About 25 years, ago my father was talked into growing lavender by Jeanie Rose, a well know aromatherapist from San Francisco. The first year, I remember cutting the lavender with my parents and brother and stuffing it all in the back of our old gold Volvo and driving it up to a brandy distillery outside of Ukiah . I slept the entire way.
After that year, my father decided to plant more as well as build his own distilling operation. Ever since then, every late July, our little valley is full of the smell of lavender being harvested. This year was no different.
My brother flew home to help cut and run the still. Once you get things going it is hard to stop, so the process becomes a six or seven day affair. Friends and family come by to cut or just sit and talk with us as the distilling moves along. While one person is cutting or weighing the lavender, the other is watching over the still and replacing buckets once they are filled with lavender hydrosol and lavender oil.
The lavender field is certified organic with most l the hydrosol going to Prima Fleur Botanicals, a prestigious company in Novato, California, that creates products for resorts and spas around the world and has been our principle buyer from the beginning.
We are also in the process of creating our own Rancho San Julian Lavender product line of oil, hydrolsol and soaps. Available soon in our online store!
Please be sure to check out Gatherings for upcoming events. We hope to host you on the Ranch soon!
Photos by Elizabeth Poett