After a week of torrential rain, today was cool and sunny -- and our first official harvest day. Probably an unusually late date for a lavender harvest, but that’s lavender farming in San Diego county. In addition to harvesting the lavender, we also attempted essential oil distillation for the first time and I attempted pruning for the second time. Though we made some progress, both need to be improved.
First the distillation. Mark and I have been looking at distillation systems for about a year now and they are very expensive. A small tabletop essential oil extractor costs several hundred dollars and the larger ones cost thousands. So we’ve been watching youtube videos and trying to figure out how we could put something together ourselves. Luckily, Mark is both a talented engineer and had already invested in beer making supplies, many of which we could use for our still so we gathered the supplies over the last weeks and he put it all together. Here then is an explanation of how this process works (as far as I understand it) along with how we created our own system:
Attempt #2 will take place tomorrow, so we'll see if our adjustments yield different results. If anything, it was a lot of fun planning and working together on this. I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow!
The less exciting part of the day was the pruning. Last year I felt like my lavender pruning was the equivalent of giving a dog a bad haircut so I was determined to do better this year. I got one row harvested and pruned, and although I did better than last year, I still need to improve if these plants are going to look decent for the winter and spring.
Over these last few months I’ve also been practicing my wreath making and have improved in this area as well. The only challenge is how to mail them if I sell them online. I’m going to try sending a few to friends and family and see how they do -- and then make a decision at that point. It may just have to be a Farmer’s Market item rather than an online item. Either way, they're a lot of fun to make and I love giving them away!
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife, English teacher, writer, and lavender farmer who lives in Dundee Oregon .