Wearing the only purple item I own and plenty of sunscreen, I fully embraced the culture of Sequim lavender for the first time this past weekend.
Like thousands of people before me and with many more to come, I took my family to cut some lavender of our own.
While I’ve snapped plenty of photos in lavender fields and written dozens of stories on the plant and its local farmers, I’ve never gone lavender picking. Sure, I’ve bought the lavender products from the bug repellant to the hand soap but U-cut seems to be the draw.
It’s the allure of getting your knees and hands dirty or oily in lavender’s case. The sites and photographs can be breathtaking with friends sharing a joke while filling a basket or cousins running the rows of purple and pink.
Our approach was to avoid the sun’s heat with full knowledge my 2-year-old’s energy level could crash and so could ours, so in our few hours of “lav-ing it up” before nap time we ventured to Lost Mountain Lavender and Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm.
Both are open during Sequim Lavender Weekend with Lost Mountain a part of the Sequim Lavender Farm Tour & Fair, admission required at farms July 18-20, and Nelson’s Duckpond a part of the Sequim Lavender Festival, admission is free.
One thing to note is that most of the Sequim lavender farms are open year-round and there’s no entry fee. The idea behind Sequim Lavender Weekend is to promote people coming to Sequim more than just on the one weekend.
Finding lavender in Lost Mountain
We stopped at Lost Mountain Lavender Farm, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road, first since it was the closest farm to our home. We pulled in and immediately noticed the water wheel next to the parking lot. It took us about a minute to stop staring as it went round and round before we walked to the gift shop. Farm co-owner Monica Quevedo greeted us and we found our basket and scissors for U-cut. We decided to scope things out and walked back to the sample garden with a number of different lavender breeds.
Reed took a liking to the small rocks and dirt in the pathway, but I wasn’t surprised because that’s one of his favorite pastimes at home. We walked to the first row of lavender Hidcote, an angustifolia, and decided this would be a good place to start.
It was hard not to notice the honeybees all around but one worker eased our worries saying that they won’t sting us. We simply just need to brush the plant with our scissors or hands to shoo them away.
The bees were a big hit for Reed since he refers to any and all bugs as “bees!” A spider is a bee. A beetle is a bee. And so forth. He can say Spider-Man though, which shows how my interests already are rubbing off on his vocabulary.
So, I took a knee and pinched a stem and clipped above the old growth and leaves to take my victorious first cut.
But to be honest it’s somewhat anticlimactic for two parts. Firstly, lavender is everywhere even down the steps at my work, so it’s common for me to break off a sprig in the summer to smell while I walk somewhere. But the farms are all about the experience I learned.
Secondly, looking at the bundle afterwards, I couldn’t tell you which one I cut first. But I suppose it’s like a mother rabbit, she may not know which baby is which, but she loves them all equally.
The best tip I can remember for lavender picking is to hang your bundle upside down in a dark place to preserve its colors for at least 7-10 days.
After running the rows a few times, gathering a full bundle and checking out the gift shop we deemed our first lavender farm U-cut a success.
Ducks, fish & lavender
A short drive west and on the south side of U.S. Highway 101, we checked out Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road.
Down the driveway we saw the bright yellow Tilly’s Lavender Lemonade Stand, which I’ve had before after visiting for photo ops.
Tilly Lundstrom greeted us at the top of the driveway so of course we had to start with her lavender lemonade. Her drink was definitely a hit for our family and we liked that its proceeds helps her music program at Greywolf Elementary.
One lavender lemonade pro-tip is that it doesn’t appear to stain clothing if you happen to have a toddler who likes to drink your beverages over you.
From here, Tilly showed us the best way to cut and bundle before we walked out to the lavender rows.
As my wife and I cut different types of lavender, Reed took many of the recent clippings out of the basket and handed them to Tilly.
“I don’t think he likes them,” Tilly joked.
“Nah, I think he’s just sharing,” I said.
“No thanks,” she told Reed. “I have enough lavender. I live here.”
Once we gathered up our lavender bundle or in Reed’s mind, Tilly’s bundle, we went to check out the duck pond. Thankfully the ducks were quacking and swimming and the fish were biting.
Reed got to feed the fish and was so eager he wanted to try and pet them, too.
Overall, the friendly demeanor, parking and lemonade added to the lavender U-cut experience here, too.
Quick round up
While lavender growing may not be Sequim’s oldest tradition, it’s a welcome one in my opinion. I found the experience of U-cut laid back, family friendly and fairly inexpensive. While I like seeing all the people in the fields and streets during Sequim Lavender Weekend, I think I’ll wait until Reed is a little older before we take on any official tours.
However, I look forward to the first time for our family’s lavender farm tour. In the meantime I’ll still be out there snapping pictures while everything continues to come up lavender.