Lavender Harvest 2016
Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop
Enjoys a Bountiful Harvest 2016!
As summer slowly draws to a close so too, will the lavender harvest at Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop. The lavender harvest of 2016 began in mid-July and will continue thru early fall. The first lavender harvested was from plants that were still in bud form and not yet, fully bloomed. Each day lavender buds were harvested from a portion of the fields. The budded stems were then bundled and hung to dry in the working barn. Meanwhile, the lavender plants that were left to fully bloom are being freshly picked. The lavender flowers are going directly to the barn to be distilled for essential lavender oil.
Visitors to Fragrant Isle in late July were the first to witness, just how beautiful it is when the lavender bundles are suspended from the rafters of the working barn. As the lavender buds dry in preparation for processing, the fragrance emanating from the barn is breathtaking! Visitors lucky enough to be present on days the lavender is being distilled get the first whiff of our essential oil! All throughout late summer visitors to the farm are able to enjoy the intoxicating scent generated by hundreds of lavender bundles gathered to dry and be distilled.
The dried culinary lavender buds are shaken from their stems and undergo a vigorous, multistep sifting. This method of cleaning insures that the buds gathered for use in Fragrant Isle’s very own Herbes de Provence, (a delicious blend of lavender, basil, parsley, rosemary, savory, and thyme,) and Culinary Lavender are super clean, free of leaves, stems and dust. The jars of beautiful culinary lavender buds are almost too pretty to eat.
The remainder of Fragrant Isle’s culinary and aromatic lavender will be distilled for its sweet, pungent oil. There are different types of stills and after a great deal of study and consultation Fragrant Isle Lavender made the decision to purchase a copper alembic (two-part) still. The copper still produces the sweetest of essential oils. The copper reacts with the sulfurs and yeast byproducts of distillation which are common in stainless steel stills. In and of itself, the still is a work of art.
Producing essential oil requires a still, heat and beautiful lavender grown without pesticides or herbicides. In laymen’s terms, water is heated creating steam which must then be captured. The steam ruptures the flower’s oil glands vaporizing the essential oils and cellular water. As the steam travels thru coils in the condensing tank it is condensed back into a liquid form. Floating atop this liquid is the pure essential oil which is separated from the liquid. The remaining liquid is known as hydrosol. Simply put a hydrosol is essential oil molecules, cellular water and the water used in the distillation process. Hydrosols have the same benefits as essential oil, however at a reduced concentration making them suitable when an essential oil may be too strong.
There are many different ways in which the oil distilled from culinary lavender may be used. It may be added directly to food, a drop or two in a favorite recipe of the sweet sort; takes dessert to a whole new level. Culinary lavender may also be used in various bath and beauty products. Fragrant Isle Lavender currently offers 100+ products featuring both culinary and aromatic lavender oils.
Mother Nature has cooperated this year and Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm is enjoying a bountiful harvest. In the coming months the 100% pure, unadulterated essential oil produced from our thriving lavender plants will be available to our customers.
For those that wish to see and learn more about Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm….it is not too late. The farm remains open and Washington Island will soon be richly adorned in fall color. Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm and Shop will remain open thru the month of October. Come visit beautiful Washington Island and stop by the farm for a visit!