The Hop Shop is based on our family farm, Castle Farm, near the pretty village of Shoreham in North Kent.
The Alexander Family have been farming in the Darent Valley since 1892 when James Alexander brought down 17 milking cows on the train from Ayrshire in Scotland.
Today, the farm is managed by William and Caroline Alexander, with involvement from each of their children, Lorna, Thomas and Crispin, and supported by the hard-working Castle Farm team.
Through the years a large variety of crops have been grown on this land including; the Savoy Cabbage, Plums, Lucerne, Parsnips, Marrows, Potatoes and of course, Apples and Hops, which we still grow today!
Hops have been grown on Castle Farm for over 400 years!
The Hop Shop was founded in 1985 when Caroline and William recognized the demand for Hops as interior decoration – not just for beer. By 1990, The Hop Shop was a major producer of dried flowers, growing over 70 different flowers and won many awards, including 5 consecutive Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The horticultural expertise in growing flowers is still evident today.. in the miles of Lavender rows you can now see in the fields!
This award-winning farm shop has developed on from selling just dried flowers and floral decorations, and now also sells the farm’s own beef, apples, pumpkins, apple juice, hops, dried flowers, Kentish Lavender and honey, along with carefully selected gifts, cards, crafts, seasonal decorations, food hampers and local, traceable produce (such as asparagus, strawberries, cherries and raspberries).
We are the largest producers of Lavender in the UK, with a specialised distillery on site, allowing us to extract the precious essential oils within hours of the crop being harvested.
Our traditional hop gardens have been customised to allow us to grow Hop Bines best suited for interior decoration, with wide rows allowing more sunlight and even flower growth.
Growing both relaxing Lavender and soporific Hops, it made sense for us to combine these two calming elements to develop our Natural Sleep range, which has proved incredibly popular in helping people active a deeper sleep.
The farm has a strong conservation policy to protect its wildlife and landscape and has an ever-growing reputation for its high ethical and environmental standards.
Castle Farm features regularly on radio and television and in many home, lifestyle and food magazines and the farm setting has been used as a location for advertising and TV filming.