As The Tea And Hat Lady, yesterday I had the pleasure of attending The Rosemary House (www.therosemaryhouse.com) Traveling Herb Seminar #86. A trip to three Pennsylvania Lavender Farms. We visited Carousel Lavender Farm (www.carouselfarmlavender.com) in Mechanicsville, Pa; Peace Valley Lavender Farm (www.peacevalleylavender.com) in Doylestown, Pa; and Hope Hill Lavender Farm (www.hopehilllavenderfarm.com) in Pottsville, Pa, with each providing a specific picture of the types and sizes of today's artisan lavender farmers.
After hearing the detailed lectures of all three Lavender Farmers, I found it interesting the similarities of farming lavender to farming tea. What struck me first was the amount of raw plant it takes to create the end product. With lavender you need approximately eleven pounds of flower and stem to produce one ounce of lavender oil which is very close to the ten pounds of fresh leaves, about 12,000 shoots to produce two pounds of tea.
Looking out over the fields of lavender a tea person is instantly reminded of the Japanese tea gardens with their rows and rows of rounded plants. The difference being that the rounded mounds of lavender are a creation of nature while the rounded rows of Japanese tea are created by the plucking/harvesting process. In the case of lavender it is generally always harvested by hand using a sickle or scissors. Today in some countries machines are used for harvesting tea whenever the terrain of the tea garden permits but some specialty teas are still harvested by hand to guarantee the uniqueness of the ending tea.
Both plants are extremely intoxicatingly aromatic, especially during the harvesting and processing stages. One has only to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation during tea harvesting to embrace the heavenly sweet yet green aroma of tea. This aromatic characteristic of the plant is what initially attracts us.
The wellness benefits and uses of either or both plant must account for a great deal of their resurgence in today's society as both have been available for hundreds (if not more) years. Each lavender farmer emphasized the wellness uses of lavender from treating burns to being a household cleaning product. Whereas lavender appears to be product of nature that is used primarily externally, tea delivers its benefits internally.
Of course, let us not overlook the fact that many times these two herbs do and can work together to provide wellness and culinary benefits. Once again, nature has provided plants that can be used to heal, enhance, and calm our spirits.
Here's to dropping a few lavender buds in your cuppa tea,
The Tea And Hat Lady