If you didn't
know better, you'd think that fields of lavender could be seen only
in Provence, in the South of France.
Yet right outside
Montreal, we discovered Bleu Lavande, the second largest lavender
farm in North America, covering the hills of Applegrove, in Fitch
Bay, on the outskirts of Magog.
Our visit -
our first time in a lavender field - coincided with a warm and sunny
July day, ideal conditions for lavender, which dislikes the cold
Records of lavender
cultivation date as far back as 2500 BC. First used by Egyptians,
Phoenicians and Arabs, lavender spread from the Greeks to the rest
of Europe through the Romans, who were the first to call it lavender.
The etymology of the word is still disputed; does it come from the
Latin lavare, with reference to its use in perfuming baths or freshly
washed linen, or is it related to livere and livendulo, denoting
the purplish blue tint of its flowers?
to be the major area of lavender cultivation, though the plant is
now farmed in other European countries, and has spread to Australia,
Japan and the United States.
Our tour guide
turned out to be none other than Pierre Pellerin himself, owner
and operator of Bleu Lavande. A little over ten years ago, Pellerin's
doctor advised him that he needed rest and relaxation, so he bought
an empty tract of land near Lac Memphremagog and set about considering
what he might do with it. His goal was to become a gentleman farmer,
pottering about his fields in summer, and jetting south come the
seeing some purple flowers in the South of France; a Google search
brought up the word 'lavender'. Ten years, a handful of inventions,
a new love, and many voyages of discovery later, Pellerin is head
of the largest lavender farm in Canada.
operates without the use of pesticides or herbicides, and is the
only producer of True Lavender Essential Oil, as certified by the
International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The farm receives
thousands of visitors a year between May and October, who are treated
not only to a tour of the operations, but are free to picnic on
the grounds or even indulge in a lavender oil massage. Lavender
oil has many other properties, leading to its use as a relaxing
agent, a sedative, an insecticide, and even in antibacterial gels.
A cool compress with a few drops of lavender essential oil is an
effective headache cure. And, of course, the plant is widely used
in perfumes and lotions, prized for its complexity; true lavender
oil is made up of no less than 180 components.
romantic plant with a long history. How fortunate we are to have
Bleu Lavande's fields on our door-step!
by Deniz B. Bevan:
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