In some ways, at Mesa Lavender Farms®, lavender is the central part of our company’s story. Sure, we sell lot’s of CBD now. However, in the beginning, lavender was the main inspiration for our company’s creation. Co-founder and artist Kate Keaney has always had a special connection with the plant. She loved lavender paintings like those by Vincent Van Gogh, for example, and they were a huge inspiration for her. She was glad the day came when she could spread the joy that lavender ignited in her own life to the lives of others as well through her company.
Mesa Lavender Farms® was created when Kate teamed up with Dr. Curtis Swift. Swift was an expert on the plant and had been growing and conducting research on it for years. They combined their unique set of skills together, and haven’t regretted a single day since. So, today on the blog, we’d like to talk about the types of Lavender that we grow, and also some other aspects of Lavender farming. Finally we’d like to share a brief history of the plant for our readers.
Grosso Lavender Farming: The Type of Lavender That We Grow
At our farm, we grow a cultivar of lavender called Grosso. There are many different cultivars of lavender from English, French, to Spanish lavender to name only a few. All the hybrids of Lavender combined are classified in a unique group of lavender cultivars called lavandins. Grosso Lavender is a hybrid of Portuguese and English Lavender.
For many lavandins, like Grosso for example, their flowers are much larger than English lavender flowers. This puts on quite a spectacle for the eye with how lush and apparently beautiful Grosso lavender plants are. We really love it for this reason. And Grosso lavender is also recognized for having high concentrations of phytochemicals like linalool. Linalool is the primary terpene found in Lavender that gives the plant its exclusive fragrance. For this reason, it is very attractive to those who are growing lavender for commercial purposes.
History of Lavender Farming and Use
As we can see even in ancient times, lavender had a multitude of purposes. The Romans used it for bathing, and the Egyptians used it for mummification. Historians have strong evidence that lavender comes from the latin verb, “lavare” which means to bathe. One of the earliest historical records we have that mentions the plant is from the Greek botanist, Dioscorides. He noted it had beneficial effects when prepared as a tea. Also, a man of many trades, Pliny the Elder, respected the lavender plant for what he saw as the ability to soothe people who were in grief.
And the Hildegard of Bingen, a Leonardo Da Vinci of her time, was the first recorded writer to take note of Lavender. She claims that the strong odor of lavender was great for repelling pests and killing lice. She also mentions that lavender could frighten away nefarious spirits. People of the middle ages were very superstitious, but still, it is good to take note of these accounts. Regardless of whether these spirits are real or not, there is no doubt that people far back in time were well aware of the strength and power of lavender.
Lavender has been widely used through many places, cultures, and times throughout history. All the way up to the present age it has been a widely appreciated plant.
What Type of Climate is Ideal for Lavender Farming?
Lavender grows throughout many different regions and countries in the world. Some of these places are remarkably unique from one another like England and Egypt, for example. However, the majority of data recorded over time indicates that the ideal climate for lavender to grow in is a Mediterranean climate. The plant does best in temperatures that range from 66-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the plant is susceptible to mold and fungal diseases, it is best to grow lavender in climates with minimal rainfall.
How is Lavender essential oil made after farming?
In the documentary film, Lavender Farm (1962), the narrator says, “It’s odd to think that all of those oceans of flowers are going to be boiled in a great still. Perhaps some of them will avoid this fate.” Well, it’s not so odd if one thinks more about it. If the Lavender plants were not harvested, the wonderful phytochemicals present in the plant could not be extracted and used for their many amazing benefits. It’s a preferable fate than the fate of the plants dying after the winter arrives, and the chemicals never being extracted.
When Lavender is harvested, the most common method of extracting the favorable compounds like Linalool is steam distillation. The Lavender oil is extracted by filling a chamber full of fresh lavender. The chamber is packed full leaving no room for air, and the chamber (basket) is placed over boiling water. The stream which contains the lavender essential oil is condensed back to liquid form. Afterward, the floral water and oil are separated, and Voila! The oil can then be used for many unique purposes from culinary to cosmetic.
So, we’re very happy we’re able to harvest our lavender and use it to create useful crafts. In a way, we think the lavender is happy as well to provide for people with its incredible benefits.
Lavender is a plant loved by many, and we’re proud to be growing it. We’re also happy to be providing our customers with some of the freshest lavender grown in the U.S.
If you enjoyed this article, then perhaps you’ll be interested in some of our lavender products. We sell Grosso lavender buds in 4 oz. bags, lavender hydrosol, and Grosso essential oil. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you’ll always see when we post our next blog!