Let it snow!

Let it snow! - January 14, 2016

We've just gone through a few weeks of getting some snow fall in the region. This is great news for our crops and farming in general. 2015 was a hot and dry year, and while we had water from Spring through to Summer harvest, the early, long and persistent heat did reduce yields somewhat, but the outlook for 2016 is very good! The snow actually provides a protective cover for the annuals (mints, lavenders etc) from potential very low temperatures... Read More »

'Ol Smokey

'Ol Smokey - September 18, 2015

You may have seen a photo or two of 'Ol Smokey while looking around our website. If you missed him, here's the story Jim St. Hilaire started farming in the Lower Yakima Valley in 1954 with just 10 acres. Jim worked hard and grew his farm, which meant as time went on he had to improve and update his equipment. One of his first expansion purchases was buying a John Deere General Purpose Model-B tractor. It doesn't look like much now compared the ... Read More »

Hey! Cooked hay!

Hey! Cooked hay! - September 17, 2015

We've been asked before about what do we do with all the leftover plant material after it's been "cooked" by the steam? And how do you get it out of the wagons? Good questions! Wellwe have to put it somewhere and it contains Nitrogen and other nutrients that are good for the soil. After steam distillation the "cooked hay" as we call it is hot and heavy. At our Yakima Valley farm a wagon is taken from the still and back out to a field and tipped ... Read More »

Dill Weed - Bronze & Go!!

Dill Weed - Bronze & Go!! - July 02, 2015

Dill Weed harvest is starting! Usually mid-July is the start of harvest; fields are mostly green with some bronzing happening. Depending on the maturity of each field we will select which ones to start the cut and windrow step first. With some fields the edges are ready to go first, so we will harvest the perimeter of one field then continue on to another, returning to the first field a few days later, depending on when the rest of it is ready to... Read More »

Lavandin Grosso - essential oil in the flowers

Lavandin Grosso - essential oil in the flowers - July 01, 2015

American Lavandin Grosso! Lavandin Grosso ( lavandula x intermedia ) is a hardy plant that grows quite large. Our fields are disease free and produce a wonderfully balanced essential oil. Oil of Lavandin grosso naturally contains linalool, linalyl acetate and camphor. It is used in all kinds of personal care items such soaps, detergents, lotions etc. As with any of our crops, timing is everything! Here's our president, Carl St. Hilaire, one late ... Read More »

Green Seed Dill Weed!

Green Seed Dill Weed! - June 23, 2015

This is more like it! Spring is definitely gone and we're in the heat of summer! The yellow flower stage is passed and the dill weed is so thick and tall that we can no longer move the wheel lines (for irrigation) through the fields! At full height it can be anywhere from 4' (1.22m) to 6' (1.83m) and is extremely difficult to walk through! Most of the oil is in the seed and as you can see from this photo this plant is full and healthy! It's not ... Read More »

Dill Weed - early June

Dill Weed - early June - June 08, 2015

Dill Weed - the yellow flower stage. As the dill weed matures through its life cycle, there's a point when the stems are rich green and the flowing heads are vibrant yellow, blanketing our fields full of color during sunny summer days on our farms. It's not yet ready for harvest, but is very fragrant none the less. The flowering head will soon begin to close and develop into a seed, and the seed is where a lot of the essential oil is locked away... Read More »

Dill Weed from the air

Dill Weed from the air - June 01, 2015

Early June... One of the ways we check on the progress of our crops is to hop into one of our planes and take to the sky! This shot taken Spring 2015 at our Yakima Valley/Wapato farm. This dill weed field (on the left) is looking nice! It is showing a good "stand" (meaning good seed germination) and has an even blanket throughout. The darker color stripe you see running through the center is the irrigation wheel line moving across the dill. The ... Read More »

Coming into land!

Coming into land! - June 01, 2015

Coming into land! After taking the morning to fly around our farm checking on the various crops, we now have got to come back down to earth! It's OK, though, Bob is an expert and experienced pilot! His father, Jim St. Hilaire - founder of the farm back in 1955, also used a plane for years to take to the skies to get a better look at his crops! On board entertainment, anyone... Read More »

Lavandin Grosso - late May

Lavandin Grosso - late May - May 27, 2015

Late May, Lavandin Grosso. This is a frame capture from our GoPro camera video footage. It shows the purple flowers just beginning to come out of their buds. There's a LOT of growing that happens between now and harvest. The stems grow and the flowers multiply as the sun draws them out, but right now they're so small the air is not yet filled with that familiar lavender aroma and only a few bees are checking in on it. We have great soil for ... Read More »

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