IF, like me, you have memories of the scent of lavender from your childhood, you would love a visit to the world famous Jersey Lavender Farm. Every drawer you opened in my mum’s bedroom when I was young released the unmistakeable aroma of lavender and I had always been keen to discover exactly how it was farmed.
Jersey’s gentle, sunny climate, clean sea air and the free-draining, sandy soil provide an ideal environment for lavender which, in turn, produces some of the sweetest and highest-quality essential oil to be found.
Jersey Lavender Farm in St Brelade was founded nearly 30 years ago, and I spent an enjoyable couple of hours discovering how the harvested lavender is distilled on site, and strolling through the lavender fields. I didn’t quite manage to cover it all as there are nine acres and 55,000 plants, which is quite astonishing when you realise that this aromatic crop has to be hand-tended throughout the year!
It’s a family run business and they grow, harvest and distil lavender to produce pure lavender essential oil. It’s the key ingredient in their range of toiletry and perfume products. You’ll also find eucalyptus, bay laurel and cypress on the farm and they are grown and distilled and their oils used in the same way.
Did you know that you can buy lavender flavoured foods? Sheila Kavanagh from Bray in County Wicklow was stocking up on culinary lavender and lavender sugar when I met her in the shop.
“My daughter, Helen, asked me to bring her back lavender for cooking.”
I have to confess that I stocked up on few items in the shop myself and had a really enjoyable and peaceful afternoon wandering through the beautiful lavender fields. Make sure you time your visit for one of their talks in the distillery. You’ll end up smelling lots of different oils and learning lots of fascinating facts about the whole process. It was a really interesting end to a great visit.