Monday, July 11, 2011

For the Love of Lavender and a Winner!

What a glorious way to spend a summer day—visiting some of Oregon's lavender farms! This weekend the annual Oregon Lavender Festival took place, and I visited four lavender farms—two I'd visited two years ago during the festival, and two I hadn't been to before.

My first stop was Moonshadow Lavender Farm in Albany, where I tasted some lovely hibiscus and lavender iced tea, picked up some very fragrant lavender hydrosol and hand cleanser (much nicer than the generic hand cleanser I usually carry with me in the car), and snapped this fun photo of a small lavender field and vineyard with a snow-covered peak in the background.


My next stop was an hour north in the quaint town of Yamhill, where there are several lavender farms. Wild Rain Farm was the first Oregon lavender farm I visited two years ago. This year, the fields were not quite as mature as they were the last time I was here, but beautiful, nonetheless.


Here is where I picked up a jar of their lovely Lavender Blackberry Jam. I think I might have to make those yummy Lemon Poppyseed Muffins again. They went so well with the jam!

The next stop was Willakenzie Lavender Farm, the largest of all the farms I visited. They grow six varieties of lavender and their display beds feature dozens of others.


The owner's house is surrounded by lush gardens, sitting high up on a hill overlooking the lavender fields and valley below. It's such a spectacular setting.


It was fun to watch visitors picking fresh-cut lavender, taking photos, and just enjoying the beautiful summer day. I was inspired to come home and cut some of my own lavender.


I made my way inside the large gift shop and managed to escape with only a tiny vial of Grosso Bleu lavender oil. Outside, I met Kathy Gerht, author of Discover Cooking with Lavender. She was sampling her sensational Summer Mango Salsa (made with lavender, of course!) It was so delicious, I'm looking forward to making some this week. You can find the recipe right here on her blog!

My last stop was Lavender Lake Farms in the tiny town of Independence—about an hour south of Yamhill, and midway between Yamhill and my home.


At each farm, my favorite moment was walking by the distiller, where the fragrance of lavender was so intense, it almost put me in a trance. That's likely why I failed to take even one photo of a distiller. After driving around for hours and walking through all of these lovely lavender fields, I didn't even notice how hungry I was. So when Seth of Rolling Stone Pizza Company (who just happened to be at Lavender Lake Farms with his wood-fired oven on wheels), told me he could make me a cheeseless Purple People Eater Pizza, (purple cauliflower, purple onions, and eggplant on lavender-infused dough, I was more than ready to indulge. A seasoning blend of lavender, garlic, thyme, and pepper made the flavor come alive!


Here's a photo of all the spoils of my trip, along with the gorgeous cutting board I scored last weekend at a local arts festival.


Congratulations to The Vegan, who won a fabulous gift pack of Sweet Spice, Chocolate Fantasy, and So Delicious! Please let me know where to have the companies send you your booty!  Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Stay tuned for the next one. I love sharing my delicious finds with you!

23 comments:

Helen said...

WOW! Those lavender farms are so beautiful. Reminds me of Provence in France. Who knew they had such things here? And that cutting board is gorgeous!

Congratulations to the giveaway winner. That's a really nice prize package!

Debbie Gorham said...

Hi Gail,

thanks for visiting Willakenzie Lavender. I just love to see the photos you took at our farm and other lavender farms. thank you so much for sharing them.

we're expecting a much later bloom season this year since spring was so cold and wet. we'll have lots of long stemmed lavender begin to bloom in the next week or so, and it will be available for viewing and cutting well into August. our farm is open Fri/Sat/Sun from 10AM-5PM. hope to see you again!

thanks again,

Debbie

Vegiegail said...

Hi Debbie! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to comment. And thank you for reading my mind! I was wondering why the blooms didn't seem as full as they did when I visited during the Lavender Festival two years ago. I look forward to another visit very soon!

Anna said...

How lovely! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos. I'm looking forward to the lavender festival in Sequim, Washington next weekend. Will you be going?

Angel said...

Congratulations to The Vegan! What a lucky ducky! And it sounds like you had a really magical time, Gail. Thank you so much for sharing the photos. Everything looks so beautiful!

Suzanne said...

What a wonderful giveaway. Sorry I missed it, and congrats to The Vegan!

