Sarah

Dec 042014
 
Screen shot from Debra Prinzing's page with our interview

Screen shot from Debra Prinzing’s page with our interview

Lavender interview by Debra Prinzing (Author of Slow Flowers: The conscious choice for buying and sending flowers)

Mike Neustrom and Sarah Richards were interviewed by Debra at the Northwest Regional Lavender Conference in Portland, OR Oct. 2014.

We are so thrilled to be able to talk with this influential cut flower industry author. From her site we found that Debra Prinzing is a Seattle and Los Angeles-based writer who can credit her happy existence writing about gardens and home design to great preparation: a degree in textiles and design and a long career in journalism.

All we know is that Debra is passionate about flowers, growing & buying them locally, her books are both beautiful and entertaining. It was an honor to be included in her podcast series.

Listen to the Podcast

 Posted by at 3:55 am
Nov 202014
 
Lavandula x-intermedia var “Provence”

Probably the last thing you are thinking as you get ready for Thanksgiving is “Can I plant lavender in my garden now?” But, that is exactly the question a woman asked me two days ago when she stopped by the shop. It’s been freezing cold for more than a week here, which is rare for this time of year out here on Whidbey Island. In spite of that I told her that when it warms up (surely in a couple of days) she can plant her lavender. At least out here.

Potted Plants with Gazebo

If you live in other, colder, parts of this huge country, then my answer is different. Plants fresh in the ground need to be comfy in their root/dirt relationship before they can endure too much freezing (and windy) weather. Here, in the Salish Sea area, our winters are quite temperate, snow and freezing weather are relatively rare, so, as long as the Lots of baby lavendersground isn’t frozen, we can plant most of the year. Not so for the colder parts of this country (such as in the Buffalo area, which, as I write this, is suffering the worst snow in decades). Folks living in snowy and frozen areas have to wait until winter breaks, the ground is unfrozen, and you are able to work the soil again before you can plant lavender. When exactly is that? That depends on the exact nature of your own micro-climate where you live, so you’ll need to ask someone at your local Master Gardener’s service or that neighbor who’s garden always is looking good.

If you find yourself wanting to burn up some of the calories from your dinner, and your weather is warm, then you just might be able to plant some lavender. If you live in our area, you can get some at our shop – we have several varieties, even at this time of year. If you live other places, check the member map at uslavender.org to find a lavender grower near you.
 Posted by at 6:03 am
Nov 092014
 

We love lists!

Scent Yourself Gift Basket

Several types of ready to go gift baskets

Let us help you pick out the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  We can help tailor a gift bag or gift basket for every recipient, or simply box up a great selection of items your family and friends will love.  Please call in advance to make an appointment for this free service  Available between 10am-5pm.  Call 360-544-4312.
Stuffed Animals

Lots of stuffed animals

Pack & Ship

We can do that too.  Once you’ve picked out your goodies, we’ll package them into gift bags or baskets.  Bring your addresses and we will ship them for you and include a free gift card too! (Shipping charges do apply).

Webstore

Wood Salt Pepper Gift

All kinds of food items – baking mixes, salt & pepper sets, herbs, teas, jams….

Or shop from home in your pajamas by visiting our webstore.  Select from one of our gift baskets, gift bags, or wood gift sets.  Or select your own products and add one of our custom gift basket kits (S, M, L, & XL depending on the number of products).  We’ll put together a custom gift basket and ship for you or you can select “Pick up from store” and we’ll have it waiting for you.  You’ll need a separate order for each shipping address.

Many personal care items: lotions, soaps, massage oil, hand towels, kitchen towels. We can't name them all!

Many personal care items: lotions, soaps, massage oil, hand towels, kitchen towels. We can’t name them all!

We’ll include a free gift card – just enter the text in the notes section that you would like included on the card to customize your message for each order.

Relax! We will help take care of your gifting needs.

 Posted by at 5:55 am
Oct 202014
 

In October, 2014, Lavendula arrived in Coupeville, much to her surprise. This is her story as it unfolds over the month.

