What a great start to January, a whole van of Island Pride from Tremelethen Farm!
Introducing Keith Hale of Tremelethen Farm:
How did your family first come to be on the Isles of Scilly?
My Mother's family had been on the island of Tresco since the 16th Century, but after they moved to Exeter, she always wanted to return to the islands. She joined the Land Army, who let her return, and she worked at Tresco Abbey Gardens.
My Father moved to Tresco from Leicester as a herdsman for the estate. He was offered the position of herdsman at Tremelethen Farm in 1951 and we have been there ever since.
I met my wife, Sarah, in The Mermaid, who moved here when she was 6 with her parents to take over the Gold Farm, which also grew Scented Narcissi. She helps all winter on the farm with tying and grading Tremelethen Farm flowers.
How did you get into farming?
I went away to boarding school and absolutely hated it! I returned as soon as I could after my 'O' Levels to help my father, and took over the farm from him when he passed away in 1951. My son, Rob, went away to Seale Hane Agricultural College, and has been helping Sarah and I on the farm for ten years now.
What else have you farmed on Tremelethen?
My father loved milking cattle, and that along with potatoes was our main interest originally, growing Scented Narcissi and Daffs alongside these. Then, once plastic coverings became more widely used on the Mainland, there was less demand on the Islands for potatoes, so we concentrated all our efforts into farming Scented Narcissi.
Tell us about your farm:
Tremelethen Farm is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and is 50 Acres in total, which is made up of lots of small fields- each field that makes up the farm is about 1/3 of an Acre. As well as Scented Narcissi, our neighbour's cattle also graze on some of our land.
What's One of Your Favourite Scented Narcissi Farming Memories?
When I was 8 years old, picking in the fields, Bernard Chudleigh asked me to get his flask. I ran back with it, and finding the gate shut, threw it over the top....the entire thing smashed!
What's Your Favourite Thing About Farming Narcissi?
It has to be going out and picking that very first flower, and smelling it, and thinking "ahhhh"!
What's Your Favourite Variety of Scented Narcissi?
Both mine and Sarah's favourite variety is Sols as it's the old standard, and the traditional Island flower. It's better in so many ways: ease of picking, ease of tying, plus a lovely scent and colour. I also love Scilly Pride for it's deep red center.
Tell us something about you that we don't know:
I am the starter for the World Championship Gig Races that are held on Scilly every year, and am a bass player in The Steamband which had BBC coverage to an audience of over 30 bIllion people on Millenium night. I've also attended 3 royal weddings.
What's Your Favourite spot on the Isles of Scilly?
The view from Golf Farm on St. Mary's.
What's Your Favourite Farming Memory With Your Son, Rob Hale?
When he was a little boy, Rob used to love coming along in the tractor with me, but he would always fall asleep as soon as we started going, with his head nodding around all over the place as we went across the fields.
Any Tips For a Healthy "Father-Son" Working Relationship?
A Father and Son working together doesn't mean we always agree on the same things, but we have a safety valve if things ever get heated! There was another farming father and son who once got in so irate with each other, a hammer was thrown, so whenever things get a little heated, one of us will mention the hammer to lighten the mood!
Look our for our next "Featured Farmer" interview with Keith's son, Rob Hale in the coming weeks!
It's been a great start to the New Year at Scented Narcissi, and we've had some lovely feedback on all of our Christmas Bouquets that were delivered in the last few weeks. Below are all the varieties we are currently cropping, keep checking back, as we have another ten varieties to come in the next few months!
This variety is famous for it's large florets and vivid colours, and looks beautiful on it's own or within our Seasonal Selection. It's scent has a jasmine heart with ylang ylang, and is described by our experts as being "crisp with the refreshing sensation of a brisk sea breeze".
Hugh Town captures the freshness of a Spring day on the Isles of Scilly and reflects our warm and exotic location, in our mild winters.
A popular choice of Scented Narcissi, this is the first variety of Whites we have had, after Paper Whites to crop this Season- as featured in some of our Christmas Bouquets. With a citrus twist to the creamy richness of this variety, it offers a refreshing fragrance in January.
Grand Primo is an indulgent and decadent variety, that spoils your senses with a rich and luxurious aroma. It has been described as having the effect of "instant relaxation".
Other Varieties Available:
If you have any questions about certain varieties, or would like to tell us what your favourite variety is, let us know below!
