The wonderful Lavender. Standing from the top of a hill in France, vast rows of purple flowers stretch as far as the eye can see. Walking amongst the aromatic purple fields, you can hear the noise of buzzing bees under the beautiful summer sun. Nothing compares to the beauty of a blossoming Lavender field. Harvested from July to August every year, Lavender flowers attract a huge amount of tourist and landscape photographers, who come to witness the peak of the flowering season.
The use of Lavender essential oil has been traced back to 2500 years ago in the ancient civilisation of Egypt and in the Roman Empire. Lavender essential oil was used in perfume, to bathe, and to clean the air. The word ‘Lavender’ originates from the Latin verb ‘Lavare’ which means ‘to wash.’ A deeply versatile oil, the benefits of Lavender essential oils have been renowned around the world for decades.
Lavender is harvested every year sometime between July and August depending on the region. The plant produces its best yield after 10 years. It is often picked in the early morning to ensure the freshness of the flowers and allowed to dry for a few hours. Lavender flowers are loaded into a vessel and compacted either by a large truck tire or by the workers who stand and step on the flowers with their feet. When full, the vessel is sealed and is filled with low pressure steam. Lavender water (or yield at around 10 years old. Lavender hydrosol), a by-product of essential oil production, is collected in a separate container. The essential oil rises above the water and is collected separately.
Lavender farms have a variety of sustainable practices. Most of the farms have solar panels to limit the usage of external power. The fields are rested for a season to maintain soil quality. The field are home to a thriving community of bees, sustaining bee population and pollination. Due to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, the lavender plant is extremely efficient at protecting itself from diseases and insects, limiting the use of pesticides. The wider community uses Lavender to make natural products and cosmetics such as soaps, dried flowers and candles.