The process of harvesting and distilling lavender is one that has fascinated many customers, friends, and family. From the delicate art of cutting the blooms at just the right time, to the science of extracting the essential oils, there is much to discover about this fragrant herb. As a lavender farmer, I know firsthand the effort and dedication that goes into cultivating and processing this plant. Let me share with you my daily routine and the process of making lavender oil.
My typical day starts like this: I wake up between 5:00 and 5:30 in the morning, make some herbal tea, have a cookie, and head to the lavender fields. I start working immediately before the summer heat becomes overwhelming. By 8:00 or 9:00 am, most of the daily cutting of lavender is complete, and we have enough for distilling.
At our farm, we harvest the lavender by hand with no machinery or fancy tools. We use only scythes. This method is time-consuming and requires a great deal of skill and precision to ensure that the plants are not damaged in the process. However, it also allows us to connect with others, work as a community, and develop a deeper connection to the land and the plants we harvest
It's important for us to work closely with the lavender, as some of our plants are very old, 20-25 years old. Some of these plants are rare varieties that we are preserving at our farm. For example, one of my favorites is the yellow Spanish lavender (Lavandula viridis) and the pink English lavender, Lavandula Angustifolia named 'Miss Katherine their aromas are just too good to be true.
After we cut a significant amount of lavender, it's time to extract the essential oils. This process is called distillation, and it involves heating the lavender to release the oils, which are then collected and condensed. One of the best ways to distill lavender is by using a copper still.
Copper is an excellent material for distillation because it is a good conductor of heat and does not react with the essential oils. The process begins by filling the still with water and lavender. The still is then heated to a specific temperature, causing the essential oils to vaporize. The vapor is then passed through a condenser, which cools the vapor and causes the essential oils to condense into a liquid. The liquid is then collected and separated from the water.
At the end of the day, we are exhausted but highly satisfied. We love what we do and would love to share it with you. Come and visit our farm
We invite you to explore the beauty and versatility of lavender by visiting our online shop or by taking a trip to our farm during the months of June and July when our lavender is in full bloom.
Our farm has the largest collection of lavender varieties in the West, with over 140 different types to explore. Visitors can tour the farm and see a diverse array of lavender, including white, yellow, pink, and many more. They can also participate in U-Pick lavender and purchase handmade products such as candles, scrubs, oils, bath and culinary salts, as well as our delicious lavender and wildflower honey.
Additionally, the farm hosts many events and opens its gates to visitors. Come see the Italian vineyards, take classes on candle making, lavender wreaths, and soap making, or simply picnic and enjoy wine at the farm. The best time to visit is June-July.