm was chosen as the location backdrop for Selfridges and NetA Porter to photoshoot their Autumn looks earlier this summer.. taking advantage of the varied landscape and fields we have in the Darenth Valley. They used the apple orchards, maize fields, harvest wheat fields, grassland and straw bales. The resulting […]

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    • Pick Your Own Apples at Castle Farm

      Posted on 22nd August 2017 by

      Due to the hot weather in the Spring – we have experienced a flush of early ripening from our apples! For the first time ever we opened our orchard gates in August, but they will continue to be open on Fridays and weekends throughout September. Bring family and friends and enjoy picking straight from […]

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    • 2018 Calendar has arrived

      Posted on 8th August 2017 by

      Our 2018 Castle Farm calendar has just landed! Filled with a collection of 12 beautiful photos from around Castle Farm and across the Darenth Valley. A year in the life of farming on our mixed arable acres in the English countryside. Wildlife photos, landscape images and of course, wonderful shots of our famous […]

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    • Lavender Harvest is now complete

      Posted on 3rd August 2017 by

      After the weather playing havoc with our harvesting schedule this July, we are very happy to say our final load of Kentish Lavender is now in from the fields, and our beautiful high-grade Lavender and Lavandin Oils have now been distilled! But – if you missed out on this year’s […]

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    • Introducing our new Coffee Cart

      Posted on 3rd July 2017 by

      Introducing… The COFFEE Cart This year we have been busy lovingly converting an old Rice Horse Box into our band new Coffee Cart! Making a special appearance over the Summer months, The Coffee Cart will be offering freshly ground barista-made Coffees and speciality Hop Shop Teas – all for Take […]

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    • Watch our Lavender Season video

      Posted on 30th June 2017 by

      Get a feel for everything that happens at The Hop Shop on Castle Farm over the Kentish Lavender season with our little video… We hope to see you soon!

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    • Today’s Lavender view!

      Posted on 23rd June 2017 by

      Kentish Lavender Farm

      The sunshine this week has really brought on the colour of our Kentish Lavender! The shop will be open all weekend as usual, but our Lavender Tours (where you can go into the fields) don’t start until next week (see dates here). Fresh lavender bunches and lavender foods all available […]

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    • Lavender Tour dates announced!

      Posted on 14th June 2017 by

      Our guided Lavender Tours start on 28th June 2017! Go behind the scenes with an expert Castle Farm guide and learn all about this versatile crop – how we grow, harvest, distill and use Kentish Lavender. For dates and booking details see here.  Our Tours are always very popular, so make sure […]

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    • Need a summer job? Barista wanted

      Posted on 30th May 2017 by

      Looking for a summer job and LOVE coffee? Something exciting is happening at The Hop Shop in the next few weeks and we are looking for someone who can confidently serve coffees and teas, plus can work weekends. To apply, please email with your details and availability. We are […]

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    • Family Business of the Year 2017!

      Posted on 23rd May 2017 by

      We are very proud to have been crowned winners of Family Business of the Year 2017 in The Times Local Newspapers Business Awards! The farm has come through several generations, and now sits with William and Caroline Alexander, who work alongside their three children including Crispin and his wife Hazel […]

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    • Rosemary Oil – helping students revise!

      Posted on 5th May 2017 by

      A little bottle of memory wonder! As reported in the news (see BBC NEWS), Rosemary is great at boosting the memory. Sniff when revising, then pop a few drops on a handkerchief and take into the exams with you! This is pure and grown in our beautiful fields. Pick up a […]

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      Posted on 19th December 2016 by

      From now until Christmas for no extra charge we will UPGRADE your delivery to a NEXT DAY service. From TEA TOWELS to TEA BAGS, from LAVENDER SHORTBREAD to LAVENDER SOAP we can package them up and either send them to you or directly to the recipient with a GIFT MESSAGE […]

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    • Stay on the farm.. One of our cottages now listed on Airbnb!

      Posted on 8th November 2016 by

      One of our lovely farm cottages is now listed on Airbnb for overnight stays! Enjoy the peacefulness of waking up looking out onto calming river views and our water meadows, in our Grade II listed cottage which sleeps 4. Complete with private lawned garden, parking for 2 cars, fully equipped kitchen, […]

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    • It’s PUMPKIN time at Castle Farm!

      Posted on 14th October 2016 by

      Our range of delicious pumpkins are now available at the shop. So many rare and wonderful varieties to choose from – plus pick up a recipe leaflet in the shop for cooking inspiration.

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      Posted on 12th September 2016 by

      We are happy to announce that our delicious Norfolk Royal Apples will be ready to eat from Friday 16th September. We are the only registered Norfolk Royal orchard in the world – so come down and try what a real apple tastes like! Norfolk Royals are beautiful, big red, sweet, […]

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    • Summer fruits galore

      Posted on 27th June 2016 by

      It may have rained rather a lot in the past few weeks, but our Kentish Summer fruits just keep on coming… flavourful Strawberries and Raspberries in the shop now. Our all time favourite Kent Cherries are due to be ready early July – keep an eye out on our Facebook […]

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    • Fresh Lavender now available!

