Just the mention of the word fills lavender growers with equal and varying
amounts of joy, fear, happiness, anxiety, excitement, and nervousness.
Harvest too early in the season, and you don’t get the vibrant colors the
plants are capable of giving; too late, and you miss the benefits of the oil
nestled within the volatile organic compounds of the plant. Different
varieties give us different qualities; we use our French Fields, Folgate and
Melissa for culinary lavenders. They must be harvested earlier when the
buds are tight, so as to give superior flavor to breads, cookies, syrups and
drink mixes. Irene Doyle, Maillette, Hidcote Giant and Super varieties give
us exceptional essential oils; they need to be harvested a little later so as to
produce maximum oil output. Hidcote Giant, Super and Royal Velvet
varieties all make beautiful cut bouquets, both fresh and dried. How much
will we use to bring fresh bouquets to market, and how much will we use to
distill for oils? Will we have enough for a U-Pick area when our farm is
open for customers who want their own lavender experience? Can we
keep enough flowers in our fields to attract photographers? These are the
thoughts that go through a lavender grower’s mind during harvest time.
Equal parts joy, fear, happiness, anxiety, excitement, nervousness; but
above all, calmness, fragrance and beauty. And isn’t that the very
distillation of the lavender experience after all? We think so.
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