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Reader Question: Does lavender attract bees?

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Dot from NC writes: Does lavender attract bees of any kind? If so, which ones.

Lavender attracts many bees, and most often the beneficial ones like honeybees, mason bees and bumblebees. [click to continue…]

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Farm Feature: Applegate Valley Lavender Farm

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From the moment you step foot on the Applegate Valley Lavender Farm, you’ll know you’ve stepped into more than just a place where someone is growing lavender. The farm itself has been passed down through the family, and where there were once cow pastures, which doubled as a private golf course, the family now grows lavender. But the animals are not all gone, as you’ll notice immediately. Cows, sheep, chickens, and other fuzzy friends are all happily clucking, lowing, and barking about, filling the farm with a sense of liveliness and constant motion. Applegate Valley Lavender Farm is a fun and comfortable place to visit, a treasure of southern Oregon.

Of course, the passion for lavender is also abundantly clear. Among the rare breeds of chickens on the farm are Lavender Orpingtons, a very uncommon breed that has a lavender grey color (http://applegatevalleylavenderfarm.com/OurFarm.aspx). And of course there are the fields of lavender itself. At Applegate Valley Lavender farm a variety of lavenders are grown and harvested. From French varieties that are best used for fragrances, essential oils, and bath and body products, to the best English varieties for culinary uses. They even have a few recipes on their website for you to try, including the award winning Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins with Lavender Honey Butter (http://applegatevalleylavenderfarm.com/things.aspx). If that doesn’t get you excited to try baking with lavender, maybe you should stick to savory uses.

Lavender has actually been used for cooking and teas for a very long time. Lavender salts and peppers are great for making salad dressings, marinades, or bread crumbs for encrusting lamb or pork. There are actually an incredible variety of lavenders, and most lavender producers agree that it is the English lavenders that are best for cooking. Lavender tea used to be incredibly popular in England, and was favored by royalty. Today people are using culinary lavender to make lavender mocha lattes and lavender hot chocolate.

And of course, the aromatherapy uses of lavender are most well known. Bath salts, bubble baths, soaps, lotions, and essential oils made of lavender are incredibly popular, and for good reason. Lavender has the distinction of being the best herb for inducing a sense of calm as well as alertness. No chamomile sleepiness with lavender tea or lavender baths. Just the sensation of a clear and calm mind.

Applegate Valley Lavender Farm is obviously tended with care and a lot of fun. There are many signs that show how much the farm is appreciated by the owners and the community, and that everyone who visits is meant to have some fun, find the lavender products they want, and maybe even buy some fresh eggs as well.

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Lavender has been used for centuries to heal aches and pains, cure headaches, and soothe the mind. The scent of lavender is used for aromatherapy to create a sense of calm that is accompanied by an alertness, rather than sleepiness. Lavender is unique among herbs for its aroma and properties, and perhaps for its flexibility. Lavender is used today for teas, as a flavor in honey, in all kinds of bath and body products, from lotions to bath salts, and as an herb for cooking savory dishes as well as for baking treats.

Olympic Lavender stands out as a producer of certified organic lavender, and they produce a beautiful selection of products that are all locally handmade. [click to continue…]

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Farm Feature: Blue Mountain Lavender

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In Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley, with its plateau and plains climate, nothing grows better than lavender and grapes. The best wines are made from grapes that grow in rocky, sandy, and dry soil. Lavender is also happiest in light and rocky soil, making them the perfect companions for the Walla Walla Valley. Among vineyards, grain fields, and fine inns and bed and breakfasts, Blue Mountain Lavender Farm is closely nestled against their neighbors. Southeastern Washington is known for being dry and open, which is perfect for growing the best lavenders from all over the world.
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Farm Feature: Oregon’s Mountainside Lavender Farm

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At Mountainside Lavender, producing the highest quality lavender and lavender essential oil is the priority and their specialty. Every year they distill different varieties of lavender to create the most aromatic essential oils, for use in the products they produce and sell, as well as to sell directly. Mountainside Lavender is located in an area of Oregon known for its dry climate and rocky soil, both ideal for growing lavender. Lavender doesn’t like to sit in water, and enjoys a lot of sun, so for the growers at Mountainside Lavender, the location and climate couldn’t be better. The result is gorgeous lavender of the highest quality.

