After its first year, the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association is prepping for even more success at its second go-round this summer on July 20-22, the traditional Sequim Lavender Weekend.
Members, including three founding members of the Sequim lavender movement, remain committed to the highest quality lavender, lavender products and programs through the event, said Scott Nagel, association executive director.
Each member of the farmers association is a local, family owned and operated farm ranging from three to 12 acres with more than 100 years of collective lavender-growing experience.
The weekend is known for its Lavender Farm Tour, now in its 16th year. Jardin du Soleil rejoins the tour this year alongside Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm, Olympic Lavender Farm, Port Williams Lavender, Purple Haze Lavender Farm, Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm and Washington Lavender Farm.
This brings the tour to seven farms.
Lost Mountain Lavender has joined the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association under new owners Monica Quevedo and Ray Veihl from California. More information on the farm’s summer plans will come later.
Each farm features U-pick lavender fields and its own self-contained festival with workshops, demonstrations, food, music, crafts vendors and more.
Admission to the farm tour is $10 in advance and $15 during the fair weekend, with discounts for active military and dependents ($10), and children under 12 free.
The free shuttle bus service to the farms and the free Lavender in the Park event at Carrie Blake/Water Reuse Demonstration Park continue.
Lavender in the Park features lavender and lavender products from the members of the farmers association, handmade crafts, nonprofit organizations, sponsors, Northwest food products and agricultural merchants.
Music and performances continue at the James Center for the Performing Arts Amphitheater.
Opening ceremonies on Friday, July 20, bring popular gardening personality Ciscoe Morris back to Sequim along with the patriotic tunes of the 133rd Army Band.
Nagel said the completion of the Albert Haller Playfields will make accessing Lavender in the Park easier with bus drop-offs and pick-ups closer to the stage.
• Local painter Jim Lyman was chosen as the artist for the fair’s poster celebrating members of the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association.
• Membership applications are available for Sequim Dungeness Valley farms and lavender product producers (such as oils, soaps, etc.) as well as for associate members from around the world.
Applications for crafts vendors for Lavender in the Park are available, too (see link at end of story).
• The Garden Bistro at the corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street plans to host music, food and a beer garden through the weekend for a second year.
• Jazz in the Alley returns, co-sponsored by the BrokersGroup, with music by Pearl Django, one of the most popular bands to visit the peninsula. They play the James Center for Performing Arts amphitheater, as well.
• The farmers association hosts the 2012 International Lavender Conference, April 20-22, 2012, at the Holiday Inn Express and Conference Center. Keynoter speaker is Dr. Tim Upson, co-author of “The Genus Lavendula” and curator of Cambridge University’s 40-acre botanical garden in Cambridge, England.
The farmers association plans to launch a new program, Sequim Certified, in early 2012 to ensure both public safety and premium quality culinary lavender.
The certification makes available a special seal for use by lavender processors on their culinary products and certifies that the lavender was inspected at a contracted laboratory and deemed of premium quality, free of debris and pests.
Nagel said culinary lavender is experiencing a renewed awakening and as the public becomes better educated in its uses, increased demand has ensued.
“The farmers have undertaken this project so that the consumer can rest assured that the lavender used in their culinary product is of the finest quality and just that it’s lavender pure and simple,” he said. “We have been looking at ways to promote and restore culinary lavender to its rightful place in the spice cabinet.”
Farmers think the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, passed in January 2011, contains provisions similar to what they are establishing.
The City of Sequim is streamlining information about lavender events, including the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire and the Sequim Lavender Festival (run by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association), through the phrase “Sequim Lavender Weekend” and two websites — www.sequimlavenderweekend.com and www.lavenderweekend.com.
Barbara Hanna, City of Sequim communications and marketing manager, said the two associations plan to do joint marketing under the Sequim Lavender Weekend umbrella while having their own promotions.
Five association farm stores open for Christmas shopping and special events.
• Jardin du Soleil opens 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sundays, with lavender hot cocoa and teas to sample.
• Purple Haze Lavender opens 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, noon-4 p.m. Sunday, and Holiday Downtown Open House, Dec. 2-4.
• Port Williams Lavender opens 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 17,
• Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm opens 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.
• Washington Lavender opens 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Dec, 17.
For more on the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire, contact the organization at 452-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sequimlavenderfarms.org.