Lavender Farm Field Trip

This past weekend we had the opportunity to visit and tour the Lavender Ranch, a local farm that organically and sustainably grows a variety of plants and botanicals, then distills them into essential oils.  The Lavender Ranch, Biggs, CA  I have been driving by this ranch for years and have always loved the scent of lavender wafting off the fields in the heat of an August afternoon.  Lavender Cookies at the Lavender Ranch

When hubby and I arrived at the ranch we began our tour at the gift shop, which was located inside their quaint old farm house! When first walking through the door, we were greeted with a gorgeous little stand in the corner offering free lavender cookies.  I don’t know why, but I thought eating the actual lavender would be a bit bitter, but these were delicious!  Inside the shop were beautiful displays, including almost an entire wall of hanging bunches of dried lavender for sale.  It smelled so good inside!  Also on display were lotions, salves, soaps and sachets – all for sale at reasonable prices.   bunches of dried lavender

We were so pleased to hear that they were giving guided walking tours of their lavender fields, and so we eagerly waited the fifteen minutes for the next tour to begin.

As our friendly tour guide gave us some statistics (the Lavender Ranch was started in 1983 and right now has 30 acres devoted to botanicals to make essential oils) and several uses for lavender oils (heals skin maladies, promotes circulation, improves digestion),  I couldn’t help but take deep, cleansing breaths while we walked through the fields. And knowing that they grow sustainably and organically, I was even more impressed!  The tour guide said they even had agreements with local farmers not to spray on windy days, so that there would be no over-spray of pesticides or chemicals on to the Lavender Ranch.  On the highway side of the ranch are signs along the right-of-way stating that the ranch is organic and to please not spray herbacides or pesticides in the vicinity!

Although their name implies that all they grow is lavender, such is certainly not the case.

Flowering Lemon Verbena

Flowering Lemon Verbena

I was in seventh heaven when our tour guide asked us to rub some leaves of the plants in the rows we were standing in……… lemon verbena!!  Oh!  My favorite scent of all scents!  I could bathe in it, sleep with it and eat it!  I wanted to literally sit right in the middle of the row of lemon verbena and take a nap, but I’m not sure the tour guide would have thought too kindly of me doing that!  😉   I love lemon verbena and I wasn’t aware that I could grow this plant myself!  Oh Joy!

And then the lavender!

Somehow, walking through these fields of lavender and verbena, I felt so at peace and at ease!  I know that the scent of lavender is supposed to be calming, but to actually walk in a field of lavender is something you just must do.  An experience of a lifetime!

Blooming Lavender

Blooming lavender

Among some of the other plants they grow and distill into essential oils are rosemary, german chamomile, peppermint, and clary sage!  They even had a 153 year old orange tree that they use to get an orange essential oil!  That tree was massive and is a daughter tree to the “Mother Orange Tree” found in Oroville, California.  What history!

In fact, the Lavender Ranch is only a part of the larger Bayliss Ranch which is known for the rice they grow, commercially marketed as Lattitude 40 (the approximate lattitude where the ranch is located).  We got to try some of the brown rice and it was wonderful – nutty but kind of fruity at the same time. The area where the Lavender Ranch is now sited used to be part of a large walnut orchard within the Bayliss Ranch.  With the use of drip irrigation and a lot of mulch, they now use only 10% of the amount of water that was once necessary when the land held walnuts!

But back to the Lavender Ranch tour.

Lemon verbena and Lavender

Lemon verbena (in the foreground) and Lavender

Our guide told us that it takes about 800 pounds of lavender to make 1 gallon of essential oil.  They use a steam distillation process with both a water phase and an oil phase.  The lavender that is grown at the ranch is a proprietory variety developed with UC Davis for a higher camphor content.  They propogate their own lavender in greenhouses right there at the ranch because each lavender plant is replaced at about 15 years of age.

A distiller for essential oils

A distiller for essential oils.

The medicinal uses of lavender are many.  Of course, I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be any type of a medical practitioner, but you can find so many resources on the internet and in books in your local library that hail praises for lavender.

In fact, I found a couple of websites and blogs that have a lot of information about lavender – just click on one of the links below and through the magic of technology you will be whisked away to their website!  No worries, though – you will be able to come right back to mine!   🙂

This one is great and has a lot of information:  How to make and use lavender flower extract by Frugally Sustainable,  and if you want to cook with lavender (who knew? not me!) you can click on this one:  Desserts using lavender by The Kitchn,   For the final fun site involving lavender, how about a recipe for home made playdough scented with lavender at The Chaos and the Clutter.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with my hubby and I on our field trip to the Lavender Ranch.  I just wish we were able to send the wonderful scents of all these botanicals from our computer to yours!

