This is probably our favourite time of the year, as we see all of the hard work that we’vebeen putting into growing our wonderful lavender come to fruition, and we start harvesting our crop. It always smells pretty good at our Jersey Lavender Farm, but the simple process of harvesting the lavender jumbles things around a little more and releases even more of the fantastic lavender aroma.
But exactly how simple is that harvesting process? Well to be honest, it really isn’t rocket science! To see the harvest in action check out one of our YouTube videos showing the harvesters at work – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGPFhCyCK1Y.
But simply we harvest our lavender just as you would do at home, just on a slightly larger scale. Our lavender is grown in long rows and once the flower spikes have reached the exact point when we just know that it’s going to be just perfect, we simply lay long nets down between the rows and use petrol powered hedge trimmers to cut off the flower heads and about 10-15cm of the flower spikes, that then fall down onto the nets. These can then be bundled up and popped into a trailer before heading off to be processed. As you can see from the video it is actually quite hard work, but we’ve found that this is the most precise method of harvesting, and ensures as little damage is inflicted on the lavender or the bush as possible.
The next step to providing you with the highest quality lavender products is in the processing of the harvested lavender, and we do this by two distinct methods. Firstly we dry the lavender for use in our dried lavender products such as sachets or culinary lavender. This is again a simple process, but on a large scale. We simply hang the harvested lavender in bundles in our cool, dark drying sheds until the moisture has been lost and we have a concentrated dried lavender product.
The other process that we use for our lavender is distillation to achieve our precious lavender essential oil. Here we place our harvested lavender into a steamer. The steam then extracts the essential oil, which is carried with the steam into a condenser where it then separates out from the water. Obviously there is a little more to it and a few bits of fancy equipment, but we believe that to get the best out of lavender, we should leave it as nature intended it; simple, pure and gorgeous.