08 Jul 2010

Some farmers are actually starting growing lavender in Tuscany and here are a few things I have discovered about it so far.

So… there actually is lavender in Tuscany

Lavender in Tuscany

I am still working on the itinerary for the Canadian crew which is supposed to come film lavender fields and olive groves on Sunday. I have to say that this has been a really interesting experience because I have had a chance to look at the area of Tuscany where we live with different eyes and I have found out that… as a matter of fact… there are a few farms actually growing and processing lavender!

I have always told our guests that lavender is used in gardens but not as a proper cultivation as in Provence, but looking for places to film I have discovered that over the last few years several farmers have started cultivating lavender.

Today I have visited another of these farms, and beside the stunning location on the top of a hill overlooking on one side the plains of the Maremma down to the coast and on the other the Val d’Orcia hills and the Monte Amiata, this is what I have learnt:

  • lavender is a plant that doesn’t need much work, except for keeping the fields clean. It doesn’t need to be watered, quite the opposite: it dies if the soil is too humid.
  • it is in bloom in early to mid July.
  • it is used to make many products such as lavender extract, body creams, detergents and soaps. It is also used dried as a perfume for wardrobes and underwear.
  • bees love it, so it’s the ideal setting for beehives where an excellent honey is produced (I was given a jar!)
  • apparently my dog loves it too… she must have sniffed every single bush!!!
  • there are different types of lavender, that differ in the shape of the leaves and flowers but also in their colour (more or less purple/bluish) and smell.
  • in the Maremma there is a variety of wild lavender that grows spontaneously: people who decide to grow lavender look for the presence of spontaneous plants before planting the “domestic” variety to see if the terrain is potentially good.
  • selling lavender and lavender products in Italy is very difficult. Apparently the larger factories who make lavender-based products don’t buy flowers from the local producers. Only 10% of what they need comes from Italian lavender farms and the rest is imported. However since the transformation is carried out in Italy, they still have the right to say that their products are made in Italy…

If you want to discover how lavender is grown and processed in Tuscany, contact us! We can arrange half day and full day visits to several lavender farms!

Comments

  1. Chef Chuck

    Beautiful!!

  2. There are also several lavendar farms in chianti- making essential oils, soaps etc.
    For years I have bought a fabulous cream from one of them.
    Not provence for sure– but I do think that Italy does not promote much what they do and so much is really “Hidden Treasures”

  3. That’s right! Not even to the locals! This lady was telling me that she has a really hard time selling her lavender in Italy because most big manufacturers buy abroad for a few eurocents and then package here. That’s bad.

    She has also fruit trees with “ancient fruits”, fruits that are not common anymore, and an olive grove where she has planted old varieties of olive trees that are original of the area and being less productive types are disappearing.

    A very cool place!

  4. So cool! Makes for such beautiful photos too. Are these open for visit if one just stops by?

  5. Chris

    wow, i didn’t knew that in tuscany exist some lavendar fields!
    Been once a year in Valensole (Provence) sure it’s not the same. For years I have bought a fabulous shower gel from one of the farmers in Valensole. But for sure i will check it out and have a look! thanks for the information!!!

  6. Really nice blog post (in Italian) about lavender in Tuscany.
    http://melissamuldoon.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/• lavanda-e-miele

    • I am looking for a quantity of dried lavender stems for an event in Tuscany. Do you know where I can order them from and have sent to the venue.

      • You need to contact a florist.

  7. It would be great to see those fields up close. i once saw them from a bus but it was just beautiful… I am doing things with my own lavender bushes. see it here:
    http://imotylek.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-to-dry-lavender.html

Trackbacks

  1. [...] too; though most think of Provence and the south of France when they think of the purple plant, it grows on a few farms in central Italy as well. And let’s not forget about the food: the region is perhaps known for its pork [...]

  2. [...] too; though most think of Provence and the south of France when they think of the purple plant, it grows on a few farms in central Italy as well. And let’s not forget about the food: the region is perhaps known for its pork [...]

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