With all of our Isles of Scilly flower famers here on the islands, we thought you might like to get to know a little bit more about who is growing your flowers, so here is the first in our series of Featured Famers.....
Introducing Mr.Brown of Sunnyside Farm:
How did you come to be on the Isles of Scilly?
My Great Grandfather was the first in our family to bring us to the islands in 1890. He went to Canada with 2p in his pocket and came back with 1p, so came to Scilly looking to increase his fortunes and find work!
How did you first get into farming?
When my Great Grandfather first came here, he worked on Tresco esate for Mr. Dorrien- Smith. Later himself and his son (my grandfather) took on a farm on St. Mary's. My Father followed in their footsteps and, as the eldest son, when he passed away, I took over the farm from him.
Have you always just farmed Narcissi?
During the war, all of the farmers on the Isles of Scilly had to give 1/3 of their farms to growing vegetables such as broccoli and potatoes, much to the dislike of Mainland farmers who had to give up 1/2 of their land. We have also diversified into cattle for beef and dairy, chickens, pigs and all sorts at certain times!
What's your favourite farming memory?
Christmas on the farm was always an exciting time. I used to go down to the farm with my 6 brothers and sisters and help Dad to tie flowers and make up boxes.
What's your favourite Scented Narcissi variety and why?
Golden Dawn because of it's exquisite scent, but I also like Soleil D'ors for their long vase life, delicate scent, and they are my favourite variety to pick!
What's the funniest Scented Narcissi farming story you have for us?
Years ago, we were picking flowers, and one of the pickers took their false teeth out at lunch to eat their sandwich. He put them on a hedge next to him, and a seagull picked them up and flew off with them!
What do you do when you're not out in the flower fields?
I am a keen racquet player, and love to play table tennis, squash, badminton and tennis.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about Mr. Brown from Sunnyside Farm- if you have any more questions for him, just write under this post and we will get you some answers!
Remember to look out for who farmed your flowers on your bouquet's Farmer tag
The Paper White variety of Scented Narcissi is in high demand at Christmas, and here are our top 5 reasons why:
1. Classic White Flowers for Christmas
This variety of Scented Narcissi is the purest white variety of Narcissi out of all of our sixteen varieties in a Season- perfect for Christmas colour schemes, centre pieces, or Christmas Presents.
2. Iconic Fragrance
This is the Scent Descriptor our experts produced to capture the powerful scent of these Isles of Scilly flowers:
"a warm balsamic vanilla-ry base supports the creamy, almond-like soul of this bloom, crowned with a soft, jasmine-like glow"
It's no wonder the scent of narcissi can be found in perfumes by Chanel, Estee Lauder, and Vera Wang to name a few.
3. The Perfect Gift
Iconic in a simple bouquet, the addition to this wonderful offering of Christmas ribbon, tissue and handwritten card in our courier delivered Bespoke Blue Boxes makes an unforgettable gift.
4. Dreaming of a White Christmas?
For many of our customers, this is their traditional family Christmas flower, evoking memories of time gone by. Christmas just isn't Christmas without the heady fragrance of Paper Whites around the household.
5. Delicate and Dainty
The shape of these blooms is truly beautiful. With numerous dainty flowers on each stem, the soft pointed petals on these gorgeous narcissi make them instantly recognisable.
Congratulations to Tremelethen Farm on bringing us the first of the Hugh Towns this Season!
Hugh Towns are recognisable by their large floret size, vivid colour-and of course fresh scent.
Rob told us he had to walk across 7 fields to get to this wonderful bundle of Hugh Town- and we think it was worth the effort!
Well done to the Hales!
This morning we welcomed Gordon Bird of Pelistry Farm into the office with the first Sol's of the Season!
Sols are a huge favourite among our customers, who favour the grapefruit and vanilla nuances in their scent.
The bad news is, we only had the handful you see to send out- but it won't be long before one of our other farms catches up, so watch this space!
To shop from our current Varieties, click here.
It's official! Paper White Scented Narcissi are in the Telegraph's top ten Christmas flowers!
This article by the Telegraph tells you exactly how to grow your own Narcissi in time for Christmas, but fortunately, our Isles of Scilly flower farmers here on St.Mary's have done the hard work for you, so all you need to do is click here and you can have your own ready made bouquet by the end of the week!