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Farm Faire firming its ground

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by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Lavender Weekend remains business as usual for the newly established Sequim Lavender Farmers Association. The group, comprising many of Sequim’s original lavender farms, has started its own three-day event, the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire based out of Carrie Blake Park.

 

One of the main events, the classic Lavender Farms on Tour, continues for a 15th year with the group’s world-famous lavender farms. Participating farms on the paid-admission tour are Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm, Olympic Lavender Farm, Port Williams Lavender, Purple Haze Lavender, Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm and Washington Lavender.

 

Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm rejoins the tour as a limited edition farm after originally not anticipating their participation due to a family commitment. They and all farms with the lavender farmers association expect to be open through lavender season. Farm tour buses will not be stopping at Jardin du Soleil.

 

Scott Nagel, executive director of the farmers association, said when people talk about loving and visiting Sequim’s lavender, they are talking about these farms.

 

He said the event is like eight festivals in one fair with each farm featuring live music, food, demonstrations and workshops along with U-pick lavender.

Farming a perspective

The farm tour members confirm that much of their lavender will be blooming for the fair.

 

Sequim faced a cold, wet winter that killed plants on a few farms but everyone remains optimistic.

 

“It’ll be ready,” said Sue Shirkey, co-owner of Port Williams Lavender. “It’ll look great. Our visitors will see the purple coming in and have a great time.”

 

With the loss of some lavender plants, Shirkey sees it as an opportunity to redesign and recreate the farm and include new varieties. “We keep forgetting we’re getting older because we keep creating more new ideas,” she said.

 

Mary Borland-Liebsch, owner of Olympic Lavender Farm, said she’s preparing the same way this year as always, confirming plans and doing lots of weeding.

 

“We’re lucky where we are. We have more color in the plants than most,” Borland-Liebsch said. “If we get some decent sun we’ll be in good shape. English lavender will be ready for sure. Lavandins like grosso, super and white spike typically come in later.”

 

Many of the products Port Williams Lavender makes are from last year’s harvest, so even if some plants don’t bloom right away, they’ll have enough for next year as well, said Michael Shirkey. They dry lavender and produce many of their products in the winter.

 

He said farmers normally are ready to harvest because the perfect time for a bulk of the plants is Lavender Weekend.

 

Sue Shirkey said having a lavender farm creates a unique opportunity to share their adventure with others.

 

“The whole farm is built to have people come out and enjoy the bounty,” she said. “We’re so blessed out here especially when lavender is in bloom.”

Lavender in the Park

Another component to the fair is Lavender in the Park, which includes more than 150 booths with food, crafts, nonprofit organizations, agricultural programs and demonstrations in Carrie Blake Park and the Water Reuse Demonstration Site.

 

Free farm tour buses leave beginning at 9:30 a.m. from the bus stop at the north end of Lavender in the Park on Blake Avenue and run through 6 p.m.

 

Buses leave every 30 minutes for Purple Haze Lavender and Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb on bus No. 1; for Port Williams Lavender and Olympic Lavender Farm on bus No. 2; every 45 minutes for Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm on bus No. 3; and Washington Lavender on bus No. 4.

 

More than 2,000 parking spaces are at the fair parking lot on Blake Avenue, managed by the Sequim High School Band Boosters with a $2 donation requested to help fund band programs. The farm tour ticket includes free parking at the farms.

Garden Bistro

Farmers are partnering with Garden Bistro at the northeast corner of Washington Street and Sequim Avenue for an antique tractor display, community stage for local talent, outdoor grill and a local wine and beer garden sponsored by Olympic Peninsula Wineries and Olympic Distributors. The bistro’s hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

 

The stage is open to local performers on a first-come, first-served basis. For booking information, contact John Bridger, Garden Bistro co-owner, at 809-0585 or yum@garden-bistro.com.

 

TV appearance
Two Farm Faire farmers, Michael Shirkey and Cathy Angel, will appear on KING TV’s New Day Northwest program at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 7.

Volunteers needed

Learn details about the fair and volunteer opportunities and sign up and pick out shifts at a volunteer informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at the Holiday Inn Express, 1441 E. Washington St. Contact volunteer director Kelly Jo Hill at info@sequimlavenderfarms.org or call 452-6300.


Community Events, April 2014

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