Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Behind the Scenes - Harvesting Lavender at the Farm


Every summer the farm explodes in a visual display that is truly stunning.  Over 30,000 organically grown lavender plants begin turning from green to purple in June and reach their "peak of purpleness" in mid-July.  Being out in the midst of all the color and scent and sound (honeybees are always hard at work out in the fields) is an experience like no other - something everyone should do at least once in their lives.

Lavender in Bloom at Pelindaba Lavender Farm San Juan Island


Harvesting Lavender at Pelindaba Lavender Farm


We are immensely privileged to experience it every year during our annual harvest.  Harvesting usually occurs from mid-July through the end of September.  Come, let us show you how it's done!

Pelindaba Lavender Farm Open for Visiting on San Juan Island

Pelindaba Lavender Farm in July on San Juan Island

These two views are from the top of the farm. Thousands of lavender plants stand ready to be harvested.  Each mature lavender plant produces about 500 flowerheads.  With over 30,000 plants in the ground, that's millions and millions of flowers!

Harvesting Organic Lavender at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

We harvest on sunny mornings once the dew has dried to prevent the lavender from mildewing once cut.

Harvesting Organci Lavender by hand at Pelindaba Lavender Farm San Juan Island

Harvesting Lavender in bloom fields at Pelindaba Lavender Farm
 
Each plant is harvested by hand!  We use 7 inch garden scythes to harvest each plant.  In the at-home garden, clippers or scissors work well for small-scale harvesting.

Freshly Harvested Lavender Bouquets at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

We create uniform bundles and secure each with a rubber band.  As lavender stalks dry they shrink a bit.  A rubber band keeps everything secure.

Bundling Organic Lavender for Drying at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Unfolded paperclips are the most efficient way we have found to hang lavender bundles.  Here one end of the paper clip is being hooked through the rubber band.

Fresh Fragrant Lavender Bundles at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Once each bundle is secured with a rubber band and has an unfolded paperclip hooked through the band, it is ready to be dried.

Fresh Fragrant Lavender Bundles Ready for Drying

Drying Organic Lavender Bouquets at Pelindaba Lavender Farm   Drying Lavender Bunches at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Finally we hang each lavender bundle by a paperclip from racks in our Drying barn, Distillery, Visitor Center, Production Center and any other nook or cranny we can find.  It will take 4-6 weeks for the lavender to dry fully and be ready for use in our lavender-based products that we handcraft on the farm.

Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island Washington

During harvest season everyone comes out to lend a hand (or paw)!

During summer months the Cutting Field open to visitors to harvest their own bouquets of lavender from a wide of varieties (even some pink and white lavender!).  It's a fun activity for the whole family - be sure to bring your camera!  We provide scissors, ties and harvesting instructions at our Visitor Center which is open daily during the summer.

Harvest you own organic lavender in bloom at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

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