As you drive up the long road to Daylesford Farm you see a striking building that combines honey hued stone and an airy expanse of glass, framed with Farrow and Ball green. There is a sense of lightness about the place and a serenity that envelops the whole estate. Based in the Cotswolds, it’s known as one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK and has been owned by the Bamford family for the last 40 years. While the farm itself is located in the village of Daylesford, they also have a number of delis and cafes dotted around London.
There’s a cafe and restaurant – all the food is seasonal and grown on the farm. The food served in the cafe is both healthy and delicious. The Daylesford farm shop was created from an old barn, with high ceilings, handsome roof beams and huge open spaces. There’s an abundance of choice for grocery shopping, from seasonal fruit & vegetables to organic meat and artisan breads. There’s even a ‘Zero Waste Pantry’ and a creamery. The shop includes a garden section with products for organic growing, garden furniture, books, accessories and soft furnishings plus gardening tools and seasonal plants. The homeware section was absolutely dreamy and is great for interior design inspiration, even if you’re just window shopping.
There’s a Cookery School, with a focus on organic food and simple cooking techniques to improve your wellbeing. The Daylesford cookery school is for all levels: you could be a complete beginner or a confident chef who wants to learn new techniques, recipes and principles to enhance your cooking. There’s a choice of full-day, half-day and evening courses. In addition to the cookery school they run a number of other workshops, which include organic growing, gardening, floristry and the floral arts.
If you plan on staying, you can choose from cosy cottages that can accommodate two people or larger properties that cater for up to six. They’re all classic Cotswolds stone cottages that have been beautifully renovated, respecting the original farmhouse features, using natural, locally sourced and recycled materials, built by skilled craftsmen using age-old techniques.
They also host Restorative Retreats, which include a stay at the cottages with spa treatments, yoga, and nutritionist-led wellness workshops. The Bamford Wellness Spa connects you with nature, with activities and treatments that range from yoga, pilates, and meditation to facials and massages, all with products from Bamford. Part of the Daylesford family, Bamford’s body and skincare ranges work to revitalise, nourish, heal and protect, all whilst using botanicals and natural ingredients.
What’s special about Daylesford?
For me, the most interesting aspect of Daylesford is their absolute commitment to sustainability.
They have a holistic aspect to farming and take the view that seasonal, organically produced food benefits our own wellbeing and that of the planet.Their animals are free to roam and feed from organic pastures. They take an imaginative, progressive approach to farming techniques, such as the use of grazing cattle and sheep to create a flood meadow habitat called the Wilderness Wetland, which encourages a wide diversity of wildlife. No artificial chemicals are used on the farm.
This attention to detail extends to their buildings, which use LED lighting, devices that minimize unnecessary use of electricity, under-floor heating and sheep wool insulation rather than conventional man-made products. And there’s an impressive array of solar panels, which in summer can power all their farm shop, café and farm facilities, with the excess exported back to the National Grid. There is zero food waste at Daylesford, they encourage their customers to avoid single use plastics and bring their own containers to fill up at the shop.
Throughout, the materials they use can be reused, recycled or composted. They also support a large number of charitable initiatives, including two projects in London that distribute food to people in need.
Daylesford immediately lifts your mood with its lightness and positivity. It also inspired me to dream of a more organic (and organised!) kitchen and to up my efforts with gardening. The overwhelming impression that you take away from Daylesford is of a truly remarkable business with a powerful commitment to sustainability and protecting the planet.
Thanks for reading!