Lavender Sommellier, who is a member of the International Perfume Foundation, awarded Lavender Wind Farm two awards for our oils!
It was around 2003 when we first distilled our lavender thanks to a lavender grower about a mile away from us. He had a Newhouse Mini-still that looked pretty big to me! I learned how to work the elaborate system, pay attention to the drops of oils visible in the distillate, and how to time the process to get the best oil I could. He was gracious enough to let me use his system for a couple of years until I was ready to get my own still. I opted for a human-scale still that was a rotating column still made out of 100% copper from Portugal. We now have four of those copper stills – Grandfather still, Papa still, Mama still, and Baby still. (Really, I am such a girl in some ways and Goldilocks has stuck with me.)
For the last two years we have been using Grandfather still, which is a rotating column still about 150 liters in size. It is so big we had to build a platform to get to get high enough to load the lavender. Here is a video of Sarah a few years ago, and then Farm Manager, Sydney, working on a batch.
We harvest the lavender fresh. The column and cap of the still hold about 90 lbs of lavender. From that we get about 18 to 26 ounces of lavender essential oil per batch, depending on the variety that we are distilling. We distill each variety separately.
You can come to the farm and watch us distill the lavender oil during the summer.