Here at C Squared, we put a lot of consideration into what goes into our cider (and also what does not go into it). For this first blog I want to introduce people to Robert Touslee, whose lavender goes into our Lila cider. Robert is a cider fan and came sniffing around C Squared before we were even open. He grows some heirloom cider apple trees on his property near Denver, and he also helped source the Colorado harvested honey that goes into Lila as well. I asked Robert a few questions about his lavender, which smells and tastes amazing.
C2: How long have you been growing lavender and what inspired you to start?
Robert: We live nearby, and realized this particular property is one the last remaining piece of undeveloped suburban farm land in our area. It dates from the turn of the century when Jefferson County supplied Denver with food and fruit. Recently home to thirty milk goats, we acquired it and started in 2012 with an idea to keep it viable as a small acreage farm, away from developers. While working for a French company years ago, the memory and smell of huge lavender fields in Provence vividly remained. Since lavender requires only sunshine and little or no water, it was worth a try for this property in the Denver foothills.
C2: What plans do you have for the future of your operation?
Robert: Lavender is a truly wonderful plant. We want to be able to share it with the local community in a small nature-centered shop soon. We especially enjoy creating fresh bouquets, or arranged with natural dried grasses and flowers. Dried and cleaned lavender flower buds have many uses as well. If enough crop is available, we distill remaining dried buds for lavender oil used in soaps and lotions. Little of this beautiful perennial plant is wasted.
C2: What specific variety of lavender do you grow?
Robert: We have some seventeen different varieties under evaluation at present. The “lavendin” hybrids Hidcote and Grosso are long and strong, and have a higher oil content overall. Our favorites for culinary uses and the sweeter smell and taste are the “true lavenders”, such as Imperial Gem, Buena Vista, Folgate and Melissa.
As you can see from the pictures, Robert’s golden retriever SonnyBear clearly guards the lavender from all harm while also retrieving any apples which may have fallen on the ground nearby. Thank you Robert and SonnyBear for doing what you do.