      Posted on 27th June 2016 by

      Our beautiful big bunches of lavender – cut by hand straight from our fields are now available daily. Take home the scent of summer with your own handful of beautiful lavandula angustifolia. Just pop into a vase without water and let them air dry naturally. £3 per bunch of 4 for £10 from […]

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      Posted on 19th May 2016 by

      Join us on Saturday 28th May 10am-11.30am for a special behind the scenes Farm Walk giving insight into our Castle Farm cattle. Join Hazel as she takes you on a tour of our state-of-the-art Roundhouse cattle building, and learn how we grow the grass and maize to feed our lovely […]

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    • The Red Tractor Scheme

      Posted on 27th April 2016 by

      It has been a long time since I sat an exam but I was reminded of that pre-exam tension feeling a couple of weeks ago, when Alan came to visit the farm. Alan was a representative from the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme and had come to examine how our farm […]

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    • Congratulations to our Farmer William

      Posted on 6th April 2016 by

      Congratulations to our Farmer William who has just finished his 12 month stint as the High Sheriff of Kent. He now passes the baton to Kathrin Smallwood (in photo) who will continue the great work across our beautiful county. Over the past year, William and Caroline have worked hard to […]

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    • Start eating local honey now to help relieve hey fever in the summer!

      Posted on 19th February 2016 by

      Now is the perfect time to start eating LOCAL HONEY to suppress the symptoms of hay fever later on in the year! Here at The Hop Shop we sell Kentish Honey Royale with added pollen which is perfect for this and tastes rather delicious on your toast too! We also […]

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      Posted on 16th December 2015 by

      From now until Christmas for no extra charge we will UPGRADE your delivery to a NEXT DAY service. From TEA TOWELS to TEA BAGS, from LAVENDER SHORTBREAD to LAVENDER SOAP we can package them up and either send them to you or directly to the recipient with a GIFT MESSAGE […]

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      Posted on 8th December 2015 by

      We are delighted to congratulate our stockman David on being awarded FIRST PRIZE at the Ashford Cattle Show this Month with our beautiful Limousin x heifers! As if we need more persuasion to enjoy the homebred Castle Farm beef this Christmas! Fortunately it isn’t too late to order yours… Click here […]

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    • GIVEAWAY! Win our Luxury Sleepy Hamper worth over £60!

      Posted on 2nd December 2015 by

      To celebrate our online shopping this Christmas, we are giving you the opportunity to win the gift of sleep – with one of our Luxury Sleepy Hampers! The prize includes a hamper packed full of natural sleep and pampering gifts, including; Lavender flowers Hop flowers 100ml Kentish Lavender Bath Oil […]

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    • Latest newsletter – Christmas gifts, decoration inspiration and news

      Posted on 21st November 2015 by

      Simply click here to see our most recent newsletter – gift ideas, wreath making courses and Christmas meat ordering. Christmas 2015 Newsletter

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    • Beef, duck, turkey…… Order now for Christmas!

      Posted on 6th November 2015 by

      NOW IS THE TIME TO ORDER YOUR YUMMY CHRISTMAS MEATS! Beef, pheasants, ducks, chickens and turkeys can be pre-ordered for collection anytime. Gammons will be available from MID December. DONT MISS OUT! For more information click here!

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    • Hop Season is here!

      Posted on 10th August 2015 by

      It’s nearly hop season! Our hop garden looking lovely this morning. We used to grow for brewing, but now all our hops are grown specifically for interior decoration. Pre-order online now!

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    • Our Lavender Harvester is in full swing!

      Posted on 29th July 2015 by

      We have been busy cutting our lavender fields while the sun shines and in-between rain showers! Our distillery has been working overtime to get through the trailers of lavender, extracting the oil which will be used in aromatherapy and toiletries. The smell is incredible! Check out our Facebook, Instagram and […]

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    • A purple valley – Lavender in bloom

      Posted on 7th July 2015 by

      The Darenth Valley is looking beautiful as our lavender fields come into full flower! We have already been cutting for bunches, and now we are waiting for the flowers to be at optimum oil capacity before harvesting. Don’t miss out – come and visit before the crop is cut! You […]

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    • Fresh Lavender bunches now being cut

      Posted on 24th June 2015 by

      Our gorgeous lavenders have started to bloom, and fresh bunches are being cut daily and are available from the shop. £2.75 each or 4 for £10.00.

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    • New Season Kentish Strawberries

      Posted on 25th May 2015 by

      Now in stock! Very pleased to have the first of the Kent season strawberries now in the shop. From the same farm that supply Wimbledon Tennis! Come and pick up a punnet.

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    • Kentish Asparagus now in stock

      Posted on 17th May 2015 by

      We now have plenty of delicious local asparagus now in The Hop Shop! Grown locally at a farm down the road, asparagus is a great addition to your Spring Summer dishes. For the best results, wash the stems thoroughly in a sink full of cold water. Then trim the stalks […]

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    • FARMING NOTES: January 2015

      Posted on 30th January 2015 by

      Every month, Farmer William writes a feature for the Shoreham Gazette on what has been happening around the farm and in the world of agriculture; here’s his notes from January 2015. A Letter from (Outback) Australia….. I have great respect for the fencing skills of Australian stock farmers. Their fences […]

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