“We share the same philosophy,” says Jessie, who grows lavender for essential oils and other products on Pen-Y-Bryn Lavender Farm in western Maine with her husband, Charlie. “We’re devoted to utilizing as little resources as possible and creating something that is purely natural and good for people.”
Every summer Jessie and Charlie harvest more than 100 barrels of Phenomenal lavender. They haul each load to their adjacent barn and produce about 100 fluid ounces of oil over the next two months using Charlie’s old beer brewing equipment remade into a distillery generated by recently added solar panels. It’s a painstaking process, Jessie says, that supplements both of their educator’s salaries.
Most of the lavender becomes essential oils and water-based sprays. Ancillary products include lavender sugar scrubs, sachets, eye pillows and more. Then it’s off to local farmers markets and craft fairs.
The further they’ve developed their business, Jessie says, the more they’ve learned about the plant’s benefits.
Besides its fresh, sweet fragrance, lavender is known to sooth and relax. Essential oils can be used in cooking—think breads and cakes—and added to homemade laundry soap. Pen-Y-Bryn Lavender Farm’s linen sprays are mixed with witch hazel and water and have a lighter scent, an ideal natural fragrance for textiles.
Hydrosol, while part of the distillation process, is separated from the oil and serves as a multipurpose spray. “It’s the most incredible product,” Jessie says.
It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as facial toner, household cleaner and antiseptic.
“Cooking one time I burned my hand,” Jessie shares. “I sprayed some on and it instantly soothed the burn. It was such a realization that lavender can be so helpful in our life.”
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