Guest/The Allure of Lavender

| April 20, 2011

Welcome to our guest contributor, Susan Curtis, who works with Lila Avery-Fuson of Central Coast Lavender! Susan is the company’s Social Marketing Director and founder of All Social. She can be contacted at: susan (at) Thank you for sharing your farm and for the beautiful recipes!

Lila Avery-Fuson and her daughter, Abigail

When you think of lavender, do you immediately begin to relax? The aromatherapy and healing benefits of lavender are a favorite around the world—but particularly important to Lila Avery-Fuson. In 2005, Lila found herself coping with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Headaches, sleeplessness and the side effect of medications were robbing her energy. Lila reached for essential oils to help her relax, lift her spirits and boost her immune system.

With a three year-old daughter, Lila needed every ounce of energy she could get. She studied and learned about lavender. As a science major, Lila reached out to the leaders of the essential oils industry to learn more about essential oils. With the help of her husband and father, Lila started Central Coast Lavender Farm and distillery in 2006, planting over 4 acres of lavender.

Central Coast Lavender is now the largest lavender producer on the Central Coast. “Lavender took me from being a victim of the MS diagnosis,” says Lila, “to a champion and ambassador for essential oils.”

Central Coast Lavender Farm - A Lavender Still

Working from the land, giving back to the land.
Central Coast Lavender Farm is founded on a love for nature and a passion for the beauty and healing benefits of Lavender. Lila explains: “From our Certified Organic Green growing methods through our manufacture right here on the farm, we create the purest, most natural paraben and sulfate-free products. And we take delight in sharing the beauty of nature’s finest and most versatile herb in our estate-grown & distilled lavender.”

Lila practices sustainable Organic agriculture with Green farming methods to benefit the environment. After extracting the essential oils, she uses the remaining lavender plant matter to fertilize her fields with a nutrient high in nitrogen. Irrigation is off-grid; the fields are watered using gravity-fed lines. “At our farm, we take an unwavering stance toward the protection and sustainability of our natural planet and the delicate rhythms which harmonize the ebb and flow from day to day. This follows the simple, yet powerful Native American dictum: ‘The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives.’”

Central Coast Lavender Farm

Central Coast Lavender Farm’s products are enjoyed all over the world. Lila’s personal favorites? Her 100% pure lavender essential oil, in its concentrate. “And our Therapeutic Healing Butter. I use soy and aloe vera with sunflower seed oil blended with an apothecary of healing essential oils; our lavender essential oil, tea-tree oil and others. It’s an absolute healing, anti-inflammatory butter for every ache and pain. Love this one!”

Lavender essential oil is naturally an anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibiotic and much more. Lavender essential oil is the “spirit of the lavender plant’s immune system.” The process of extracting the essence of the plant, via steam distillation, allow the purest of these properties in an oil form.

Central Coast Lavender - Product

How the healing benefits of lavender were discovered:
Gattefossé, a perfume chemist, in Cologne, France, began research into the healing powers of essential oils in the early 1900s after he accidentally burned his hand in his laboratory. On reflex, he immersed his burned hand in the nearest liquid, which happened to be lavender oil. He was quite impressed by how quickly the burn healed without infection and with no visible scar. Gattefossé is credited with coining the word “aromatherapy.”

Medicine Chest in a bottle:
Lila, her customers, and fans continue to be delighted by the health benefits of lavender, known by aromatherapists as the “medicine chest in a bottle.”

Anxiety and depression. The essential oil of lavender has a calming, sedative, and anti-convulsive effect. It can also increase the effectiveness of other relaxants.

Insomnia. A study conducted at the University of Leicester in England showed that the use of lavender essential oil is just as effective in promoting sound sleep as traditional medication. In fact, many British hospitals offer their patients lavender pillows to help with sleeplessness.

Scrapes and wounds. Lavender essential oil has very powerful antiseptic properties. Applying it to wounds can not only increase cell growth causing the wound to heal faster, but keep it free of infection.

Headaches. Massaging lavender oil onto your temples, neck and forehead can relieve neck and head tension and promote relaxation, thus relieving a variety of headaches.

