The Pelindaba Lavender Farm (and why tanners didn't get the plague)
Updated May 2017
We at the Earthbox In & Spa source the body care products for our guest rooms from the local Pelindaba Lavender Farm. They smell and feel amazing. We use bulk containers to dispense them, cutting down on unnecessary packaging and waste. But that’s not all there is to know about this lovely farm and its purple crop. Read on to learn some fun facts about the farm and the history and uses of this amazing plant.
“Pelindaba” means “Place of great gatherings” in Zulu. Over 20 years ago Stephen Robins, who has South African roots, acquired today’s site of the farm to simply protect it from development. Since then it grew, literally and figuratively, from a piece of land with some pretty purple scrubs to the vertically integrated model of sustainable agriculture it is today. Pelindaba grows and manufactures certified organic, handcrafted, lavender products for botanical, culinary, body care, therapeutic, and household use and distributes them nation wide.
The farm is open to the public from April through October, with the “peak of purpleness” being July & August, but the farm is still fun to see all year round. Admission is free.
10 fun lavender facts you may not know:
- Lavender is in the mint family
- There are over 400 varieties
- Its name comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”
- Lavender was used in ancient Egypt in the mummification process
- In the middle ages, when bathing was not in fashion, it was used to perfume linens and clothing
- Lavender is a natural mosquito, moth, flea, mice and deer repellent
- It is an excellent herb to spice savory and sweet dishes alike
- It has antiseptic, anesthetic as well as sedative properties
- Most commercially grown Lavender doesn't produce seeds. It propagates through cutting and root division
- So why did tanners not get the black plague?
The plague is thought to have been transmitted by fleabites. Tanners in those days used lavender to tan their hides. Lavender is a natural flea deterrent and the tanners didn’t get bitten, ergo didn’t get the black plague.