Celia Lindsell sources her lavender from the southern slopes of Mont Ventoux, Provence. The lavender is grown at high altitude which produces it strong fragrance. This is a protected region and Lavender growing is part of a long tradition here. This is where lavender started growing to supply the, not so far away, famous perfumeries in Grasse in the 19th Century.
Every year, around the beginning of July the countryside is transformed with the colour of lavender fields in bloom. It is like someone has rolled out a giant blue carpet to cover the hills and countryside around.
In these relatively small farm holdings Celia Lindsell’s suppliers either specialize in the production and sale of the lavender flowers or the distilling of the lavender oil.
Celia Lindsell’s Pure Essential Lavender Oil is sourced from a 3rd generation farming family. Sylvie has lived here all her life, as have her parents and their parents before them. It looks like an idyllic spot, a cluster of houses, surrounded by lavender fields. But life here is hard, the terrain is poor and the wind blows most days, however these are ideal conditions for lavender, as the plant loves the rocky, chalky soil of these parts. Sylvie and her father produce the oil in the traditional method in their distillery, which is nowadays a rarity to find.
In late June, early July, when the lavender is in flower, they cut the plants halfway down the stem and then lay the cut bunches on top of the stubble to dry out for a few days. (This is a process often missed in non-traditional methods, which leaves rather an unpleasant grassy smell in the oil). Next the bundles are gathered and placed into a huge distilling drum and pressed down with a stone.
The lavender stalks from a previous pressing are loaded into the furnace to create the fire to heat the water to distil the lavender. Nothing is wasted and no surplus energy used.
The lavender flowers used in Celia Lindsell’s lavender bags, pillows and doorstops come from a neighbouring farm. This farm is the last building before reaching the summit of Mont Ventoux. Evelyn runs it. When we first visited the farm there were 4 generations living under the same roof. Evelyn’s grandmother, mother, herself and her daughter.
In the corner of a large barn a wooden machine shakes the lavender flowers free from the stalks. The smell in this barn is extraordinary. Rich, pungent and calming.
For those wishing to visit the spectacle of the Lavender fields in flower there is a Lavender Route which you can take, that leads you through the lavender fields and passes the shops and stalls that sell lavender products alongside the road and you can also visit participating farms and distilleries.
Well worth a visit.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT LAVENDER
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR RANGE OF LAVENDER PRODUCTS