Thank you for all your comments, suggestions and questions – I try to answer every one!

 

Shared at these hoppin’ parties:   Nifty Thrifty TuesdayThe Gathering SpotTuesday Garden Party;Garden TuesdayTuesday GreensHealthy Tuesday HopBrag About It;  Love Bakes Good CakesTuesdays with a Twist;The ScoopTuesdays TreasuresTwo Cup Tuesday;  Make, Bake and Create;  Healthy2Day WednesdaysDown Home Blog HopCottage Style PartyWildcrafting WednesdayEncourage One AnotherWhat I Learned WednesdayWicked Awesome WednesdayLinky & DrinkyThe HomeAcre HopShare Your Cup Thursday;  Home and Garden Thursday;Fabulously Frugal ThusdayThriving ThursdaysSimple Lives ThursdayCatch A Glimpse Party

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26 thoughts on “Lavender Farm Field Trip

  1. What a beautiful and inspiring place! I’ve had no luck growing lavender in my garden, but I was out yesterday and a couple of my seedlings are actually growing! HOORAY! 🙂

    • I had a lavender plant once. It was planted by the landscapers who built our house, in clay without any soil amendments at all. Needless to say, with all the moving and settling in, I wasn’t able to pay attention to the landscaping, so within a couple of weeks that poor little thing died. Now I want to try it again, on my terms, in my properly tended soil, and with a lot of care! The Lavender Ranch was so inspiring and beautiful, I can’t wait to have some of my own! Thanks for stopping by Krista! I see you and your husband are goat farmers in Australia! Cool! Love your website.

    • Yes, this is a wonderful place! I am so glad I had the opportunity to visit and enjoy their tour! Thanks for stopping by, Alessa and Tammie!

  2. I absolutely adore my huge lavender plant. I use it to make lavender vinegar for cleaning. I cannot believe that it takes 800 lbs to make oil. I guess that dream will have to wait for a long while 🙂

    Thank you for sharing on A Humble Bumble’s Healthy Tuesdays Blog Hop. I hope you will join us again next week.
    Kerry from Country Living On A Hill

    • Yes, 800 pounds is a lot. But then, so is an entire gallon of essential oil! I hope to get my own itty bitty distiller some day and try making my own essential oils. You never know, it could happen! Thanks, Kerry.

    • I love Rosemary also! I am one of those people who are truly moved by different scents! Some make me happy, some make me sleepy – wait, now I sound like the Seven Dwarfs! Anyway – thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment!

    • The fragrance was amazing – and it was October! I can only imagine how heavenly it smelled in August! Thanks for stopping by, Daisy!

    • Hahaha! With a blog name like Lavender Dreams, I’m sure you enjoy the smell of lavender! I wish I could have taken you with me – it was like heaven on earth!

  3. Love lavender! The visit sounds delightful! I can just imagine the smell!
    We have a couple of laveders kicking around the back yard, and I have a lemon verbena under my bedroom window 🙂

    • Oh, I am jealous! I love, love lemon verbena and lavender! I guess I’m just going to have to plant some to see if I can grow it myself!

  4. What a blessings to have something so awesome in your own back yard (so to speak.) Yes, I can imagine it must have been very relaxing to stroll through those beautiful fields, thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist.

    • Yup – a blessing indeed! When I try my hand at soapmaking this winter (when life slows and calms down!) I am going to get some of their essential oils to scent my soaps! Can’t wait! Thanks, Joyce!

  5. Oh, I would sooo love to visit there – the fragrance had to be heavenly! Beautiful photos…I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

  6. Vicki,

    Finally got a chance to read this post. It has been up on my favorites list for weeks. I’ve just been so busy. I love lavender. I actually have a dozen plants now and, as you may have read in my latest post, made lavender and bay cologne for Christmas gifts this year. Thanks for sharing the fun links. Can’t wait to check them out. I hope they have a great recipe for lavender and rosemary cookies. I have been wanting to try that for ages. Happy New Year!

    • Oh – Lavender is one of my favorite scents – and lemon verbena! I am jealous that you have a dozen lavender plants and I can’t wait until I grow my own also! I don’t know where I saw a lavender and rosemary cookie recipe, but I know one of the blogs I have read in the last month had that very recipe on their site! I will be following along with your blog to see if you make those cookies and write about it! Thanks, Penny!

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