A visit to the Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm in Quebec
Hard to believe, but in the Cantons de l'Est in Quebec the scent of lavender is in the air. At least at Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm in Fitch Bay Quebec, lavender is grown to extract the oils from the plant. Admittedly, in Canada's harsh climate, treating lavender to survive the harsh winters wasn't easy. These are characterized by frosts and temperatures well below zero degrees. Patrick Samson, the owner of Bleu Lavande, the lavender farm in Fitch Bay Quebec, can tell you a thing or two. "It was difficult at the beginning," he laughs, a huge understatement.
Lavender growing in Quebec is difficult
The first attempts to grow lavender in Quebec failed miserably. Patrick had traveled to the lavender growing regions of the world. There he wanted to learn as much as possible about the cultivation methods. Armed with this knowledge, in 1999 he began building the heart of what is now the Bleu Lavande lavender farm, the distillery. He already had the building materials for it on site. He used hemlock wood. These grow on his property. It took two years to clear the land and prepare the fields. In 2002 he planted 70.000 lavender plants in his fields.
Then disaster struck: in the winter of 2002, temperatures were well below average. There was hardly any snow. Conditions that made fears of the worst possible. That's how it was: in the spring of 2003, 80% of the plants were destroyed.
A fresh start at Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm in Quebec
But Patrick Samson didn't give up: he and his team rolled up their sleeves and saved 10.000 plants. In July of this year they planted 15.000 new plants. They cherished and cared for them throughout the summer. They wanted to make them strong enough to survive the Quebec winter. To minimize the danger, they covered the lavender fields with straw before the onset of winter.
The work paid off: in the spring of 2004, the lavender plants survived the winter cold well. The development of Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm could begin. Today the farm is the only certified producer of lavender oil in all of Canada. More than 100.000 lavender plants thrive in the fields.
The scent of lavender at Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm
We smell it as soon as we park our car in the parking lot in front of the store. The scent of lavender is so intense that it inevitably lures us into the store. There we meet Patrick, who greets us and sends us out into the fields. "You're two weeks early," he says. “The plants don't flower until mid-July. But you can already guess what it will look like then.” He's right, you can already see the blossoms that make lavender fields so attractive in summer.
A field of lavender
A field extends from the shop and the distillery to the edge of the forest. The lavender bushes grow in straight rows on it. In a greenhouse we get an idea of how beautiful it must be when this field blooms in blue. In it, lavender was planted in pots in which the plants were already flowering. It smells intense. But the blue of the flowers is even more beautiful. How beautiful it must be when the whole field looks like this. A reason to come back a little later in the year? Certainly.
What you need to hike through the lavender fields
Back in the shop we discover what Patrick makes with these blossoms. In the shop there are soaps, shampoos, shower gels, oils and much more. Everything smells wonderful of this plant. A feast for the senses.
Bleu Lavande Estate
891, chemin Narrow (route 247)
Stanstead (Fitch Bay) Qc, Canada, J0B 3E0
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Source Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm in Fitch Bay Quebec : On-site research supported by Tourism Quebec. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline