The Traditions of Dalmatia: Harvesting Lavender

Central Dalmatia is rich in flora and fauna, but there is surely no more aromatic plant than lavender, which comes into bloom in late June and early July. Lavender bushes which are a duller green throughout the year blossom with their unique colour, and a wonderful aroma to match, and the lavender oil which is distilled from the harvest, is both therapeutic and highly prized.

But harvesting the lavender is not an easy job, especially in the baking hot summers under perfect blue skies that Central Dalmatia is known for. Spare a thought for previous generations, who had none of the modern luxuries and who would reach their fields by donkey.

The key to a successful lavender harvest is a very early start. By 07:00, it is already too hot for all but the seasoned worker. Here is a lavender field before the harvest – it is almost a shame to cut these beautiful plants, isn’t it?

The harvest itself is relative quick with the skilled hand, a sickle expertly gliding through the bunches of lavender. Once cut, the bunches are cut again to that only the top with the flower remains, and these are then taken in bags to the distillery, from where the precious oil is produced.

Not quite as pretty, but the heavenly aroma is all the more intense. Natural Dalmatia at its finest!