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H&N photos by
ABOVE: Don Kirby
watches as mint oil is extracted
at the University of
California's Interior Mountain
Research and Extension Center's
First run for mint still Kinks resolved,
equipment will aid research
By Ty Beaver, Herald and News 8/17/06
Research and Extension Center had an
opportunity to use one of its newer
pieces of equipment last week.
With the harvest of
the centerís first peppermint trial
crops, staff began to use the still,
purchased last year for the center,
to distill the oil from the plants
as part of the centerís experiments.
Despite some unexpected problems,
the still is expected to be useful
as the center continues to research
mint, director Harry Carlson said.
stills that can process thousands of
pounds of mint at a time, the still
at the center uses batches of 30
pounds, Carlson said. The center
grows smaller amounts of mint so it
can more effectively track results
for its experiments, thus producing
Harvesting and mechanical
problems did come up through the stillís
first run. The centerís mint matured more
quickly than expected, causing harvest to
occur with more mature mint than desired.
ďWeíll know more about late rather than
early harvests with this harvest,Ē Carlson
The still itself had problems with the
boiler and several other pieces of
Staff were able to fix the mechanical
difficulties and are now aware of what to
do with the next harvest, Carlson said.
The still will continue to be operated for
the next two weeks.
Corey Thompson loads
bags of dried mint into the
Corey Thompson removes
the lid, releasing steam from the pots
the mint in which is cooked. After the
batch is distilled the mint is
Don Kirby eyes a
syringe of mint extract at a research
distillery in Tulelake. The distillery
is one of four mint distilleries in
the area, but unlike the others, the
Tulelake location is used largely as a
research facility for the University
of Californiaís Interior Mountain
Research and Extension Center.