Jersey Lavender Farm
- a worthwhile visit to see how Lavender Oil is made.
If you are visiting Jersey the largest of the Channel Islands a visit to the Jersey Lavender Farm will be worthwhile. On a recent visit to Jersey, I spent several hours there looking around the farm and watching a demonstration of the distilling process. Our demonstration was performed by the business owner Alastair Christie, in a very clear, informative and entertaining way.
Alastair explained how they came to grow Lavender as a family business starting back with his parents in 1983. I won't relate the story here, but you can read more on the website click here or better still visit the Jersey Lavender Farm yourself and listen to it directly! Talks are at 11:30 am and 3:00 pm each day. The website will give you more details so do check before you visit.
Lavender is grown and harvested with some of the crops being dried for other products. The rest is used to produce lavender oil. The process used to extract the oil is distilling and as Alastair explained it is similar but not as complicated as that used for whiskey. During the demonstration that I observed they were distilling Eucalyptus as the lavender harvest was still some way off.
Lavender Oil has many benefits
Lavender oil is very good for helping people to relax, treat migraines, soothe sunburn, and insect bites, antibacterial uses and much more. It is also a key ingredient in many everyday products such as perfumes and toothpaste. Here are Alastair's 10 Top uses of Lavender oil.
You can see the distilling equipment in my photograph. The whole process takes place in a relatively small building.
In the distilling process, the plant leaves are put in a wire basket and placed into what essentially looks like a boiler. Steam draws out the oil which is carried in the steam out of this container to the condenser. We know that oil and water don't mix so once the process is completed the oil is separated from the water leaving the oil, in this case, eucalyptus oil ready for the next stage. It takes a lot of plants to produce a small amount of oil. The yield for lavender is between 0.4% to 0.7% of the weight used.
Lavender Oil - made with care and time
Once the lavender oil has been collected, it then goes through a maturing process which takes 6 months. The oils at Jersey Lavender Farm tend to be used one to two years after distillation. Jersey Lavender Farm produces many products themselves using lavender oil and dried lavender. You will find these on their website. For some products such as soap and perfumes, they send their lavender oil to producers who then make these for them. The business is very much low-tech and hands-on which is good to see in this modern automated, robotic age in which we live.
Put your nose to the test!
I found my visit to be very informative, and indeed educational. It is well worth allowing time so that you can listen to the talk and demonstration. You might even want 'a bite to eat' in the excellent cafe.
Part of the pleasant gardens at Jersey Lavender
The setting for the farm is charming, and you can walk through the grounds and around the lavender fields. There are also some friendly chickens to entertain you! If you are visiting Jersey then do schedule a trip to the Jersey Lavender Farm, you will not be disappointed.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my experience at The Jersey Lavender Farm.