It's been a very busy 6 weeks. Last night we distilled the last of our Folgate lavender. With our little 5 gallon copper alembic still (which holds 5-7 plants per batch) we've been distilling 3-5 batches per week over the last 6 weeks. Each batch takes about 4 hours. Folgate, a Lavandula Angustifolia (English) variety, or cultivar, distills to a beautiful oil that is excellent for aromatherapy, lotions, etc.. Our oil needs to age for a bit, but look for it soon on our web store!
Last night we also finally debudded the last of our Royal Velvet lavender. After harvest we've been bundling them and hanging them in the shop to dry, then 2 weeks later we debud them into storage containers. Royal Velvet is also a Lavandula Angustifolia cultivar, and is good for use in culinary. After the final cleaning process we will batch this up in tins for sale. We are also making sachets and crafting lavender bud filled gift items that we will have for sale soon.
In addition to the Folgate and Royal Velvet, last year we added another Lavandula Angustifolia, called Melissa. Melissa is a white/pink lavender... very beautiful. We also have a small row (40 plants) of Hidcote, which blossomed to a beautiful deep dark purple. For both of these we we harvested, bundled, dried for a couple of weeks and then debudded.
We have a couple of cultivars of French lavender (Lavendula X Intermedia). Most of this is Grosso, but last year we added some Gros Bleu as well. The french lavenders have very long stems, and are very fragrant. They make beautiful bouquets, and the oil is widely used in soaps and lotions. Of the French lavender, we currently have a couple hundred bundles hanging to dry in our shop. The rest (about 220 plants) are still in the field on the plant. We were planning on taking them to our neighbor Mike Bochart from Mike's stills who runs a distilling service with his 300 gallon lavender still. We should be harvesting the last of our Grosso now, but Mike was swamped with orders and unable to receive them for until the 2nd weekend of August.
At our location and elevation (750'), most of our English variety lavender starts blossoming in early June and is ready to harvest mid-to-late June, where-as the French cultivars bloomed several weeks later and ready to harvest by mid-July. So we've had 2 months of rows and rows of beautiful lavender varying in shades from light pink to deep purple in our field.
Jerry & Carolyn