Hotel Bouncer Changed into Lavender Grower
South Australian, Mario Centrofanti has made the ultimate career change. He worked as a hotel bouncer for 42 years, now he has been a Lavender grower for 9 years. He is the owner of the Bella Lavender Estate.
For a year and a half after planting his first crop, the farm finally made something that was worth collecting. Mr. Centrofanti said , that after 8 months the quality is not any good but after 18 months we collected 1.5 liters of oil.
When Mario Centrofanti would go into a store or for a walk people would ask him if he was playing in the lavender. Since he worked in a hotel as a bouncer for 42 years’ people thought that him growing flowers was very unusual.
Lavender is used in a Wide Variety of Products
According to Mr. Centrofanti, this year will be the best harvest yet. This means only 9.5 liters of oil from 3,500 plants.
For Mario Centrofanti, his harvesting starts within the first week in December. This is because there are 2-3 different varieties so he will usually finish in within the second week of February. When talking with Mr. Centrofanti he said, that you have to do it at a certain time. If you leave the flowers out too long the quality will be lower.
The sooner the harvest, the better the quality. Whenever you squeeze the flower, if your hands are sticky, that is the way to test for quality. After the lavender is harvested, it is processed the same way as wine is.
How The Bees Help Pollinate Lavender and Make Honey
When it comes to pollinate the lavender, it is up to the bees. When it is time for the bees to come and pollinate the lavender, Waikerie will drop off two hives of bees. Then honey is taken from the hive and sold in his shop. This normally makes many kilos each year.
Usually, the best climate conditions for Lavender is a cool climate. Australia has very extreme heat, therefore, you must be picky about the variety of lavender that you plan to plant.