WNC program offers commercial lavender production workshop

Attendees participate in a workshopat  Lavender Ridge Farm, Reno.

Attendees participate in a workshopat Lavender Ridge Farm, Reno.

Fragrant lavender makes sense for Nevada’s small farms.

The niche crop provides sales opportunities in both value-added products and agritourism. Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute offers a Commercial Lavender Production workshop on July 28 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the WNC Carson Campus, 2201 W. College Parkway. The workshop includes classroom lecture and a tour of Campie’s Lavender Patch in Stagecoach. Cost is $25 for those registering by July 21, $35 afterward. Lunch is included. Online registration is available at http://www.wnc.edu/ce/sci/

Attendees will begin the day at Campie’s Lavender Patch where owners Mike and Diane van Camp will demonstrate planting and pruning techniques. In the classroom, featured speaker Andy Van Hevelingen will discuss the best varieties to grow, market considerations and the applications for different lavender scents, including samples of different varieties. He will demonstrate a simple small-scale distillation process using a microwave oven that can be used to test lavender quality.

Van Hevelingen is co-owner and manager of Van Hevelingen Herb Nursery in Newberg, Ore., established in 1982. He grows and sells more than 100 varieties of lavender and has developed several unique varieties. Van Hevelingen writes for several publications and is a popular lecturer on lavender and other herbs. Mike and Diane van Camp of Campie’s Lavender Patch have been growing lavender for almost a decade. With more than 30 varieties, they are Nevada’s premier source for lavender plants.

The Specialty Crop Institute has seen growing interest in commercial lavender production, and this is the fifth year for lavender workshops. Nevada’s high desert climate produces high quality lavender oil, which is used in culinary, cosmetic and medicinal applications. Commercial growers report that demand for American lavender oil is increasing due to adulteration of many imported oils. Most lavender is produced in Europe and Asia; however, the United States is one of the biggest users.

The WNC Specialty Crop Institute is an innovative program to provide training for Nevada’s high desert farms and ranches. Funding for this project is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

For information, contact Ann Louhela at 775-423-7565, ext. 2260 or email ann.louhela@wnc.edu.


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