Cascina Cabasse has chosen Lavandula Angustifolia, otherwise known as English Lavender, characterised by its delicate fragrance and high quality standards, which distinguish it from other varieties of lavender.
The English Lavender plantation was created in June 2015 in the Cabasse area of Ceresole d’Alba, which falls within the Roero district of the province of Cuneo, in Piedmont, and covers a surface area of 3,810 square metres.
Lavender is a quite hardy plant, but requires attention if it is to survive over time. We presume that our lavender field will be fine for about ten years, and then we will have to plant another one. The plants are cultivated and treated exclusively with natural growing methods, without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides.
The lavender field extends in parallel rows planted two metres apart from each other, allowing easy access even with farm equipment. Each plant in the row is about 50 cm from the next one, allowing it the freedom to grow.
The flowers reach the end of the blooming period towards the end of June or the beginning of July, and this coincides with their balsamic peak. This is the perfect moment for picking the flowers and extracting the essential oil.
But who lets us know when the balsamic peak has been reached?
Honeybees, bumblebees, swallowtail butterflies and other pretty insects that populate the lavender field like a metropolis abandon it when the flowers stop blooming. This coincides with the balsamic peak and indicates that the time is right to pick the flowers and extract the essential oil.
Essential oil is obtained by steam distilling of the flowering tips.
Hot water produces steam, which forces its way through the plant matter inside a special container known as a still. The steam draws out the volatile particles contained in the raw material, also in the form of steam, and carries them with it. A cooling process condenses these volatile particles, transforming them into aromatic water and essential oil which separate due to their different specific weight. The average active distilling time varies from one to two hours.
We have a still with a capacity of 250 litres, which can process approximately 50/60 kg of flowers per cycle. The loading and unloading of the flowers in the still, the heating of the water to produce steam and the extraction of the essential oil take a total of three or four hours per distilling cycle. During the lavender harvest, we are currently able to carry out between three and four distilling cycles a day.
When the essential oil has been distilled and its safety datasheet drawn up, it is possible to proceed with the production of our cosmetic products.
Our top growing tips
Soil: lavender does not do well in very wet soils, so well-drained soil is essential. Make sure there is no stagnation if you want the plant to survive.
Position: in full sunshine, to guarantee beautiful flowers and a good perfume.
Spacing: maintain a distance of 40 to 50 cm between the plants.
Planting:it is advisable to plant the seedlings in the ground between the beginning of spring and the end of autumn. Beware of late spring frosts. Attention must be paid to drought at the height of summer.
Irrigation: lavender does not need a lot of water. It should be watered at least until it takes root firmly in the ground. It thrives in warm, sunny and dry conditions.
Pruning: to maintain the plant over time, it must always be pruned by the end of autumn. This encourages the development of new shoots and helps prevent the plant from becoming sparse and woody. Don’t worry about cutting the plant back, just avoid cutting the woody part.