Our Products - #3 - Lavender Buds

The third of four in our Products series is lavender buds.  Currently we sell our buds in lovely sachets of two sizes; we also plan to develop other items to use our buds in as our farm grows.   
Perhaps the most important thing about cultivating lavender for buds is knowing when to harvest them off the plant.  Monitor the plants closely as the growing season progresses.  Generally, harvesting for buds begins when the lower buds on the flower spikes start to open and show color.  Harvesting should be done in the morning before the day’s heat begins; that’s the best time to maintain the oils in the buds for maximum scent.  Harvest when only a few buds have opened, no more than 25% of the flowers.  Use sharp scissors or pruners to cut the flower stems cleanly.  Gather the stems into a bundle and use a rubber band to secure them.  Make the rubber band as tight as possible, as the stems will shrink as they dry.  To determine the size of a bundle, touch your first fingertip and thumb tip together.  The number of stems that will fit inside the circle made by your finger and thumb are generally considered an average bundle size, about 150 stems. 
Drying the bundles is the next step.  A cool dark place with good air flow is ideal for drying bouquets.  Keeping them away from sunlight and heat is crucial, to keep the buds from losing their color and their oil content.  Each bundle is hung upside down, not too close together, and checked periodically to make sure they’re not developing mold.  Once the bundles have dried thoroughly (usually around two weeks should do it) take the bundles down and strip the buds off the stems.  Commercially, this is usually done by a debudding machine; if you are harvesting your own, you can strip each stem by hand, or place the bundle in a pillowcase and roll them around to release the buds from their stems. 
And voila!  We now have buds to put into our sachets!  Sachets are so versatile; they can be put in drawers (a traditional use for them) or tucked into shoes or gym bags or hung inside a car – anywhere you want to use the fresh scent of lavender to dispel odors.  Give them a squeeze periodically to release the scent from the oil.  A few favorite bud varieties on our farm that we use in our sachets are Irene Doyle, Folgate and French Fields.  All three are fragrant angustifolia, or English, lavenders that will leave your home, car or personal items smelling wonderful. 
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