Swati and Shekhar Joshi of Bellevue visit Meli’s Lavender Farm last year after taking a wrong turn into town. “We took a wrong turn but it turned out to be right, and we went down to the John Wayne Marina. It was so beautiful,” Swati Joshi said. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Swati and Shekhar Joshi of Bellevue visit Meli’s Lavender Farm last year after taking a wrong turn into town. “We took a wrong turn but it turned out to be right, and we went down to the John Wayne Marina. It was so beautiful,” Swati Joshi said. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Lavender farms welcome public safely

Visitors respectful of regulations, farmers say

Editor’s note: Clallam County Health & Human Services/Enviornmental Health staff said, live music, food trucks and arts and crafts type vendors are not allowed under Phase 2, but food associated with the retail store (i.e. lavender ice cream) may be sold with the proper permits under the order of Gov. Jay Inslee. In Phase 3, farms may add music and vendors for less than 50 people.

There’s plenty of room for social distancing in Sequim’s lavender fields, farmers say.

With purples and pinks blooming across the area this month, many local lavender farms are safely in full swing — or soon will be — for an anticipated low-key summer.

With all lavender farms requiring masks in their farms stores and a few in their fields, too, farmers look to abide by state mandates for face coverings and extra sanitary measures to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

It’s so far, so good at B&B Lavender Farm, co-owner Kristy Hilliker said.

“We’re happy to have the visitors,” she said. “People have been really respectful. If they don’t have (on a face covering) and see us or others with them on, they’ll go back to their car and get them on. I’ve been so grateful.”

Farm staff ask visitors to wear masks inside their store and during tours and recommend them in the fields and to distance themselves at least 6 feet from other visitors. Like many farms, they too offer curbside pickup and/or online ordering.

General Manager Vickie Oen said visitors began coming more frequently about two weeks ago to Purple Haze Lavender Farm. She said “lavender farms are great for social distancing.” Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

General Manager Vickie Oen said visitors began coming more frequently about two weeks ago to Purple Haze Lavender Farm. She said “lavender farms are great for social distancing.” Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

B&B Lavender Farm typically opens in May, but they opened this year on June 1, Hilliker said. Retail sales are down an estimated 30 percent from normal, but Hilliker said she expected a bigger dip.

“We’re thrilled,” she said. “The income is obviously fantastic. We’re also trying to be extra cautious. A lot of people in one place (right now) is not a good thing, but I think everyone has been super respectful.”

Susan Steffes, who bought and renamed Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain last year with her husband Doug Falhlgren, said people have been respectful about wearing a mask in their gift shop too.

Traffic has been consistent, she said, but she’s not sure what to expect for Sequim Lavender Weekend.

Switch on

Vickie Oen, general manager at Purple Haze Lavender Farm, said “the switch turned on for traffic” to find the farm on Bell Bottom Road in the last two weeks. She said provisions are in place for masks in the farm store and the downtown Sequim shop while she finds “lavender farms are great for social distancing.”

In recent years, the farm has hosted its own event during Sequim Lavender Weekend called Purple Haze Daze, but Oen said they’re taking a year off. However, they’ll host a burger truck July 17-19 at the farm.

“(We’re) not expecting as many people during that weekend like Purple Haze Daze, but it’ll be your typical summer weekend,” Oen said.

In previous years, some farms charged an admission fee during Sequim Lavender Weekend, but no farmer listed in this story said they will charge admission July 17-19 or when open during the summer months.

Up first

For the third year, owners of Washington Lavender host the two-week Washington Lavender Festival, July 10-19.

Co-owner Janet Abbott said they’ve modified it because of state regulations, but staples such as lavender ice cream and U-pick lavender remain.

The farm also hosts some vendors at one or both weekends, with some staying the whole event. Wreath-making and other lavender crafts will also be available with safety provisions in place, she said.

Abbott encourages people to shop in advance at shop.georgewashingtoninn.com so it’ll be ready for them at the window behind the store’s cash register when they are able to visit the farm.

She said they’ve seen a small but steady stream of visitors so far. Visitors to the farm and those staying at the George Washington Inn are picking up.

“It’s better than it has been in recent months,” Abbott said.

By appointment

As a new effort to protect customers and allow for enough time to clean, Rebecca Olson, co-owner of The Lavender Connection, said they just opened reservations for special appointments to visit her farm off Cays Road.

Visitors are asked to fill out a form at www.lavenderconnection.com to book a free visit.

“We felt this was the best way customers could have the best experience,” Olson said.

“When they go in the store or do U-cut (lavender), we feel we can easily sanitize for them.”

