Oregon Lavender Farms
What a treat to inhale fields of lavender, to identify countless varieties of this versatile herb, and to meet lavender farmers. (Check out my lavender photo album).
So often on road trips I salivate over farms and barns, and long to 'just stop in.' Yet I rarely take the time to track farm festivals and farm loops, to finally plot farms-I-can-visit on a map. Fortunately, there are some farm loops developing in parts of Oregon and in this case I was able to hop into lavender farms during Oregon's Lavender Festival (second weekend of July - put it on your calendar for next year!). My stops:
1. Barn Owl Nursery Lovely little shop with plenty of plant starts, lavender herbs and tea mixes, lavender syrup and jams, shortbread and candles. Hitting Barn Owl for the festival was perfect: they were into the spirit right down to lavender inspired art booths and purple pens for signing receipts. I bought a soy lavender candle, vintage glasses for holding lavender (pic below) and a packet of Herbs de Provence (includes lavender of course!).
2. The Oregon Lavender Farm This was lavender farm hits the big-time. A full operation, this is the site of weddings and art festivals, music concerts and lavender sales. My son Anthony joined me for this tour - note the picture of him mid lavender field, in front of Mt. Hood. I will always remember: walking into the thick of the lavender fields and hearing the chorus of happy bees. Here: we drank lavender lemonade, bought lavender honey and learned a bit about lavender oil.
3. Lavender at Stonegate This small operation was focused on lavender, no distractions. They had a few varieties, a large greenhouse---and knew their lavender inside and out. Stonegate is where I bought my little 6-pack of culinary lavender. Excited to embark on making lavender jams, syrups, tea and herb mixes.
Oregon Lavender Farms aren't open only during the festival. In fact there are many farms and designated farm loops that highlight farms that are open year-round to the general public. Many of these farms include tiny retail shops or farm stands, and some include farm tours and u-picks. I visited the Mollala and Canby Farm Loops (south and southeast of Portland) as well as a number of farms in Oregon's Washington County (the county directly west of Portland).
In fact Oregon's Lavender Destinations include 20+ lavender farms across Oregon. Besides the 3 I visited during the festival, I was able to make a quick stop at Mountainside Lavender Farm. Mountainside is a delight - I highly recommend a visit. This U-pick lavender farm has a cute little shop, plus they distill lavender oil (and will demo for you) and serve up divine lavender lemonade. What can I say? The whole farm was picturesque. I bought dried culinary lavender by the scoop, plus lavender BBQ sauce. Because why not?