Day 1

Day 2 Porch

Day 3 Cars

Day 4 Gallery

Day 5 Wharf

Day 6 Museum

Day 7 pictureinmuseum

Day 8 Eagles

Day 9 Lavender Wind

Day 10 Inside

Day 11 Swing

Day 12 Aunts Arrive

Day 13 Sitting with Aunties

[Stay tuned for the next installment.]

 Posted by at 4:46 am
Aug 212014
 
Gathering Lavender at Granery

Gathering Lavender at Granery

There is an amazing resource in Coupeville, and no, I’m not talking lavender.

GraneryLate one afternoon I drove up to the Bishop’s Granery,where they have been letting me hang lavender to dry because we have a bumper crop and needed more drying space. I needed to clear out some dry lavender to make room for more fresh lavender we are harvesting.

The Granery has been on the prairie since at least 1893 as you can see in this image from the inside wall where they were logging bags of grain. Granery Graffitti

As I drove up to the gated dirt road, in my white Chevy Colorado pickup, a car was blocking the entrance to the driveway. A couple of people with cameras were wandering down the road. “Hey!”, I called out, a bit annoyed “I need to get in here.” The woman, with good will, immediately ran to her car and moved it so I could drive in. At the granery they approached me and asked if they could take pictures. With a grin, in spite of still being rather peevish, I said, “Sure! But you have to earn the right by helping me take down some of this lavender.” These two students of light, Arthur Myerson and Keron Psillas who are instructors at Pacific Northwest Art School, gasped with delight as their eyes adjusted to the darkness inside and they saw the racks of lavender hanging. The three of us cheerfully set to work taking the lavender out and throwing it into the back of the pickup. As farm workers they lacked efficiency because they kept stopping and taking pictures. I really can’t fault them, though, look at the result – Arthur sent me the top picture, it makes the lavender come alive. I ended up with a full load of lavender, and they ended up with a bunch of pictures and a story to tell their students.

Owl In Granery

Meet one of the current residents of the Granery.

The amazing resource is two-fold. It’s the Pacific Northwest Art School that brings talented, creative people to our community, and it’s Ebey’s Landing Historical Reserve that has preserved the prairie and beyond for generations to come.

PS. The Granery was part of a larger homestead, which is now gone. This is the setting where the granery is located just back of the tower sort of building.Historical Buildings

The historical pictures of the Granery and the owl are from Karen Bishop used with permission.
Arthur Meyerson’s picture of Sarah gathering lavender in the granery is used with permission.

 Posted by at 12:07 pm
Jul 242014
 

The tragic fires in eastern Washington right now have had an unexpected result for me at the farm. There is a film camp that normally takes place in Twisp each year called Wild Mind Film Camp. The dates for the camp this year are July 16-27. However, they had to evacuate due to the fire in the Methow Valley, and luckily they found accommodations on Whidbey Island. 

Monday I was distilling at the farm and a woman introduces herself as Lulu Gargiulo, a film student, and tells the story of the camp’s relocating. Then she asks if she can film the farm and interview me. Ok, I’m a bit of a ham, so it was easy to say: “Sure!” Turns out this “student” is a film making professional and has done lots of projects from commercials to features. Lulu and Gear in PatioWhat she hasn’t done is direct films, because she has mostly been behind the camera as director of photography and camera operator. Just to add drama to the context of her request of me I want to remind you that we are getting ready for our annual festival and at the same time we are having the biggest harvest we have ever had. Everyone on the staff is working incredibly hard and for longer than normal hours. But, I am a fool for fun projects, and Lulu’s film camp sounded fun.


The next day she comes to the Coupeville shop and prepares to interview me on camera. A fellow student serves as her assistant and they stage the patio, set up their equipment and invite me in. She started asking me questions, and they were good ones. They made me think. They asked me to reflect on the farm, my trajectory as a lavender farmer, my part in the community, and some rather deep thoughts about lavender, farming lavender, and what it all means. 

Lulu in Kitchen with CookieIt was a blast! I’d include the video, but she is off in the editing barn, on Whidbey Island, trying to put bits and pieces together to make it into a cohesive whole. It is, after all, a student project, even if that student is a gifted professional so she needs to burn the midnight oil to complete the work. I sure hope I get to see it when it’s done. Meanwhile, we are working on getting her addicted to our lemon lavender shortbread.

