Lavender at Meander River Farm
The sight of a lavender field in full bloom was our inspiration to grow lavender. We felt that there was nothing as beautiful visually or aromatically. If they could do it in France, so could we… In 2006 we planted our first 350 Munstead plants and as they grew we added varieties such as Hidcote and Lady that were also hardy to our climate zone here in Nova Scotia. Today we include Grosso, Twickle Purple and Seal in our gardens. At Meander River Farm we are always experimenting with new varieties in our test beds for their unique characteristics and hardiness.
Lavender the plant
Lavender is a member of the mint family and has been used for centuries for it’s fragrant oil that has many uses. Medicinally, lavender oils have been used to relieve headaches, insomnia, skin irritations, insect bites and as a minor antiseptic. The effects of this heady scent is also used to advantage in bath and beauty products. In recent years, lavender’s culinary uses have become increasingly popular. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean area and requires full sun, good drainage and plenty of air circulation. There are many different varieties of lavender available for every growing situation with varying degrees of hardiness.
Here in Nova Scotia, we grow hardy lavenders also known as English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Lavandins (Lavandula X Intermedia). Within this group there are many varieties that include different colours, scents and sizes. Tender lavenders such as Spanish Lavender,( Lavandula stoechas), French Lavender,( Lavandula dentata) and some Lavandins, are best grown in pots outside in the summer and brought inside to overwinter.
Hops at Meander River Farm
Since our university days in the 80′s and the explosion of Micro Breweries on the scene, we have wanted to be a part of it. When we purchased the family farm in 2004 the dream finally had room to grow. In 2009 we planted our first test bed of 500 plants and haven’t looked back. We enlisted 3 pigs to clear an area of blackberry brambles to house the Lilac Dell and found that they clear land, till it and fertilize as they go. They became the backbone of our yearly expansions in the hop yard.
Hops the Plant
Hops (Humulus lupulus) are a member of the cannabis family and have many uses other than being a major component in the brewing of beer. Throughout the centuries, the strong fibres of the hop bines have been used for paper, rope making and for dye. Hops, like lavender, have medicinal properties as well. They have been used in the treatment of liver and digestive complaints and have a mild sedative effect. The young hop shoots may be harvested in the spring and steamed like asparagus or pickled. Care must be taken with animals as hops are toxic to dogs and ingestion may result in life threatening hyperthermia.
Hops are a perennial plant that is grown around the world. They are herbaceous vines that climb higher than 18 feet in the course of a season, produce flowers (cones) and die back to the ground to prepare for their cycle to start again next year. Our hops are grown on a 16ft trellis system that enables them to twine upwards.They tolerate most climates but are bothered by high humidity and poor drainage.Today at Meander River Farm we have one hectare under cultivation with 8 different varieties including Cascade, Centennial, Nugget, Brewers Gold, Newport, Galena, Zeus and Pearl. There are many different varieties and all are valued for the special aroma and bittering qualities they bring to beer.
Our hops are available for sale to home brewers and breweries alike. Culinary items include seasonings, candy pops and truffles. Hand made soap using hop essential oil and hydrosol are also available for the true hop enthusiast. Hop garlands are available in August and September for special occasion decorating.
Meander River Farm currently raises pork and poultry in a natural pastured environment with no hormones or antibiotics. In addition to naturally foraging for food, the livestock are fed spent grain, a bi-product from the brewing process, and non-medicated commercial feed.
At Meander River Farm, we are continually developing new products that incorporate lavender. Some of these include peppers, salts and sugars for culinary use and shortbreads and chocolates for a special treat. Bath and body products include handmade soap, hand cream, bath salts, shower gel. Our linen spray, and essential oil is distilled here at the farm. We also have long stemmed lavender bouquets for weddings.
Here at Meander River Farm we craft one of a kind items for the home and garden using recycled and found items. Much of the wood we use has been saved from our 200 year old house in Ashdale, Hants County. We consider it an honour to upcycle hand hewn timbers and mouldings into unique creations, leaving wood as bare as possible so it’s aged beauty can be seen as we add a bit of history to every day objects. Each item is unique and limited to materials on hand. These items change as material and inspiration strike.
Our line of Home And Garden products includes: Bird Houses, Checkerboards, Game Boards, Chalk Boards, Candles, Trays, Mirrors, Painted Floor Mats, Back Door Benches, Trellises, Boot Benches, Fire Starter Buckets and more.
The many benefits of lavender
Sleep and Stress
Lavender is well documented as one of nature’s most effective remedies for sleeping disorders. The calming scent has a strong tonic effect on the central nervous system, and has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels. Bath soaps and infusions are a great way to relax with lavender!
The essential oil from the lavender plant is one of the best natural remedies for acne and other skin ailments. The oil possesses very strong anti fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help protect the skin from infection. The oil also helps to heal and reduce scarring. Our hydrosol products are a great way to help protect your skin!
Lavender has long been a remedy for a number of health problems. The essential oil is an effective means of combatting colds, flus, and other respiratory infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been known to help reduce joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
Our learning center
We strive to be an integral and active member of our community. Our learning center offers the latest news from here on the farm, but also features exciting developments from around the province! Check in for regular updates and if you have any interesting stories that you would like to share, please let us know!