Hitchin Lavender is owned and managed by Tim Hunter and Maria Noel Castro.
The Hunter family have been farmers for more than five generations and have farmed here at Cadwell Farm, the home of Hitchin Lavender for over 120 years. Originally descending from Scottish ancestry, the family arrived in Hertfordshire during the 1890’s farming depression, in order to be closer to London and the railway network.
In the 1970s, Cadwell Farm passed down to Alec Hunter and his wife Zoë. They experimented with various crops and livestock over the years but in the year 2000 they took the decision to partially diversify into lavender planting. Whilst this was a new venture for Cadwell Farm, it wasn’t unusual for this region, as Hitchin had a long history of lavender growing dating back to the 16th century.
They had originally intended for the lavender to become part of their agricultural business but after photos of their fields started to appear in the local and national press, it soon became apparent that people were keen to come and see the lavender for themselves. This was really the beginning of Hitchin Lavender as we know it today and since those early days, they have welcomed thousands of visitors from across the world through their farm gates every year.
In 2009, Nick and Tim (Alec and Zoë’s sons) along with Tim’s wife, Maria Noel returned to the farm. As well as cultivating the lavender, the latest generation of Hunters introduced sunflowers to the farm in 2009 and in 2011, a display field to showcase different species and varieties of lavender. In subsequent years, a wildflower meadow and cut flower area have also been added to the farm’s attractions.
Tim and Maria Noel became the sole proprietors of Hitchin Lavender in 2012 when Nick departed to set up the celebrated open air screen company, Sundown Cinema. Both sons still manage the rest of the farm which continues to grow cereal crops well over a century after their Great-Great-Grandfather first did so.
Meet The Team
TIM & NOEL
Tim and Noel have owned and overseen the day to day running of Hitchin Lavender since 2012. Tim does much of the agricultural and logistics work at the farm whilst Noel (pronounced like the Christmas carol) is the queen sewing bee; crafting by hand, many of our own brand products. Although both are happiest when working with nature, most day to day operations and problem solving start with them.
As resident groundsman, Harry is our king of the outdoors and master at the wheel of any moving farm machinery. Harry makes sure that the lavender, wildflowers and sunflowers look stunning for our visitors year after year!
Mollie is our Fox Red Labrador and although not allocated many official duties, is generally supportive of any activity happening around the farm.
Staff photo © Sharon Cooper