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Lavender’s abundant bloom

Thanks to a warmer year, farmers in Sequim area harvest early season lavender like this Folgate at Washington Lavender Farm.  - Photo by Ron Stecker
Thanks to a warmer year, farmers in Sequim area harvest early season lavender like this Folgate at Washington Lavender Farm.
— image credit: Photo by Ron Stecker

Lavender Farmers say plants on track for festivities

 

The familiar pink and purple of Sequim’s lavender fields are coming to fruition this week.

After a few off years for the blooming season due to cold and wet conditions, local lavender farmers are expecting a big bounce back.

When Vickie Oen, general manager of Purple Haze Lavender Farm, started with the farm 14 years ago, she said now, early July, was the time when the plants began blooming.

“It’s cycled back around to a more traditional time frame,” she said. “One year, it didn’t bloom until the Monday leading to Lavender Weekend.”

Many farms like Lost Mountain Lavender and Purple Haze have started their U-pick lavender season already while others like The Lavender Connection start on July 4 or only during Lavender Weekend, running July 18-20, like Blackberry Forest. Farmers don’t seem to anticipate seeing any hiccups with plants blooming on time before and near Sequim Lavender Weekend.

Susan Olson, owner of The Lavender Connection, said the past few years they’ve been crossing their fingers on their farm on Cays Road hoping for lavender to be ready.

“We’ll be ready for U-cut this year,” she said. “Our fields are gorgeous.”

Olson said they won’t be harvesting early, though.

“We’ll have U-cut all summer,” she said. “We don’t typically harvest until after other farms. We want to make sure that there is some available for people who come later.”

Farmers say early season lavender like angustifolia are coming in now while plants like Grosso come in two to three weeks.

Monica Quevedo, co-owner of Lost Mountain Lavender, said about a handful of her 20-plus lavender varieties are blooming now with the rest likely to come in the same time frame.

“It should all be here in perfect time for the festival (Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair),” she said.

For those plants that blossom early on her farm off Taylor Cutoff Road, like Seal Seven Oaks, Quevedo said they’ll harvest one or two rows to sell as bundles and/or product but have plenty for U-pick.

Barbara Sanford, owner of Blackberry Forest off Forrest Road, said many of her friends are harvesting early but her Grosso is right on time with its purple just coming in.

“The stocks are starting to fill up and the tiny buds will fill up with oil but they haven’t really flowered yet,” she said.

Sanford’s recommended time for U-pick is with three-five blooms per lavender spike, which has the potential for hundreds of blooms.

“When picked, they’ll stay beautiful and won’t have a lot of flowers to turn brown and fall off,” she said.

At Purple Haze, Oen said a majority of their lavender plants aren’t quite ready either but they’ll harvest before Lavender Weekend and much of their lavender won’t be available late in the summer unlike previous years.

“This year, that (lavender) will probably be gone, she said. “Now is a good time to start picking.”

The lavender season culminates around Lavender Weekend which includes multiple events like the Sequim Lavender Festival, going into its 18th year, and the Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair.

In the next three weeks, you likely might find farmers like Quevedo making products and tidying the fields before the big weekend as part of her group’s event (The Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair).

In her three years of participating in the Sequim Lavender Heritage Farm Tour, she’s learned people love lavender.

“They are curious about how it works,” she said. She plans to have a farmer on hand to explain the process from the plant to a product.

Paul Jendrucko, spokesman for the Sequim Lavender Festival, works every Lavender Festival Street Fair as Dr. Lavender explaining the plants to visitors, too.

“They require lots of sun, good drainage and at the end of harvest need that distinctive prune. We call it the Halloween haircut around September or October and trim them into those mounds,” he said.

For more information on Lavender Weekend events, check out visitsunnysequim.com, sequimlavender.org and lavenderfestival.com. Look for the special section in the July 9 edition of the Sequim Gazette.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

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