Eat, Drink, Plant Lavender

Lamborn Mesa  fields

Lavender may be an ancient herb used by Egyptian, Greek, and  Roman cultures, but it is a new crop in Western Colorado.

In the spring of 2009, a small group of lavender enthusiasts explored growing the fragrant herb on the Western Slope—primarily in the Grand and North Fork Valleys.  They formed a nonprofit, the Lavender Association of Western Colorado, and began their cultivation journey with support from the Colorado State University Extension-Tri River Area (Counties: Delta, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray).

July 10-12, 2015 is the 5th Annual Lavender Festival, a celebration of the lovely buds that now thrive under in the semi-arid micro-climates of Western Colorado. The festival activities include: a chauffeured farm tour; a Feast in the Field dining experience; a park packed with demonstrations, vendors, and workshops; and a mapped out self-guided tour.

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Want to learn more? Here are a few Lavender FAQs:

History:

In ancient times lavender was used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptian’s, Phoenicians, and peoples of Arabia. During the Middle ages it was considered an herb of love and was used as an aphrodisiac.

In 1652, Culpeper recommended that “two spoonfuls of the distilled water of the flowers taken helpeth them that have lost their voice; as also the tremblings and passions of the heart, and faintings and swounings [sic].” England’s Queen Elizabeth I drank lavender tea to help ease her migraines, and during WWI, nurses bathed soldiers’ wounds with lavender washes.

Other historical uses include embalming corpses, curing animals of lice, taming lions and tigers, repelling mosquitoes, snuff flavoring, and as an ingredient in special lacquers and varnishes.

Herb:

  • Lavender is a member of the mint family.lavender drying racks
  • English Lavender, Lavendula angustifolia, is the most widely cultivated species (synonyms – L. vera, L. latifola, L. officinalis, L. spica, L. delphinensis).
  • Lavender oil contains up to 40% linalyl acetate and 30% linalol. Linalol is a terpene alcohol that is non-toxic to humans, yet naturally antimicrobial.
  • The potency of the lavender flowers increases with drying.

Culinary:

bee on lavender

bees love lavender

(Additional sources cited/quoted include “What’s Cooking America” Internet resource and NC State University)

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About jodibuchan

I am a journalist, fiction writer, poet, and developmental disabilities advocate (AKA Katie's Mom). Western Colorado Fruit & Wine: A Bountiful History is a book that will be published by the History Press in July 2015. DD Awareness is a site for caregivers and parents of children with DD. Jodi Buchan, Story Exploring LLC.

Posted on July 9, 2015, in A Bountiful History, Festivals, Food History, Heritage Tourism, Lavender and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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