For many people, lavender is a favorite herb. Lavender comes from the same family as mints, sage, and rosemary, but most people do not realize that it is one of the herbs in Herbes de Provence blends. Lavender is probably best known for its calming properties when used in bath and body products. While there are a wide variety of bath products, from bath salts and bubble baths, to bar soaps and lotions, lavender enthusiasts tend to use lavender for much more than the bathroom. Lavender is good for keeping away insects, such as moths that may eat holes in your clothing or linens. Lavender sachets are helpful as eye pillows or in your sock drawer.

But the most exciting way to use lavender is definitely for culinary uses. Baking with lavender can add a unique flavor to muffins, cakes, and cookies. Most people use lavender sparingly when baking, and while the flavor is detectable it is not immediately identifiable if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Lavender is the mysterious secret herb to people who haven’t been initiated into the culinary lavender world. Of course, not every lavender is good for culinary uses – and there are over 200 varieties of lavender so it can be easy to go wrong – and the same is true of lavenders that are ideal for aromatic uses.

Mountainside Lavender can provide you with the best type of lavender for your desired use. During the summer months, Mountainside Lavender is open to the public for pick-your-own, a fun and relaxing way to collect some fresh lavender, which will then infuse your life with its perfume. The truth is, once you learn all the uses of lavender and how to incorporate it into your home and lifestyle, you will probably be hooked. Many people visit Mountainside Lavender year after year to get their fill. And of course, if you run out you can also send them an email and have some lavender products shipped to you at home – info (at) mountainsidelavender (dot) com

Enjoy the loveliness of lavender in full bloom, or enjoy a special delivery at home from Mountainside Lavender.

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Farm Feature: Lavender Wind Farm

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In Ebey’s Landing Historical National Reserve on Whidbey Island, WA, is a distinctive and productive little lavender farm called Lavender Wind Farm. Whidbey Island is in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountain range, leaving it windy and dry most of the year, with a sandy, rocky soil perfect for growing lavender. Lavender Wind Farm is open all year round for visitors, and they offer a unique and relaxing experience. Their Farm Store has an incredible selection of products ranging from lavender jams to bulk lavender buds. The beauty of Whidbey Island and the surroundings is only enhanced by the gorgeous blooms of purple flowers all through the summer and the winds carry the relaxing scent of growing lavender.
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Farm Feature: Lost Mountain Lavender

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The Dungeness Valley in Washington State is the home to an ambitious group of farmers. When the dairy farms began to close and the fields became empty, enterprising folk looked for a crop that could easily be grown in the Valley’s dry climate and that would bring commerce to the area. They settled on lavender. Today, there are 12 small family owned farms in and around Sequim, Washington, and they each offer an opportunity to walk through carefully cared for lavender fields. At Lost Mountain Lavender, a visit can be a relaxing chance to pick your own fresh lavender bundle or the perfect place to have a picnic under one of their many fruit trees.
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Oregon Lavender Festival – July 14-15, 2012

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This summer, plan to get away to Oregon for a weekend of relaxing lavender farms, festivities, art, and foods. The Oregon Lavender Festival is an annual tradition, allowing visitors to enjoy the bountiful and beautiful lavender fields at the height of summer. Lavender has long been known to encourage a feeling of calm and relaxation, and it is used in an incredible number of products, from bath soaps to chocolate. The smell and taste of lavender is a unique and gentle experience, and Oregon’s lavender farmers want to share it with you.
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Farm Feature: Lavender Hills Farm

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Lavender has been used for centuries by apothecaries, herbalists, and aromatherapists as the most effective herb for relaxation. The scent of lavender brings about a sense of calm like no other flower can. Traditionally, lavender is used as an essential oil or the flowers are dried and sewn into pillows and sachets. Lavender is also used in soaps, lotions, and other beauty products.

Today you can even buy food with the delicate flavor of lavender, such as lavender chocolates, lavender coffee, as well as an assortment of cookies and other treats. For lavender enthusiasts, there is no wrong turn that can be made when experimenting with new ways to include lavender. Lavender for culinary uses can bring a hint of flavor to salad dressings, scones, or soups.

Lavender Hills Farm in Marysville, WA is one of a number of small, family owned lavender farms in the state of Washington. [click to continue…]

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Farm Feature: Cedarbrook Lavender and Herb Farm

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Washington State’s Dungeness Valley is one of the premier lavender growing regions in the United States. Often compared to Provence, and some go so far as to call it the American Provence, the Dungeness Valley is home to 12 individual lavender farms that are family owned and offer an incredible variety of lavenders and products. At Cedarbrook Lavender and Herb Farm, you will find an astonishing 70 different varieties of lavender as well as many other herbs and flowers that are used in their products or for your cooking and baking needs. [click to continue…]

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