I LOVE lavender and have been growing it in my garden for the last 20 years, almost as long as the farms in Sequim, the self proclaimed lavender capital of North America. Located in the sunbelt of the Olympic Peninsula, the little town transformed itself into a lavender mecca in the mid 1990’s when it started converting old dairy farms into lavender farms. There are now dozens of farms in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and by mid-July the annual Lavender Festival is a top attraction.
Yes, it was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid and was limited in 2021. But most of the farms remain open for visitors so we stopped by last week on our trip to the Peninsula.
I have my favorite farm (Purple Haze) but this time we decided to stop at a new one (to us) – B & B Farms.
I’m so glad we did. Because in addition to enjoying the lavender in the fields we got an informative tour from the owners.
First they gave us an easy way to remember the difference between English Lavender and French Lavender – they grow both.
French Lavender = F = Fragrance. The larger plant, with the stronger scent due to naturally occurring camphor. Better for crafts, sachets, soaps. The first photo above is of French Lavender the earliest planted at B & B, 25 years ago.
English Lavender = E = Eat. The culinary variety. A smaller more compact plant, but brighter in color, with a sweeter fragrance. Best for cooking. The second photo above is of English Lavender.
Inside their large barn we saw bundles of lavender drying from the rafters.
Some are sold as bundles, while others are reduced to buds. After being removed from the stems (yes, there’s a machine for that too) they’re cleaned in the Jitter Bud, below.
There’s also a still for extracting the essential oils and producing lavender water as a byproduct.
It was quite wonderful and I may have a new favorite farm.
And to show my appreciation for the tour I was compelled to buy some lavender products including this adorable little bear, lovingly filled with lavender grown at B & B.
One little squeeze and I’m transported back to the lavender fields. I wish could have bought one for all of you. 🙂