The meads have been farming in The Chiltern Hills area since before 1860 it is thought that the family came out from London to produce hay and straw for the working horses of London. Simon and Chris Mead are now the sixth generation to farm. The farm at present is a mixed farm producing arable crops, beef and a few sheep. Diversification has always been at the forefront and as a result we now produce charcoal, have stables for livery and process firewood. Our most successful diversification to date has been our Farm Shop and our latest project is the production of extra virgin rapeseed oil from our own crop of oilseed rape which is then pressed and bottled at Wilstone Great Farm.
Over the course of forty years the shop developed. The sixties saw a tea trolley at the side of the road selling a few home produced seasonal vegetables, payment was via an honesty box thus attracting two types of customer, the ones that paid and the ones that didn’t! The tea trolley became a barrow and then on to a more permanent structure. The seventies was a time when customers stocked up their deep freezes with our in season vegetables but then during the eighties the supermarkets came to the fore providing most vegetables all year round. This changed the way in which people shopped, bulk buying and freezing was no longer the order of the day. We needed to move with the times so in 1985 a smart new fruit and vegetable shop was built and new lines were introduced including plants, pet food, composts and firewood.
By the mid nineties we knew we needed more space again and we applied for planning permission to convert a beautiful grade 11 listed barn into more retail space. It wasn’t until 2003 that we had the funds available to carry out the development. The extra space gained has allowed us market our own Home Produced Beef and Lamb alongside many other locally sourced and speciality foods we have also incorporated a Tea Room and gift shop. The success of the farm shop and peoples increased awareness of where their food comes from has given us the confidence to introduce our Chiltern cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil.