Lavender grows best in dry arid places in well-draining soil, sounds perfect for Anza, Ken and Claire Cashman thought. The couple were planning a vineyard in the Terwilliger area and like the one in France they enjoyed visiting, they were going to plant Lavender for erosion control.
While they waited for the vineyard to grow, they began to plant and study the uses for Lavender. There are some challenges to growing Lavender the couple found. There are only two types that grow well in Terwilliger that produce a good useable product. With the heat of the summer, the altitude and cool winters, Grosso and English Lavender were the two types found to thrive here. The other challenges to growing lavender is the way it is watered. Lavender cannot stand to be overwatered. It rots easily and because of this it does not tolerate being watered too close to its stem. The Cashman’s purchased the Grosso type of Lavender which does not propagate by seeds, only by cuttings. They soon learned to make and plant cuttings to multiply and grow the plants needed for their endeavor.
Now that the Cashman’s lavender has grown and thrived, they have begun to explore the viability of harvesting a Lavender crop and its many uses. Ken researched and found a way to use steam to distill the Lavender flowers, protecting its precious oil and hydrosol which is the product of distilling Lavender. The light yellow Lavender oil they distill is food, medicinal and cosmetic grade. The hydrosol is used for its aromatic medicinal properties. The oil is more precious because of its many uses; in cooking and traditional medicinal benefits.
For Claire Cashman and her husband Ken, discovering the many uses of Lavender oil and hydrosol has become a passion. From this a new business has sprung up called “Lavender Fields at Terwilliger.” Cosmetic salves and lotions, soap, lip balms, pain rubs, sprays, sachets and more have been developed by Claire utilizing her Lavender harvest.
Recently, Claire hosted an “Evening of Lavender” event at the School House in Minor Park in the heart of Anza. There Claire, her husband Ken and local sales representative Prisalla Jean-Louis shared to a room full of interested townspeople about the history and products developed by the Lavender Fields of Terwilliger brand. The group got to sample foods created using Lavender oil and view the other products Claire had created. The French traditionally use Lavender in cooking but it is not commonly used in America so for most in the room, this was the first time they had tasted food prepared using Lavender oil or flowers. It was surprising to most how good it tasted when used as a seasoning in food. Besides its many traditional uses, the smell of the Cashman’s Lavender products was very surprising. Most Lavender products purchased in a store have a distinct odor that reminds one of soap. The Cashman’s Lavender products do not as it is very pleasant; sweet smelling and soothing.
For now, the Cashman’s are exclusively using their own Lavender oil in their products and only selling a limited amount of food grade Lavender oil to a restaurant in Julian, Jeremy’s on the Hill. Jeremy’s on the Hill uses the fine food ingredients from local farms and ranches so the Cashman’s Lavender oil fits right in.
Jeremy’s on the Hill used the lavender oil in a lemon tart and Lavender lemonade that was served at the ‘Evening of Lavender’ event . Claire has also created a seasoning combo using her Lavender with other herbs that can be used to season chicken. The seasoning is for sale, along with Claire’s many other products created from their own Lavender grown about the vineyard.
The Cashman’s can see this becoming a great business, growing lavender for the area. Soon they hope to host a Lavender Festival at the vineyard.
You can keep up with Lavender Fields on Facebook or at times catch them at the swapmeet at the Anza Community Hall. Claire can be reached at email@example.com or call and leave message at (951) 501-9259.