Harvesting and Distilling Lavender
Mario wakes up extremely early (!) in harvesting season to ensure the lavender is harvested in the morning before loading it into the distillation vessel.
If a large amount of lavender is to be harvested then Mario will use a Tea Picker, otherwise you will often see him harvesting by hand using a strawberry sickle.
You can view the Tea Picker havesting in this video
The lavender is placed into a stainless steel pot and when full, the pot is sealed, and low-pressure steam is introduced into the bottom of the vessel.
The steam then boils the lavender essential oil off the plant material as it works its way up through the charge. The steam exits the vessel through a copper pipe that is fed through a condenser which cools the steam, returning it to a liquid form called the condensate. This is subsequently fed into the separator.
The lavender water known as hydrosol, discharges through a separate orifice situated below the oil surface where it is collected in a separate container. The essential oil, being lighter than water, rises to the surface of the condensate, and is collected. This essential oil is then used in all of our lavender products. These products can be viewed and tested inside the cafe.
Listen as Mario explains the distilling process