It looks like you had an amazing day. I'd love to visit lavender farms some day.

Christie said...

How beautiful! I'll bet the lavender blackberry jam is incredible. Thank you so much for the link to the salsa recipe. It sounds delicious!

Heather McClees said...

Hi Gail! IT's Heather at The Soulful Spoon! Thanks for hosting a giveaway for my Sweet Spice, my most cherished spice blend in the cabinet!:) Congratulations to our winner who is going to receive their Sweet Spice this week! I'm so thrilled you'll be trying such a wonderful item!

Gail, the lavendar farms are just lovely! How beautiful and what a great experience that must have been. Your pizza is my new mission to recreate! I love the beautiful purples in the dish! Hopefully I can come up with a gluten-free crust!:) Thanks so much for hosting my Sweet Spice giveaway and for a beautiful post!:)

Heather McCLees
www.thesoulfulspoon.com

The Vegan said...

Lucky me!!!! :-)Woo Hoo!!!!

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it.....

See I'm so happy, I broke into song. :-)

Thanks to Heather of Soulful Spoon for the Sweet Spice,and to Chocolate Fantasy, and So Delicious! And thanks especially to you Gail for putting this together.

Also thanks to Helen, Angel, and Suzanne for your congratulations.

:-)

Wow with all these "thanks" you would think I won an Academy Award....

Vegiegail said...

Thank you so much, Heather, for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment. And thank you for your contribution to this delicious giveaway. I have close to 100 spice bottles in my kitchen, but these days I'm reaching for the Sweet Spice bottle more than any other.

Congratulations again, The Vegan. You are about to enjoy some seriously tasty treats!

The Vegan said...

And I have to say I LOVE all the lavender. :-)

VeganMarr said...

Love the deep purple ons! I usually just see the paleone. Bet ur hydrasol smells GREAT!

Heather McClees said...

It's my pleasure Gail! Thank you for doing me the honor of sampling it and trying it out. I'm so glad Sweet Spice has become a regularly used product in your pantry!:) I carry one around in my purse, and have one in my bedroom as well as the kitchen:) I suppose I'm slightly addicted:) Thanks "The Vegan" for all of your wonderful enthusiasm about Sweet Spice!

Justine said...

I had no idea there were so many varieties of lavender! Is that a little white lavender plant you bought? Gorgeous photos, btw. Thanks for sharing!

Kendra said...

I think I'd like to be a lavender farmer when I grow up! ;) Thank you for the inspiration!

Kathy said...

Hi Gail, Thanks so much for stopping by Willakenzie Lavender and tasting my Summer Mango Salsa. I love making and sharing this fabulous salsa. The "Latin Lavender Seasoning" is a delcious example of layering flavors.

Your images of the lavender fields are beautiful. The image of the pizza is sending me to the kitchen for a bite to eat. It looks so delcious!

Thanks again. I'm so pleased to have met you!

Kathy Gehrt
www.discoverlavender.com

Vegiegail said...

Hi Justine! Yes, that's a dwarf white lavender (Lavandula angustifolia "Nana Alba"). It's extremely fragrant, and has both culinary and medicinal uses.

Hi Kendra! Me, too!!!

Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. I made your Summer Mango Salsa tonight and added black beans as you suggested, and corn, too! I love your Lavender Latin Seasoning, and I can just imagine all of the dishes I'll be using it in to add some pizazz!
I'm so happy our paths have crossed, and I'm looking forward to sharing lots of delicious ideas with you!

Randy said...

Such lovely photos! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love lavender. Thanks so much for the mango salsa recipe. I cannot wait to try it!

Sherry said...

Just discovered your blog and love it!

Millie said...

the aroma around that house must be amazing.

Vegiegail said...

You're in for a real treat, Randy! Please let me know how you liked it. Welcome to my blog, Sherry! I'm delighted to know that you are enjoying your time here! Hi Millie! You know it is! Wish you could come on over and savor the fragrance with me!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table said...

All that lavender looks amazing! It's one of my favorite flavors to bake with, but I've never thought to add it to pizza. I bet with would be delish with some zucchini and goat cheese.

Lauren (PB&G) said...

Lavender infused pizza.. oh my. I have a TON of lavender in the cabinet I should try that idea out!

I would love to visit that farm.. it looks so beautiful!