I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this, but I spend a fair amount of time concocting perfect (as possible) moments and then milking them for joy long after they’re over. Scent, sight, touch and temperature are great anchors and with lavender, a beautiful flower and herb that thrives in summer, all of my senses are intoxicated.
Lavender is my happy place.
Pandemic flying seems like roulette, so I’ve been finding local treasures this summer and fortunately, Sequim (rhymes with “swim”), the lavender capital of the Northwest is a mere ninety-minute drive. The highly popular annual July Lavender Festival often attended by tens of thousands was COVID-cancelled this year, but many of the farms are still open. During the festival, the bigger farms have music, food, crafts, U-cut gardens, and lavender distilling demonstrations.
I’ve lost track of the number of years, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Sequim, but let’s just say, although it involves three highways and a toll, I don’t need my GPS.
In this new normal of pandemic shut downs, I guess part of me needed to make sure the lavender was still there.
And, oh, was it!
Now, for some lavender farm Q & A. since for some reason I had the urge to interview myself.
Q. How did you first discover lavender farms?
A. About 20 years ago when my favorite color was purple, I saw a summer fun brochure at the library and it highlighted a Greyhound bus tour to the annual Lavender Festival. Although, I’d never heard of such a thing, I’ve never known anything purple I didn’t love, so I got a ticket.
Q. What do you do when you get to a lavender farm?
A: I slip out of my sandals and stroll barefoot through the grass, taking it all in. The seduction starts from the distance with the romantic landscape of beautiful lavender and unique structures.
Q. Why do you always wear a sundress?
A. When I’m enveloped in the lavender fields picking my u-cut bouquet, that delicious scent infuses my dress, and I get an aromatherapy treatment all the way home.
Q. How do you feel strolling through the lavender fields.
A. Happy, relaxed, unbothered, free. It feels like home.
Q. How much time to you spend on each farm?
A. About an hour. I don’t wear a watch, though, so who knows. I leave when I’m ready and not a moment sooner. Occasionally visitors ask me probing questions after assuming correctly that I’m a regular.
Q. What is one of your favorite farm memories?
A In 2016 after Barack Obama became president, I was on a farm picking lavender in July and the song from his inauguration, “At Last” floated through the fields. It was heaven. After tucking my lavender bouquet into my basket, I had grilled fish tacos with lavender salsa and eased into a purple rocker and briefly dozed off. When I woke up, the band was playing “Staying Alive” (Bee Gees), so I got up and danced.
Q. If you were lavender, which type would you be?
A, I need two picks.
1) Spanish Lavender.
It looks like a tiny purple pineapple with little winged ears, doesn’t it?
Pretty with a classic shape, it attracts butterflies, dries well and, to my nose, is the most fragrant.
Q. What’s your favorite lavender farm souvenir?
A. Pictures. After that, bath products, especially bath bombs and bubble bath. Also, tea and culinary products, and pure essential oil for my DIY pampering products. I try to get different things and treasure shopping at the source.
Q. Of the 2020 products, was there one that stole the show?
A. The lavender-lemon syrup. I’ve already dripped it into chocolate-mint tea and have a feeling it will also add a lovely pop to my homemade chocolate candies. Runners up: Lavender-fabric mask and rose lavender soap.
Q. What about all the bees?
A. I don’t bother the bees, they don’t bother me. We share the lavender.
Q. Is there anything you don’t like about lavender farms.
A. 1) Porta Potties 2) rushers 3) grumps
I used to wonder how anyone wasn’t happy and relaxed around lavender as those are some of its top therapeutic properties, but I’ve encountered a few grouches who I imagine were promised a treat of lavender ice cream to “tough out” a farm visit. And when it comes to the farm store, part of the charm are the interactions with owners and employees. If I want to chit-chat with an employee who, say, makes lavender wands and crowns during the boring parts of her shift because it makes her happy, that’s my prerogative. Slow down and wait your turn.
Q. What was different this year?
A. A lot less visitors and we all resembled masked bandits in this new normal, but the masks came in handy when I had to use the Porta Potty.
Photo credits: All photos taken by the author, except the Spanish and Hidcote lavender thumbnails and the map of Sequim, WA are courtesy of Google.