Editor’s note: Here is the free Sequim Lavender Weekend guide.
Let’s talk lavender logistics.
This year, 12 farms open for free this Sequim Lavender Weekend on July 17-19 with another four farms charging an admission and two of those partnering with joint tickets.
Gone are Lavender in the Park and the Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair, as organizers — members of the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association — plan to focus on events and promotion through the whole summer instead.
Jardin du Soleil, 3832 Sequim-Dungeness Way, and Olympic Lavender Heritage Farm, 1532 Marine Drive, partner to offer $10 tickets per person to visit both farms for the three day weekend with children 12 and under free. A free shuttle bus runs from the Sequim Museum & Arts Center on Sequim Avenue to the farms.
Sequim pioneer farm Purple Haze Lavender Farm’s owners at 180 Bell Bottom Lane, has branched off to do its own thing this year, beginning Purple Haze Daze. It costs $10 per person for all three days with children 12 and younger free. A free shuttle runs to and from nearby QFC.
Washington Lavender Farm, 939 Finn Hall Road in Port Angeles, is the fourth farm to charge its own admission this weekend at $10 per carload for up to six people and $5 per additional person. Children 6 and under are free and buses are $5 per person with a driver and tour guide free.
Farm owners begin the inaugural NW Colonial Festival on July 15, which runs through the weekend with daily reenactments of the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington Green and the Old North Bridge on April 19, 1775.
All four farms are open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
The Sequim Lavender Festival Farm Tour features seven farms and one commercial nursery with free admission from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. They include: Blackberry Forest, 136 Forrest Road; Fat Cat Garden & Gifts, 21 Fat Cat Lane; Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road; Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Huble Hill Road; Martha Lane Lavender, 371 Martha Lane; Oliver’s Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane; The Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road, and Peninsula Nurseries, 1060 Sequim-Dungeness Way.
Other free farms available for visits include: B&B Family Farm (formerly Angel Farm), 5883 Old Olympic Highway, open 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Lost Mountain Lavender, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, 274154 U.S. Hwy. 101, open 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Victor’s Lavender Celebration, 3743 Old Olympic Highway, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
All of the farms feature some or all of the following: U-pick lavender, live music, food, lavender product demonstrations and vendors.
The Lavender Festival Street Fair by the Sequim Lavender Growers Association runs on Fir Street between Third Avenue and Sequim Avenue from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. It features more than 150 vendors, a Festival Fun for Kids event with activities for children of all ages, live music beginning at 11 a.m. daily at the LAVENDERSTOCK stage, and a street dance from 7-9 p.m. Saturday featuring Blues County Sheriff.
The City of Sequim and Sequim Lavender Growers Association also offer a free shuttle bus from the JCPenney parking lot, Sequim Middle School, Street Fair, the intersection of Second Avenue and Washington Street, and QFC.
Drought and sun
Many local lavender farmers say the hot and dry conditions have made lavender bloom early this year.
Mike Reichner, co-owner of Purple Haze, said their lavender was about two to three weeks early, but that he finds it’s been “no big deal.”
“We’re fine,” Reichner said. “It looks just gorgeous.”
Paul Schiefen, co-owner of Jardin du Soleil, said they harvested some plants early for bundles but the plants are doing great.
“So far the rest of the lavender left on the plant is gorgeous,” he said. “The grosso will be great for the weekend. We’ll literally start harvesting the day after (the weekend). If we leave it on too long it dries up.”
Schiefen said lavender holds up well in the drought conditions because it is one of the best drought-tolerant perennials available.
Mary Jendrucko, executive director of the Sequim Lavender Festival, said their farmers harvested some lavender early too.
“Farmers have been aware of wanting to have lavender for U-pick,” she said. “They’ve harvested a lot of it, but left some out on the farms. The Lavender Connection for example has beautiful angustifolias but they don’t harvest it all because they make it into oils and other things.”
With the lavender OK’d by the experts, the weekend forecast looks favorable for farm visitors, too. But many visitors have been getting an early peek.
“We’ve been swamped for weeks now,” Reichner said. “In 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like it. We’ll have 10 or 12 cars when we open and 25 cars when we close, which has never happened this early before. We normally get a few people but this is numbering well into the thousands.”
Schiefen said his farm and the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association created an all-inclusive driving guide for farms open all summer as an effort to promote lavender through the fall.
“It’s been well-received,” Schiefen said. “It’s our all-summer guide while the city’s guide is for this weekend.”
The City of Sequim promotes all of the local events happening this weekend under the Sequim Lavender Weekend umbrella.
Barbara Hanna, communications and marketing director, said they promote a comprehensive resource through www.visitsunnysequim.com and maps that include all of the events.