Like many harvests, lavender harvest is a timely event. Not only does it revolve around the rhythm of lavender blooms, but it also depends on daylight, temperature and rain.
Lavender harvest is a special time of year at the farm in that, as the weather starts to heat up, the pace picks up, too.
There’s a buzz, and it’s not only coming from the bees (who LOVE buzzing from sprig to sprig, collecting nectar from blooming lavender buds). There’s a buzz coming from every which way – from busy farm workers to excited lavender enthusiasts visiting the farm during one of the most beautiful times of the year.
Here’s how it goes
We rise bright and early to greet our lavender fields as soon as it’s light outside. Once it’s light enough to see, the clock starts ticking – Come late morning, around 10am, it’s too hot to harvest, and we have to wait until the next day to pick up where we left off.
Why does the warmth of the day matter so much?
It’s not because we don’t want to be out in heat of day, but rather because the quality of our lavender would be diminished if we were to harvest it in the heat of day.
Our cool, high desert nights make for cool mornings. During the first few hours of the day, blooming lavender buds are full of the potent oils that gives the herb its aroma (and its superpowers).
However, as it begins to warm, the oils we love begin to leave the buds (as volatile organic compounds) and drift into the air.
So, by harvesting early, while it’s still cool outside, the lavender we harvest retains more oil, making for a higher quality product.
Using hand sickles, we harvest by hand, on bundle at a time, one plant at a time. We create bundles in the field, collect all the bundles as soon as we’re finished, then head straight for the drying room to hang each bundle upside down, one by one.
But, we can’t take all summer!
At Sage Creations Organic Farm, we grow many different varieties of lavender, each with varying bloom habits and bloom times.
By paying close attention to what each variety is up to, we can determine the best time to harvest, and make our way through all the fields while still harvesting all the lavender at its peak time.
When is lavender ready for harvest?
In early spring, lavender plants come back from dormancy, putting out green foliage and stems. Later in spring, buds form and then begin to take on color. For a few more weeks, these buds grow but remain closed.
Finally, at the end of spring and into the beginning of summer, the lavender buds open, and we start to see the flower petals.
This is an ideal time to harvest – when the buds begin to open and put out their beautiful little flowers, but before the spike has bloomed completely.
If we wait for all the flowers to open, little oil remains in the lavender.
Harvesting lavender in a timely manner is essential to cultivating high quality lavender products that keep their aroma and medicinal content for a long time.
With the birds and the bees rising early alongside us, looking out at the Bookcliffs and the Grand Mesa as we harvest bundles of lavender, it’s a special time of year, indeed.
Join us at the farm for U-Pick Lavender and see for yourself. We recommend mornings, of course.