Farming involves so many tasks that you don’t normally associate with farming a crop. At our farm the trees that were planted in 2000 as a wind and visual block had grown to over 20′ tall and were shading the lavender field. They also created a barrier between the two lavender fields.
In an old-fashioned display of extreme neighborliness, our neighbors pitched in to take some of them down. We took down 9 trees, and while it’s sad to take them down, it’s also a farming issue – the lavenders need sun, and these trees have grown more successfully than we had expected. Now they will contribute to the soil through the chips we will create from the limbs, and they will give heat through our burning of the wood. And now, the view between the two lavender fields is more accessible.
Need an exceptional Quiche for a party and aren’t allergic to cooking? This is our secret recipe for a Quiche that is utterly delightful. (Printable Quiche Recipe)
You will need the following ingredients. There are some ingredients that are simply best to measure by weight, so get out your scale or make your best guess. Get your Herbs de Provence from us!
Make your Pie Shell first (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350º
Sauté onions in the butter until tender.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream and apple juice. Stir in most of the cheese, Herbs de Provence, bacon, salt, pepper and onions. Pour into pastry shell that you have prepared; sprinkle the top with the cheese you didn’t mix in earlier. If you don’t want a darker color on the top then mix all the cheese in earlier and don’t sprinkle the top with it.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
Pie Pastry Shell
Making a pie crust doesn’t have to be a huge mystery. But, it does take some basic understanding of what needs to happen to make a good pie crust. The dried ingredients (flour and salt in this case) need to have little bits of fat all through it. The best way to do that is to cut the fat into the dry ingredients, and then add really
cold water (cold to stop the fat from melting) enough so the dough will form into a ball that doesn’t stick too much to your hands.
I use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Put the flour & salt into the food processor, then add the butter that you have cut into chunks and pulse it in quick short bursts. When it looks like you’ve got little bits of butter throughout the flour, then you are ready. Add a few Tablespoons of the water and pulse. You want the dough to form little balls, but not one big ball – because if it does that you’ve put in too much water or pulsed it too much. Once it has a lots of little balls, see if you can pack it with your hands into one big ball. If you can you are ready to roll it out into a circle for your pie shell. Get your pie pan near the circle, fold the dough circle in half, and then ease it onto the pan, spread it out. Cut off the uneven bits around the edge. Along the edge, fold the dough under and press with your fingers to make a scalloped design. Voilá! You have a pie shell ready for your Quiche filling
Developing new products is part of what we do, and it’s fun. We had been selling pure essential oil in a roll on for a while. It was good. But, then we became aware that straight essential oil on the skin is drying. Not so good. Enter Jojoba Oil.
Jojoba oil has some amazing properties and it is really more of a wax than an oil – but it’s liquid at room temperature. It nourishes all skin types, especially mature skin, and it penetrates readily. It is not greasy. In the 1970’s whale oil was finally banned for use in perfume products, and Jojoba has become it’s replacement. It carries scent very well.
In addition to nourishing skin and carrying the scent of essential oils well, Native Americans used Jojoba to treat sores and wounds. The beneficial qualities of this oil are huge.
With all those amazing qualities, how could we not formulate our new perfume with that as a base? So, we added a blend of our own lavender essential oils. Our first fragrance in this new line is pure lavender and we call it:
You will love this oil-based perfume. Order it online or get it at our Coupeville Shop.
Several days at the farm. Looking at lavenders, seeing our cat, sunflower forts, growing vegetables, harvesting garlic, pouring lavender hydrosol, and a sunset.
A day in the life…. feeding plants, making cat toys and lemon curd, buried in paperwork, watching Race Week in Coupeville.
Take a tour around the farm in our first video blog post.
Join us for our annual celebration of lavender and art at Lavender Wind Farm, located on Whidbey Island. Stroll the gorgeous grounds and lavender labyrinth, browse the various booths showcasing local artisans, wander through the fragrant fields of lavender, and sit in the wine garden and enjoy live music. Wine Garden benefits the Pacific NW Art School. There will be activities for children and demonstrations of lavender distilling and crafting. Free admission and on-site parking. Two fun-filled days for the whole family!
This page will be updated anytime we have new information, so keep checking back.
Food will be provided by Milepost 19’s new venture. If you are a local you are well aware of their bagels. For the festival they are going all out to create delicious and healthy food for you to enjoy at the festival. As usual, our cookies, scones, and lavender lemonade will also be available.
This festival started years ago as an Art Festival to celebrate the amazing artists in the community as well as the art of nature. So, over the years we have supported various non-profits with Wine & Beer sales. For the last three years we have teamed with the Pacific Northwest Art School (right here in Coupeville). The sales in the garden will go to the school to support their art classes and activities.
The garden is right in front of the stage where the musicians will be playing.
Update 6/2/16: It appears Organic Radio will not fulfilled their agreement for podcasts. So we will just have this one interview that their organizer did with Sarah. Link to their site has been removed.
We have jumped into internet audio through an arrangement with Organic Radio and the voice of that channel, Richard Q’zeromen. Elizabeth Sherman, from Sherman’s Pioneer Farm Produce has joined in, too, so hopefully there will be more Whidbey farms to come.
Have a listen to the introductory interview.
Fire! Water! Earth! Air! The four elements from ancient times describe the necessities of life. This year, water was the element that came down from the sky in droves, drops, puddles, lakes, and sheets. It soaked the ground, saturated the fields, created lakes where there had been none, and caused bluffs to collapse into the sea. It flooded our fields. The earth could not contain the water, the air blew hard, but still wasn’t enough to evaporate the water. And in the end, after the waters receded fire is what came to clean up the lavenders that drowned.
Farming is full of risks as any farmer around the world will tell you. This year it was water. Neighbors were pumping out flooded basements and pranks were played by setting out plastic pink flamingos in one of the many lakes that were created in the saturated fields. Lavender, though, is a perennial crop. It stays planted in the ground for an average of 10 years, producing for at least 8 of those years. This year, many of our 4 year old lavender plants were drowned. The waters of the temporary lake (Lake Lavande) drowned the lavenders. Even so, in February and March one couldn’t tell they were dead. But, in April it was clear. The plants that are grey, rather than green don’t have leaves coming out, they are dead.
To keep the fields healthy we had to take out the dead plants as soon as we could get onto the field without getting the tractor stuck in mud. We dug out the plants with the bucket, shook off the dirt, and piled them up to transport them to their funeral pyre.
The green weeds you see above are horsetail. It is a deep rooted living fossil (because it has been on the earth for so long) and it loves the damper ground. It is extremely difficult to eradicate, so we will keep this part of the field brown all summer to weaken it. But, that won’t make it go away, that takes years of hard work (and chemicals if you are willing to use them, which we aren’t) and even then there is no guarantee it will be gone. Some people use it for medicinal purposes, but we haven’t pursued that option.
There is a possibility of disease, so the plants are being burned. One night, after work, we burned 300 of them in about an hour and a half. That only made a small dent in the big pile, so we’ll be having more bonfires when the weather permits. Lavender burns hot and fast, the fire would flare up with each plant we put on top of the coals. It was beautiful and hot.
The farm had something like 14,000 lavender plants, and we probably lost about 10% to 15% of them to the floods. We are still counting. But, that means we probably have between 85% and 90% of the lavenders that are in good shape even though there are still patches here and there that we are watching closely to see if they will green up. If not, we’ll have to pull them out and burn them, too.
Luckily, last year we had a bumper harvest, this year it will be leaner. Even so, we are looking forward to fields of purple in another couple of months, and that first day of harvest when we again get to breathe the fragrance that armloads of lavender bring.