|field of lavendin|
In less than an hour the woes of London were far behind me, even unreliable Southern Rail behaved and the train actually turned up and kept to schedule.
It was a glorious day as we drove through the lovely countryside and passed through quaint English villages until we reached the lavender farm. Wow. Our timing was perfect, it is just a week or two away from harvest so the fields were looking their picture postcard best.
Hop Exchange. Times change and for the family farm to remain viable they needed to diversify. Beef, apples, dried flowers and honey are among the new products, but the biggest crop is lavender covering 85 acres making it the largest lavender farm in the UK.
|field of lavender|
To get a closer look at the fields and learn about the behind the scenes workings of the farm we took the one and half hour tour. Starting in a magnificent field of lavendin with a flower stem in hand gently squeeze the flower bud to get the full nest of the scent, then off to an equally grand field of lavender to learn the difference between the two. Well what is the difference you ask? A rather big one actually. Lavender is what we traditionally know, what our grannies put in the underwear draw, the little sachets under the pillow to help you sleep. Yes it is a relaxant. Lavendin on the other hand does the exact opposite, it is a stimulant and has a much stronger camphor smell. Then it was off to the distillery to learn how the oil is extracted and the various products that are made. Oils, balms and essences. Medical uses and culinary uses. Who knew that lavender was such a versatile crop. Then it was a quick exit through the gift shop and off to explore more of the countryside, but that's for another post.