The 1,700-acre estate is located near Chipping Norton in Gloucestershire and traces its roots back more than 40 years to when Lady Carole Bamford, the wife of British billionaire Sir Anthony Bamford transformed their family farmland over to sustainable, organic farming.
Since its formation all those years ago, Lady Bamford’s Daylesford enterprise has since become a lifestyle supersite and one of the world’s most successful organic businesses.
“What began as a simple passion for real food and a desire to feed our children better has grown into Daylesford as we know it today, one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK”, said Lady Bamford.
Ten years ago, Lady Bamford transformed a collection of old barns on the bucolic estate to what has now become Britain’s most famous farm shop. A mecca for luxury goods, the shop takes full advantage of its location selling not just organic food and produce but also luxe clothing, flowers, gardening equipment, homeware, spa treatments and yoga classes.
The shop and estate ooze class and affluence attracting thousands of people every year including the rich and the famous.
Gad Thompson, the manager at the farms Organic Cafe amusingly explained “ I mostly see husbands who have lost their wives. It’s a common practice at Daylesford”.
The shop is a food-lovers dream, with shelves of colour-coded organic fruit and vegetables, a walk-in cheese and dairy room, a bakery, a butcher and fresh fish counter. Picture a very pricey miniature all-organic Selfridges food hall against a backdrop of lush, British countryside.
Despite its apparent popularity, the organic produce group made a loss of £2.7 million in 2017. Whilst nobody disputes the high quality of Daylesford’s products, the prices would shock even the wealthiest of customers. Many Gloucestershire residents have criticised Bamford over the years, calling Daylesford an elitist enterprise and “inappropriate for the countryside”.
“One could easily lampoon Bamford’s effort at Daylesford organic as a sort of Marie Antoinette folly,” notes James Reginato, a columnist at W magazine. However, Bamford’s contribution to sustainable, organic farming is undeniable. Since its formation, Daylesford farm has won over 100 awards and is making strides to become the world’s first fully self-sufficient farm. It is also the largest employer in Cotswolds, where jobs are hard to come by.
After interviewing Bamford in 2007, James Reginato confirmed her enthusiasm towards organic food and sustainable farming as genuine, remarking that she came across as “knowledgeable, serious and passionate about organics”. An almost plastic-free zone, Daylesford’s packaging is designed to be reused and it is hoped that by the end of this year, 100 per cent of the farm’s packaging material will be recyclable. Plastic pollution is currently the biggest threat to our oceans and without intervention, plastic will out-weight fish in the ocean by 2050.
The need for local, sustainable and seasonal farming has never been more important for the future of our plant and looking after the soil is ‘everything’ says Bamford: “its the foundation of our farm, from which everything else grows. The soil is the plant; the plant becomes the man”
A pioneer of eco-chic and organic, sustainable farming, Lady Bamford has been likened to a super posh British Martha Stewart”, making it easy for people to dismiss her passion and enthusiasm for food, nature and organic, sustainable farming.