Saturday, August 14th, 2010
Farm Tour: Red Barn Lavender
Traca Savadogo—Seattle Tall Poppy

When the lavender blooms, beginning in June, you’ll have no need for a map. Red Barn Lavender owner Marv Fast tells me, “We’ve had people who followed the lavender scent from two miles away!”

Red Barn Lavender is nestled among the rolling hills two miles from the heart of Ferndale, Washington. A stunning view of snow-capped Mount Baker and tufts of lavender plants arching over gentle slopes make it a popular stop for photographers and lavender lovers.

Two distinct styles of lavender add to some misconceptions. French lavender has a component called lavendine, which is camphor-based. This aromatic–some say pungent–lavender is widely used in the fragrance industry. It is distinctly different from English lavender, which is used for culinary purposes.

During peak blooming season, bee hives are placed on the farm. The honey extracted reflects a pale golden color and a slight hint of lavender essence. The delicate flavor shines on scones or stirred into yogurt.

In anticipation of blueberry season, I grab a bag of English lavender buds. Blueberries and lavender are wonderful paired together. Warmed over a gentle heat, blueberries infused with lavender buds makes a great topping for ice cream or pound cake.

Want to visit Red Barn Lavender? Mark your calendar. April through the end of July, plants, buds, honey, and essential oils are available for purchase and during the peak blooming season, they offer a variety of craft classes. Check the website for details.

I was immediately smitten with Red Barn Lavender’s salvaged window and cedar greenhouse. Spacious and flooded with light, it has an unobstructed view of snow-capped Mount Baker.

Take a peek inside the greenhouse.

Cultivating over 3,600 lavender plants, beginning in April Red Barn Lavender also has starts available for sale.

In due time…

Who knew there were so many different varieties of lavender? Culled from their website, here’s a sampling of the varieties they grow: Buena Vista, Grosso, Maillette, Fred Boutin, Hidcote Giant, Old English, Twickle Purple, Royal Velvet, Blue Hidcote and Pink Hidcote. We have many specimen plants including Sawyers, Dilly Dilly, Sarah, Sachet, Munstead, Jean Davis, Cascade Velvet, White Spike, Folgate, Seal, Silver Frost, Dutch Mill and Lodden Blue.

Another look at that beautiful greenhouse.

A patch of succulents near the barn.

Lavender farmers, Lynn and Marvin Fast.

We do a quick sniff and taste test. French lavender, used for perfume, is vastly different than English lavender, which is used for culinary purposes.

Lavender-infused treats. A classic combination: lavender and blueberries. English lavender infused in simple syrup makes a nice addition to lemonade.

Strolling the lavender fields, daydreaming about the English moors in Wuthering Heights.

Tarps are laid between the tufts of lavender to keep weeds at bay.

Original URL: http://seattletallpoppy.blogspot.com/2010/08/farm-tour-red-barn-lavender.html

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