The 2017 Lavender Harvest

I cannot believe it is September and I am only just writing this now.

This year we had a very enthusiastic couple volunteer to help us with the lavender harvest. For seven years Stu and I have harvested the lavender ourselves, so it was great to have some help. It was also a perfect opportunity for the couple to learn all about lavender harvesting, distilling and to pick our brains about lavender.

We were suitably prepared, after 9 years harvesting lavender; we have it down to a fine art now. So a few hours later, the harvest was complete and all the purple had faded to green.

A quick lunch, then on the road for a couple of hours to the distiller. Fadges (wool sacks) of lavender poured into the 40kg still, one after the other until 500kg of flowers had their oil squished out of them. The room filled with the intoxicating aroma of lavender.

The technical procedure of the distilling process is:
A steam distillation process extracts the essential oil. The flowers are sealed in large stainless steel pots, before very hot steam is forced through the flowers breaking them down and extracting their oil. The steam passes through tubing, which is cooled by a cold-water condenser, causing the steam to revert to liquid. At this point, the lavender water (hydrosol) and oil are separated into their respective containers.

We have just attended the NZ Lavender Growers Association Oil Awards – Unfortunately due to the poor NZ Summer, no awards were given for Grosso (2017 season), but we were only 0.7% off receiving another Silver award….oh so close! However, knowing we had the best 2017 Grosso in the competition means we still have a great oil 😊.

This year has surely flown by and the market season is here already, with the Daffodil Festival this Saturday 10th September in Carterton.

Till we meet again, stop and smell the lavender x

Friday 8th of September 2017

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