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Purple Days are here
by MATTHEW NASH
During the Sequim Lavender Weekend, July 20-22, our small town becomes a haven for lavender sniffers, lavender clippers and lavender connoisseurs.
Both the Sequim Lavender Growers Association (Sequim Lavender Festival) and the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association (Sequim Lavender Farm Faire) host dozens of events. For a more detailed listing of all things lavender, see www.sequimlavenderweekend.com, the special section in today’s paper, or the Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce, 1192 E. Washington St., or its annex, 163 W. Washington St.
Sequim Lavender Farm Faire
Farmers with the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association seem ready for great weather and to build on their first year of success under a new name. They host seven farms on their Heritage Farms on Tour — Purple Haze Lavender Farm, Olympic Lavender, Jardin Du Soleil, Lost Mountain Lavender Farm, Port Williams Lavender, Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm and Washington Lavender Farm.
Advance tickets are available through Thursday, July 19, for $10, for 13 and up; tickets are $15 this weekend at the farms and outlets around town. Military discounts are available. See www.lavenderfarms.org for more information.
Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. Friday at the Water Reuse Demonstration Park with the 133rd Army Band, gardening guru Ciscoe Morris and local leaders.
Other events include Lavender in the Park, a recently announced Kids Faire from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, live music and several happenings at each of the farms.
Lavender newcomers Paul and Jordan Schiefen, owners of Jardin du Soleil, rate their comfort level as high going into their first year with the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire.
Jordan said they are staying up until midnight finishing products because they are packaging items and selling out immediately.
“People are buying things before I can put a price tag on them,” she said.
Paul said their culinary items, such as lavender honey, shortbread cookies and salted caramels, are popular.
For the next few days they’ll finish stocking and packaging items and do some weeding.
Paul said they’ve already learned a lot, including making up for some missed opportunities next year during the winter months.
The couple said the farm is photo-ready, but probably not U-pick ready just yet.
They appear on the news program “Evening Magazine” Wednesday, July 18, with folks from Purple Haze Lavender Farm.
Jordan said once that airs they plan to be done with prep and get to have fun.
“It’s going to be a blast,” Paul said.
A family affair
Monica Quevedo, co-owner of Lost Mountain Lavender, is bringing in much of her family to help with the weekend.
“They don’t know what they are in for,” she joked.
Quevedo and her partner Ray Veihl purchased the farm in December 2011 and she’s finding the lavender life can be a busy one. In the weeks leading up to the fair, Quevedo, a former private school meal program coordinator, said she’s been working nonstop preparing items for the farm’s Cottage Gift Shop.
“People really like the soaps and are coming back just for it,” she said. “I’ve been told they are grateful we’re keeping things the same and that they are glad we’re back on the tour.”
Quevedo’s only planned change is to add more lavender plants.
“It’s almost like a park with beautiful grounds,” she said.
For more information on the Lavender Farm Faire, visit www.sequimlavenderfarms.org.
Sequim Lavender Festival
A sweet 16 years later, farmers with the Sequim Lavender Growers Association continues the Sequim Lavender Festival with a new focus on smaller lavender farms.
Seven farms open their doors for free to visitors — Blackberry Forest, Graysmarsh Farm, Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, Martha Lane Lavender, Oliver’s Lavender Farm, Lavender Connection and Peninsula Nurseries.
Their events kick off at 11 a.m. Friday, with Paul “Dr. Lavender” Jendrucko leading a lavender demonstration and the Tacoma Scots Pipe Band to follow. The Street Fair on Fir Street continues, along with live music, called “Lavenderstock,” and a car show on Sunday.
Amy Lundstrom, co-owner of Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, said they had their best year ever in 2011 with about 3,000 people visiting in the weekend. It was the first time they advertised the farm being open for the Lavender Festival’s farms tour.
“We know what to expect,” she said. “People still come every day and ask if it’s a new farm.”
Part of their success saw Lundstrom and her daughter, Tilly, raise $1,000 for the Korean Women’s Association after donating sales of Sequim Lavender Growers Association products and Tilly’s lavender lemonade. This year they plan to donate the sales of the same products to Greywolf Elementary School’s music program.
Nelson’s Duckpond sells U-pick lavender and an array of homemade lavender products, such as pound cake, sugars, teas, garlic pepper and even lemon lavender bug repellent.
Tilly gives tours of the farm and already has met people from New Zealand and Transylvania.
Susan Zuspan, owner of Let’s Do Lavender, has been a vendor for 12 years at the Lavender Festival’s Street Fair on Fir Street.
“I always think of it as a happy place because everyone is having such fun and enjoying themselves browsing through the wide array of talented artists’ and craftspeople’s booths and enjoying all that the Street Fair has to offer,” she said.
Her lavender year begins in February making products from the 400 plants she grows on Bell Hill: sachets, neck body wraps and eye pillows, lavender-inspired aprons and her no-hat-hair sun visors. The year she introduced the visors it rained and they became a needed commodity, Zuspan said.
Barbara Sanford, owner of Blackberry Forest, sell sachets and soaps using her lavender and opens up her 15 acres of lavender fields once a year for the festival.
“By the weekend, the lavender should be perfect,” said Sanford, a retired musician. Last year, despite the rain and wind, people still came out, she said, and every person who visits is treasured.
“It’s such a small window of time to love what I love and walk through and smell what I smell, but to see people thrilled with it and take it home — that’s such a privilege,” Sanford said.
For more information, visit www.lavenderfestival.com.