 Posted by at 4:44 am
Jul 102014
 

Lavender Wind Festival2014  Poster

Our 11th annual Lavender Festival is bringing back wine and music for your enjoyment. Relax walking the lavender fields, then sit back and sip some local wines and listen to music. Want to learn how to make a lavender wreath or a lavender wand? This year we have booths with lavender craft activities, a children’s activity booth, and a wide variety of art booths by fabulous local artists. Oh, and did we mention food? You will find an amazing array of tasty treats for any palate. 

You don’t need tickets to come. Free Parking, if you are nice to the parking attendants!

Music Schedule

July 26

12:00 pm Siri Bardarson

3:00 pm  Shifty Sailors (Time delayed 1/2 hour)

July 27

12:00 pm  The Muse and Eye

2:30 pm   Skinny Tie Jazz

Artists

  • Mary Alice Sterling – Handmade & shaped baskets
  • Penny Allison Rees – Original Watercolor paintings
  • Mike & Marilyn Dessert – Red Cedar tote boxes,specialty dispensers & paper Quilling art
  • Cheri Bricker – Wire art creations for growing & protecting plants
  • Lyla Lillis – Artistic utilitarian pottery made with Whidbey Island Clay
  • Janis Swalwell – Handblown & sculpted art glass for your garden
  • Susan Large – Native American jewelry inspired by nature
  • Lucy Johnson – Modern style encaustic, mixed media & watercolor art
  • Jay Crowdus & Stuart Nelson – Metal animal & bird ornaments & garden design accents
  • Barbara Marks – Original paintings, ceramics & wood carvings
  • Peter Durand – Original Linoleum prints
  • Joel Griffith – Iron & wood furniture, wood bowls, sculpture & bird baths.

Lavender Crafts

  • Wreath Making
  • Lavender Wand Making
  • Distilling Demonstration
  • Children’s Activity Booth
Jun 102014
 
Plate of Swiss Chard Rollups

Plate of Swiss Chard Rollups

It is late spring and the garden is starting to take off. The Swiss Chard is growing like a weed and it’s a perfect time to try lots of new ways to use those big leaves in creative ways. These roll ups are just the thing for a tasty plate of hors d’oeuvres that have good flavor and are good for you.

Makes 20

Ingredients

  • 5 large leaves of Swiss Chard (you can substitute kale or spinach)
  • 3/4 C Onion, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp Thyme, fresh or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp Lavender, dried, ground
  • 1/4 C Almonds, chopped
  • 3/4 C Asagio Cheese, hard, grated
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toothpicks for roasting

mise-en-place-swiss-chard mise-en-place-cheese mise-en-place-almonds mise-en-place-thyme mise-en-place-lavender mise-en-place-egg mise-en-place-salt-pepper mise-en-place-onion-garlic

Mix the filling

Chop onion, garlic, thyme, and lavender.

Chopped onions and garlic

Chopped onions and garlic

In a fry pan with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil sauté the onions and garlic. When barely starting to brown, add Thyme and Lavender, Salt and Pepper. Stir frequently so the vegetables just get a little bit more brown. 

Sauteed onions, garlic, and herbs

Sauteed onions, garlic, and herbs

Then remove from heat and put into another bowl to cool.

Filling all mixed together

Filling all mixed together

Add egg and stir until blended. Then add the Asagio cheese and the chopped almonds and stir until they are all mixed in.

Prepare the leaves

Wash and de-stem the leaves and break into pieces that are about 4” square. They will vary in size and shape, that’s ok. Save the stems of the Swiss Chard for soups, or just sautéing with other veggies in another meal.

Pieces of chard ready for filling

Pieces of chard ready for filling

Form the roll ups 

Put them vein side up and spoon in about a teaspoon of filling per leave piece.

Spooned in filling

Spooned in filling

Almost as if you are wrapping a little package, fold over sides first 

Fold first side

Fold first side

Fold second side

Fold second side

then the ends.

