A love for lavender continues to grow on the B&B Family Farm, 5883 Old Olympic Highway, Sequim.
In recent months, the farm’s co-owners Zion and Kristy Hilliker added 2,500 lavender plants bringing their total to nearly 10,000.
Zion said they took out ginseng and goldenseal to make room for the new plants simply because they weren’t as excited about them as lavender.
“We’ve built a good name for ourselves and we enjoy sharing our knowledge about lavender,” he said.
The new plants will be too young for harvest around Sequim Lavender Weekend on July 21-23, but with a colder winter Hilliker anticipates more varieties being available on their other plants for the crowds.
They also planted hydrangeas after consulting with market managers of a co-op they partner with in Seattle, Hilliker said.
“We wanted to diversify and found (hydrangeas) will actually do well here because we don’t get a lot of hot summers like other parts of the state,” he said.
Learning about Sequim and a new life in lavender has been a good transition for the Hillikers after moving from San Diego, Calif., 3½ years ago to purchase the property, formerly Angel Farm, with Kristy’s parents Bruce and Bonnie McCloskey.
Zion was an account executive and Kristy was an interior design college professor in California but Hilliker said he was discouraged leaving for work and coming home and his daughter Harper, now 5, would be asleep.
“Now I see her all the time and she’s out with us,” he said. “I like it. I get to see my kids (including 1½-year-old Sawyer) everyday.”
The couple purchased the farm around the same time as other new lavender farmers came to the area, too.
“The lavender community has been really helpful,” Hilliker said.
They’ve also developed a special partnership with Victor’s Lavender for all their plant starts and they send each other business.
The Hillikers also continue to carve their own niche with B&B Family Farm in the lavender market mostly in wholesale, Kristy said.
The Hillikers sell mostly to mom and pop shops and smaller farms with shorter growing seasons and last year their lavender was sold in some Crate &Barrel stores thanks to a distributor.
One thing visitors can be assured to see during Lavender Weekend is lavender oil distillation.
Kristy said they take a lot of pride in their oils and they are happy to show people how it works.
The couple entered their lavender essential oils in a contest last year, the 2016 U.S. Lavender Oil Awards, which Hilliker said is less of a competition and more about grading your oil.
“It brings accreditation to the process and gives legitimacy to essential oils,” he said.
The farm’s Hidcote pink lavender and Grosso lavender both earned gold certification while its Royal Velvet earned silver and its Melissa lavender bronze.
Annually, the farm raises money for a local person in need through a donation and this year they are raising funds for Sequim High senior Curtis Beery, who recently was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.
The couple is accepting donations for a handmade quilt through September with all proceeds benefiting Beery and his family.
“We feel very fortunate to be a part of the Sequim lavender community and benefit from many guests visiting our farm each year,” Hilliker said. “We want to leverage this large volume of visitors to help raise funds and awareness for this young man. We hope we can assist him and his family in this small way with some financial assistance.”
For more on the B&B Family Farm, call 360-504-2585 or visit bbfamilyfarm.com.
During Sequim Lavender Weekend, which includes the Sequim Lavender Festival and many other events, B&B Lavender Farm is free to visit then and during its regular season.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.