The Torrances have farmed Church Farm, Sidlesham since John Torrance took over the tenancy in 1943. His father moved the family down from Scotland in the 1920’s. The land, like much in
the Chichester area, is owned by the Church of England. John’s son George is the current tenant and runs the farm with his daughter, Charlotte. Today, we grow Wheat for bread making, Maize and grass for our neighbour’s dairy cattle and English Chamomile.
English or Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is a low perennial plant with daisy like white flowers. Since Ancient Egyptian times Chamomile has been used for its healing properties. The Romans used the oil from the Roman chamomile flowers for mental clarity and courage during war. Chamomile has been grown in England for over a thousand years so it’s not surprising it has become known as “English Chamomile”.
Chamomile works best with the emotions, nervous system and skin, and provides a calming effect on all three when used topically diluted, aromatically or ingested. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for its soothing properties and compatability with other essential oils, as well as being added to many cosmetic and skincare products for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile tea, a beverage with calming effects as well as promoting a restful sleep, is made from the flowers from Roman chamomile and is particularly popular with people who suffer from forms of insomnia. We use the fresh flowers to make the tea, which you can be sample at our Open Days in the summer
We harvest the Roman Chamomile flowers and stems during July and August and extract the deep blue essential oil by steam distillation. If you would like to purchase our oil please visit our Products page.
Since Charlotte’s return to the farm we have decided to concentrate more on our English Chamomile enterprise. We opened the field to the public to experience the sights and wonderful smells of 15 acres of Chamomile in full bloom in July 2015 fot the first time. Everyone who visited said how much they enjoyed the sight and calming aroma of millions of flowers so we will be opening again in 2017. Please visit our Open Days page to learn more.
WILDLIFE ON THE FARM
We manage a significant area of our farm for wildlife, whether as grass margins, undisturbed field corners or low input permanent pasture on the water meadows forming part of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve.
The RSPB carried out a bird survey in 2012 on the area of the farm including the chamomile field and found 56 species of birds, 8 of which are on their Red list of species.
You can view some of our animal and bird friends captured by a trail camera on our blog pages