Washington Lavender and the George Washington Inn host a modified Washington Lavender Festival from July 10-19 with lavender ice cream, some vendors and lavender craft sessions with safety provisions in place to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Washington Lavender and the George Washington Inn host a modified Washington Lavender Festival from July 10-19 with lavender ice cream, some vendors and lavender craft sessions with safety provisions in place to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Olson said with COVID-19 regulations in place, they don’t anticipate as many customers as a usual summer.

“The people who do come will have a good time,” she said. “And if they have a family member who is immune-compromised, they can have the farm to themselves. It should feel like a special appointment.”

Per tradition, the farm will continue to give free bundles to veterans, but they must schedule a free appointment.

Street Fair postponed

Many of the farms with the Sequim Lavender Festival, a part of Sequim Lavender weekend, plan to open in some capacity, but organizers of the festival postponed the Street Fair in Carrie Blake Community Park to 2021 for its 24th year.

The owners of Blackberry Forest said they will not be open during the festival while Fat Cat Garden & Gifts is open but not part of a tour. Earth Muffin Lavender on Woodcock Road closed indefinitely, its owner said.

In a Facebook post, Peninsula Nursery’s owners said it closed to the public on July 4, and will move into a 3-days a week operation at its nursery and not fully reopen until next spring. For more information on visitations, call 360-681-7953.

Community events during Lavender Weekend such as Art Jam, Olympic Driftwood Sculptors’ show, and the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club’s Quilt Show have also been canceled or postponed.

Sequim area lavender farms (in alphabetical order):

B&B Family Farm, 5883 Old Olympic Highway; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.daily through Sept. 30. Features U-pick lavender; lavender products and plants; free farm tours; leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-504-2585, www.bbfamilyfarm.com

Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road; Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday through September. Features: U-pick lavender; lavender products and plants, berries. Contact: 360-683-5563, graysmarsh.com

Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Monday through Sept. 7. Features: U-pick lavender, lavender products, plants. Leashed pets OK. From July 17-19 meet photographer Keith Ross of Keith’s Frame of Mind, and see alpacas. Contact: 360-681-2782, fleurishlavender.com

Jardin du Soleil Lavender, 3832 Sequim-Dungeness Way; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday through Sept. 30. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in July. Features: U-pick lavender, products and plants. Outside store for ordering. Leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-582-1185, www.jardindusoleil.com

Kitty B’s Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane; open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 10-19. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; some vendors and oil distillation demo July 17-19. Contact: 360-772-2062, www.kittyblavenderfarm.com

Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road; open by appointment through Sept. 7. Visit www.lavenderconnection.com to schedule a free visit. Features: U-pick lavender, products and plants, oil distillation, and more. Leashed pets OK. Contact: Website, 360-681-6055

Meli’s Lavender, 62 W. Diane Drive; open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 8-Aug. 1. Wednesday-Sunday. Features: U-pick lavender, plants for sale, leashed pets OK. July 17-10 wreath making classes. Contact: 360-461-9958, www.facebook.com/melislavender

Nelson Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products. Leashed pets OK. Mask required on all grounds. Outside shop available July 17-19. Contact: 360-681-7727, nelsonsduckpond.com

Olympic Lavender Company, 1532 Marine Drive; open this summer at a date TBD. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products. Up to date information on opening at buylavender.com

Purple Haze Lavender Farm, 180 Bell Bottom Lane; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 7. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products; leashed pets OK. Downtown store, 127 W. Washington St., open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Contact: 360-683-1714, purplehazelavender.com

Rancho La Morada Lavender & Flower Farm, 1434 Marine Drive; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 17-19, 24-25. Features: U-pick lavender, lavender products, plants, lavender wreath making, and more. Leashed pets OK. First year for farm. Contact: 360-461-7679, randolamorada@gmail.com

Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, 274154 U.S. Highway 101; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through September. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; some vendors July 17-19. Contact: 360-683-6453, www.sunshinelavender.com

Troll Haven/Bandy Farms, 950 Gardiner Beach Road; open for U-cut 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17-19 with a Farmers Market on July 18. Additional U-cut dates from 11-3 p.m. Saturday, July 11 and Aug. 1, during the Farmers Market. Contact: www.facebook.com/TrollHavenBandyFarms

Victor’s Lavender Farm, 3743 Old Olympic Highway; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Aug. 30. Classes following state guidelines available at victorslavender.com

Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm, 1410 Kitchen-Dick Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Sept. 27. Features: U-pick, lavender products and more. Leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-912-3938, victorslavender.com

Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Sept. 7 with festival going July 10-19. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-452-4877, www.facebook.com/walavenderfestival.

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