Skin problems. You can massage lavender oil into your skin to treat a number of skin problems such as acne, burns, dry skin, eczema, itchy skin, sunburn, seborrhea, and skin inflammation.

Women’s health problems. Lavender can diminish the look of stretch marks and scars. It can relieve cramps, edema, exhaustion, and infection.

Central Coast Lavender - Center Field Looking North

Favorite Lavender Recipes
As a member of the mint family, lavender can be enjoyed holistically in teas, confections and spice blending. As an herb, lavender can be used daily. You can join Lila’s Elite Lavender Club for more recipes, lavender healing tips, and lavender essentials.

Here are a few of Lila’s favorite Lavender recipes:

Lavender Lemonada, Central Coast Lavender

Lavender Lemonade
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender blooms stripped from stems
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
Ice cubes
Lavender sprigs for garnish

Combine sugar with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add the lavender blooms to the sugar water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 20 minutes (and up to several hours).
Strain mixture and discard lavender. Pour infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and another 2 1/2 cups water. Stir well and watch lemonade change color.
Pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice or refrigerate until ready to use.

Lavender Shortbread, Central Coast Lavender

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

3 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 T. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 T. dried lavender buds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift flour and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lavender buds. Form dough into logs roll in lavender colored sugar and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm. Slice dough into 1/2 thick slices. Lay cookie slices on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are slightly golden. Sprinkle with lavender powdered sugar!

Lavender Scones
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
4 Tablespoon butter
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Teaspoon fresh lavender florets or 1 Teaspoon dried culinary lavender roughly chopped
About 2/3 Cup milk

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and lavender florets, reserving a pinch of lavender to sprinkle on the top of the scones before baking them.
Add enough milk to make a soft, sticky dough. Bind the mixture together and then turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Shape the dough into a circle, gently patting the top to give a 1inch depth. Using a floured cutter. Stamp out 12 scones. Place on a baking sheet.
Brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle with the reserved lavender. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Serve warm, with plum jam and clotted cream.

Because of Lila’s energy and enthusiasm, she has gathered the growers from the entire Central Coast region of California and has formed the Central Coast Lavender Growers Association– a non-profit organization with a mission to support one another to promote lavender. It is with this non-profit’s annual Central Coast Lavender Festival, that Lila can give back by donating a portion of the proceeds to the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Now, Lila is busier than ever – planning the 3rd Annual Central Coast Lavender Festival, for July 9, 2011. Lila is also a sought-after speaker at lavender celebrations and will be featured at the June 26th Ojai Valley Lavender Festival.


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Category: Beverages, Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Featured Articles: Health & Nutrition, Featured Articles: Travel & Culture, Health & Nutrition, Recipe Vault, Travel & Culture, US & Canada

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Comments (10)

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  1. Devaki says:

    What a wonderful post and I would LOVE to visit the lavendar farm. That pic of the sea of lavender is just stunning and list of uses incredibly impressive. I was aware of a few but not the whole lot.

    Awesome recipes as well 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  2. Biren says:

    I would love to visit a lavender farm. Just looking at the rows and rows of lavender is already claming for me. I can almost smell their wonderful perfume. I will have to give the lavender scones a try.

  3. Patty says:

    STUNNING photographs and incredible recipes! Thank you for the mini ‘getaway’!

  4. Lena says:

    Beautiful. It takes me back to Provence where lavender fields are everywhere, although I don’t recall the French using lavender in food. I’d like to try the lemonade!

  5. rebecca says:

    lovely post wish you all the success in the world lavender

  6. Sommer says:

    We make lavender lemonade every summer it is MARVELOUS!
    I didn’t know lavender helped with insomnia?!?

  7. A very interesting post. I planted lavender in my garden last year and am really anxious to see it growing again this year. I love the smell and want to try it in my lemon butter cookies, thanks for the idea.


  8. sweetlife says:

    lavender for insomina, wow!! thanks for the info!! love the stunning pics!!


  9. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself
    or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond
    as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. many thanks