© 2019 FarmED - Honeydale Farm, Station Road, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 6BJ, United Kingdom

Emma Mills

Honeydale Kitchen Garden

For Emma, the taste and smell of homegrown salads and vegetables evokes the happiest childhood memories.

 

Emma spent her childhood years living all over the world, with periods in Nigeria and Korea. Her French mother always cooked from scratch adapting her cuisine to incorporate fresh and seasonal produce from the local markets, Emma’s palet evolved accordingly.   During her travels, the place that always felt like home was Oxfordshire, where her grandparents lived, near Wheatley. In particular, she felt most at home in her grandpa Bob’s greenhouse. Having lived in Nigeria, where there’s 90% humidity, Emma has always been in her element in the hot and humid conditions of a greenhouse or polytunnel.

 

She went on to Scotland to study Modern History at St Andrews University, where the Environmental History modules particularly appealed to her. She spent a gap year working with tigers in the humidity of Madhya Pradesh and Bandavgarh National Park (recently featured on the 'Dynasties’ TV documentary) also travelling the length and breadth of India.  Later her summers at University gave her time to travel and work as a translator on a pioneering reforestation project to protect the Brazilian rainforest. Part funded by Peugeot and ONF (the French Forestry Commission), the aim was to produce carbon neutral cars, long before environmental concerns topped the agenda for many multinationals. Emma then moved to Paris where she managed leaders of educational tours across Europe, going on to live and work on tailor-made tours in London specialising in travel to Bhutan and India.

 

Meanwhile her parents had settled in Wales, at Cruglas Farm, 750 acres near the Cors Caron Nature Reserve, fulfilling Emma’s father’s dream to establish a working farm with an emphasis on conservation. Emma is a partner of this family business, and after over twenty years of conservation work, Cruglas Farm is an award-winning wildlife haven, its ponds, lakes, meadows and woodland now home to 23 species of butterflies, dragonflies, newts, adders, otters and 140 species of birds.

 

When it came time to raise her own family, Emma returned to Oxfordshire. However, she failed to find the smells and tastes she’d always associated with home.  It was realising that shop bought tomatoes would never match the flavour of the ones her grandpa Bob grew or the fresh local produce in the Lagos and Paris markets that lead Emma to explore CSAs and set up The Kitchen Garden People. She feels particularly at home now at the Honeydale Kitchen Garden at FarmED where she can share her passion for conservation and Real Food in a place where her polytunnels effuse the evocative smell of fresh salad and vine tomatoes.