Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Peace, Love, and Lavender

That title came to mind when I glanced over and saw this whimsical wooden hippy statue holding a bouquet of dried lavender staring back at me.  What a strange site, I thought.  But not when you consider that I was standing in the middle of a lavender farm in Sequim, Washington.
                                                                                    The city (pronounced skwim) and the surrounding area are particularly known for the commercial cultivation of lavender which flourishes in the unique climate.  Sequim lies within the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and receives, on average, less than 16 inches of rain per year.  Therefore, the city bestowed the nickname “Sunny Sequim” on itself.  And you thought coastal Washington was all rain and fog!  The lack of rainfall and ideal growing conditions for lavender have also given it the title of "Lavender Capital of North America."  After all, the undisputed lavender capital of the world title goes to France.

With so many lavender farms in the area, we had to visit at least one.  Unfortunately, the spectacular peak blooming time was over and we missed the brilliant lavender color that inspires artists and photographers.  Nonetheless we did manage to see some bushes that were in their second bloom and learn about lavender farming at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm

Lavender is grown for many purposes including as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and for the extraction of essential oils that make soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc.  My interest was in the culinary side, of course.  And I could not stop thinking of the many ways lavender is used in traditional and modern gastronomic creations.  There is the famous herbes de Provence that is delicately sprinkled over a succulent roasting hen, lavender syrup infused in a honey pound cake, or rich creamy lavender ice cream.

Oils extracted from lavender have been used widely in aromatherapy and to cure ailments.  Since I was suffering from intense craving for ice cream, it was a good thing they had some on hand for me to try.  Otherwise, we were going to have to find a doctor! 

With my pain soothed and ailment cured from the lavender lemon custard, we were free to stroll around the farm and...smell the lavender. 

And you thought the color was going to be lavender!

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