At this point in the year, I can say that we've had a great lavender season. While fresh stems are basically done with, I've been busy lately with bud work. Rainfall has been scarce the last two months, and I'm thankful that lavender is drought-tolerant. So far, I have resisted the urge to irrigate. Lessons learned about harvest include the realization that next year I will need to employ additional help. I'm wondering if a "crop mob" scenario might work. Like most crops, lavender is time-sensitive. I am indebted to my mother, who spent countless hours on the barn porch bundling lavender. Always on the lookout for an opportunity to learn, she was excited to participate in the task, and she seemed pleased that in eight decades it was her first time helping with a lavender harvest. My mom noted that lavender smells better than tobacco, which she helped harvest during her youth.
I'm pretty excited about our new, homegrown, naturally-sweetened loose tea blend. This past spring I acquired a stevia plant. I wasn't too familiar with stevia, the plant, but was curious because it's commonly known as "sugar plant." I've discovered that it truly is sweet! I've seen the little packages of stevia in the supermarket and take issue with the words "all natural" on the label. Clearly, the white powdery stevia is processed and the ingredients list includes stevia extract, among other things. While I'm usually a stickler for unsweetened tea, many people prefer some sweetness so I decided to add stevia leaves to my herbal tea blend. All the herbs were carefully snipped right off the farm and dried in my kitchen. This Saturday, we'll have the loose tea, along with dried bundles and more, at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. Come visit!