Fold one end

Fold one end

then fold the other end

then fold the other end

Put a toothpick through to hold it from falling open

then fold the other end

Put in toothpick

and place onto a cookie sheet that has been greased with butter or oil (I started using coconut oil for this and it’s releases well).

then fold the other end

Ready to bake

After you have filled your pan, roast them for about 12 minutes in the 350º oven.

Baked and cooling

Baked and cooling

Take them out and cool them on the pan. They will be slightly crispy when you take them out, but they will soften a bit as they cool.

Plate them up and add a garnish of sprigs of lavender and thyme if you want.

Plate of Swiss Chard Rollups

Plate of Swiss Chard Rollups

This is a Plan Friendly recipe.

PS. Use the stems from the swiss chard for soups or stir fry. In this recipe we used Rainbow Chard, and those stems are so pretty!

Baked and cooling

Swiss chard stems

 Posted by at 7:23 am
May 152014
 
Several varieties of Lavender

Several varieties of Lavender

You are finally ready to put lavender into your garden – whether you are planning on putting them in the soil or in a pot on the deck. What you might want to think about before you come to the shop to get your lavender plants….

How much sun will your lavender get? Lavender likes at least 6 hours of sun a day. Sometimes people think that because there are a lot of cloudy days that their plants won’t get the sun they need. Those cloudy days aren’t the problem for lavender plants – it’s the trees and buildings that block the sun that can be the problem.

How well drained is your soil? Lavender likes “dry feet”, which means your lavender spot should never have puddles, even in the winter. If lavender stands in water it drowns. That’s true if you over water lavender, too.

How big do you want your lavender to be when it’s full grown? It takes lavender around three years to grow to its full size. Lavenders tend to be as wide as they are high, looking sort of like hedghogs, except prettier. Some lavenders grow only about 10 inches while others can grow up to 3 feet and many are varying sizes in-between. Also, think about whether you want them to be individual plants or whether you want them to look more like a hedge. That will determine how close together you plant one to the next.

What color and how long do you want the flowers and stems to be? Lavender flowers range from dark purple to white and lots of shakes of purple and pink between those two. They can have stems that are quite short, or ones that are more than 14″ long. The shorter stems will produce a more compact look, while the longer stemmed plants will give a wavy, moving in the wind sort of look.

When do you want them to bloom? Lavenders vary in the time of the summer that they bloom. Some bloom rather early, some quite late. If you have a lot of varieties, it’s like a blooming parade through the end of summer. You can plant all of one variety and have a big show at one point in the summer.

What do you want to do with the lavender? You can cook with some varieties, use some for dried flowers, use some for bulk lavender and make sachets. Unless you have a lot of plants, you probably won’t be able to make your own essential oil, but you can make lavender extract for cooking! There are some varieties of lavender you shouldn’t eat that are great for your garden, but not for your plate.

Now are you really confused? Don’t worry, we’ll help you when you come in.

 Posted by at 7:30 am
Apr 082014
 

Learn to cook with lavender and some techniques to make some basics much better!

with Alena Stapel and Sarah Richards 

Thursday,  May 1st –  6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Learn to cook with lavender as well as learn cooking techniques that will improve your cooking ability and confidence.

Cooking Class May 2014 Web

You will learn how to properly cook a steak, make a rub, and a salsa to accompany it. Then you will learn how to make lavender chocolate chip cookies and how to adjust the recipe so you get the kind of cookie you really want. Learn amazing tips that will take your cooking to a new level.

Instructors:  Sarah Richards, owner of Lavender Wind, loves cooking with lavender and creating new dishes. She teaches many classes related to using lavender.

Alena Stapel is a Whidbey Island native with a strong passion for work in the restaurant and catering industry. She received an Associates of Applied science degree in Culinary Arts from Bellingham Technical College and has received numerous awards in competitions through the Washington Restaurant Association. She currently works at Front Street Grill in Coupeville and the Elks Lodge in Oak Harbor as the Event Coordinator and lead catering staff respectively.

The cost of the class is  $30 and is limited to 10 people.

You can register by calling 360-544-4132.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm