The time to harvest lavender, in most cases, is dependent on the climate, the variety of Lavender and its intended use. Some varieties start to bloom in May, while other varieties wait until August. In the Lavender business, harvesting begins when the buds have formed on the plant and one or two of the flowers have opened. The reason for this, is that it minimizes shedding of the bud, making it easier for shipment. Most of what we harvest here at the Meadow of Lavender, we use in our oil and hydrosol production for fragrance. The fragrance in the stems and flowers do not decline until all the flowers have bloomed and begin to shrivel. We leave our fields blooming longer, and that blends very nicely in having visitors see the magnificent blooming lavender fields and participate in the farms activities.
Harvesting begins with the Oregon Lavender Festival, which is the second weekend in July. People can cut their own, or we can cut some bundles for them. I love showing people how to prune the lavender plants, drying techniques once the bundles are gathered, how to harvest the bud and the oil distillation process.
“The Main Harvest” (sometime in August), is filled with excitement, joy, companionship and celebration. Some people like making the wreaths, wands or baskets, others find delight in the fields with the cutting and pruning of the plants, some love carrying the bundles to the drying barn, while others like to help with hanging the bundles to dry, and still others are up at the shop to help with distillation. People of all ages, from great grandparents to the “wee” ones love to participate. And of course…we all partake in some great culinary delights.