Friday, October 24, 2008

Harvesting Lavender

From the end of June until sometime in October we are harvesting lavender. Different varieties bloom at different times, and we have over six varieties grown for commercial harvest. Here Leslie is harvesting our Provence lavender. We harvest by hand, using a Japanese sickle. We now use kevlar gloves to protect our workers hands and wrists - those sickles are incredibly sharp and can do severe damage.

The lavender is cut at the base of the flower stem, and then bundled with a rubber band. Each bunch is lain on the previously cut bushes until they are gathered up for hanging inside where it's dark and there is warm, moving air to dry them out. If we have a period of rain, which is relatively rare in our area but this year we had a rainy end of August, the lavender simply dries much more slowly.

The smell of the lavender is so wonderful, and carrying in arm loads of bunched fresh lavender is a delight.

After the lavender is dried, we either use it on the stem or take it off to use as dried bud for sachets or cooking.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lavender Wind Spa Dog

Bailey, the Lavender Wind Spa Dog is communing with one of our decoys. We are harvesting in the background. Bailey was a delight this summer, she greeted our customers - sometimes with barks, other times with a wagging tail.