Sequim Gazette staff
The Sequim Lavender Growers Association, sponsors of the Sequim Lavender Festival, have appointed a new executive director and named the lavender farms for the festival’s self-guided tour.
Mary Lou Jendrucko, past three-term president and long-time member of the growers association, became the group’s new executive director effective Feb. 1.
She’s assembled a new group —“Team Lavender”— of festival business people, press media and local businesses for the 15th year of the festival.
“This is going to be the best one ever, full of fragrances from our members’ lavender farms and the appearance of top-rated and exceptional live entertainment and available Pacific Northwest food favorites. And, as always, artists and crafters specially selected for their high quality, reputation and talents will greet visitors at our in-town street fair,” Jendrucko said.
Following the tradition of prior festivals, there will be six SLGA members’ farms and another participating farm available for self-guided tours throughout the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
• Graysmarsh Farm, non-member participant
These farms have developed their small plots of land from the ground up into small pocket or niche farms and successful lavender businesses.
“It has been clearly shown that small farming on one or two acres can be efficient and profitable as demonstrated by the popularity and success of local farmers markets and inclusion of locally grown vegetables on supermarket shelves,” Jendrucko said.
“For anyone considering small-scale farming, this is a great opportunity to see what works firsthand and visit with the people who make it work. And it’s free.”
Farmers said they have about one to three acres of lavender with each acre holding thousands of lavender plants.
Jendrucko said since starting Team Lavender there hasn’t been one member who hasn’t pitched in. Group members agreed, saying it’s been 100-percent participation.
The group also has hired Anna Manildi, former executive director of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, and Leslie Babbitt-Hamlin to help Team Lavender.
Terry Stolz, president of the growers association, speaks highly of the lavender growers’ operations and of the support from the community of the lavender industry.
“Our members created the Lavender Capital of North America,” Stolz said.
“Sequim put lavender on the map and lavender put Sequim on the map.”
Jendrucko worked in the aerospace and the electronics industries for more than 20 years in office management and accounting. She raised two daughters with her husband, Paul Jendrucko, was an officer for the Parent Teacher Association and was active in local fundraising events.
As a long-term member of the growers association, Jendrucko served on all of its major committees, its board of directors and was president three consecutive terms.
“Mary is an entrepreneur, inventor, business person and festival vendor in her own right,” Stolz said.
“She created and holds two U.S. patents for the only known lavender product — a lavender-filled pet bandanna under the DogdotCalm trademark. Mary has a great understanding of what’s important for good festival management, its festival visitors and the entire community.”
The Sequim Lavender Festival runs July 15-17.
The Sequim Lavender Growers Association has its headquarters, Lavender Central, at 237 N. Sequim Ave. and can be reached at 681-3035.
Visit them at www.sequimlavenderfestival.com.