Anyone who has eaten fruits or vegetables is aware that these foods have the best flavour and texture at their peak ripeness. Eat it too early and that piece of produce will be tough and bland; too late and it will be soft with an especially sweet or slightly fermented flavour. Much like fruits and vegetables, plants also have a peak in their production of essential oils. It is important to harvest essential oils during this peak period not only to obtain the largest quantity of essential oil, but also to ensure that the chemical composition is optimised for maximum potency.
The production peak varies from plant to plant. To discover the optimal harvesting time, harvesters and distillers work for years to test the essential oil production of plants throughout the day, season, and year. Once the peak harvest time is determined, plants are always distilled at that same time in the future. The most successful and trusted growers will have years of patient experience working with that plant to ensure that it is always harvested at only the right time.