Category Archives: Farm

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Starting Folgate Harvest 2011

Love letter from Ming

Ming Harvesting Folgate

Ming Harvesting Folgate

A place that has a special meaning to me is on a beautiful and serene island called Whidbey Island. It is called Lavender Wind Farm. At first glance the farm seems small and insignificant, but as you walk into the farm you can see and smell the abundance and varieties of lavender plants.

Ming Harvesting Grosso

Ming Harvesting Grosso

The shop is filled to the brim with everything made from lavender: candles, cookies, soaps and most important of all, essential oil.The bouquets of lavender hanging from the ceiling fill the quaint shop with such a strong scent of lavender that you can almost taste it.

Buzz buzz, the busy worker bees fly past the ear as you walk along the lavender labyrinth. The never ending rows of lavender make it almost impossible to escape the lavender maze.

Ming Hanging Folgate to Dry

Ming Hanging Folgate to Dry

My eyes are drawn to a sea of different shades of purples, blues and pinks. Along the path where the line of trees separate the fields, giant sunflowers topple over each other.

Workers cut and bundle each bunch of lavender with gentle care and ease: a symphony of lavender. A worker tosses the variety they are harvesting today, grosso, the most fragrant, towards me. The smell is very rustic and poignant when you bring the buds straight to your nose which sets itself apart from the other varieties.

Ming Modeling New Dress

Ming Modeling New Dress

At the end of the day when the sun is setting, the orange and red combat the shades of purples, blues and pinks to create a picturesque moment. Everything is calm and peaceful making Lavender Wind Farm a place that has a special meaning to me. A place that is luxurious and inviting because of the calm and soothing effects of the scent of lavender.

 

– Text First posted on Oct 8, 2013 on Facebook by Ming Tong Lane. Pictures, that have been taken through the years, added by Sarah Richards for this post.


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Slow Motion stroll on the farm

Kent Beeson visited the farm and created this video. He gave us permission to use it. Enjoy this stroll in slow motion.


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Day One of Harvest

We started harvesting our earliest blooming lavender (lavendula angustifolia var. “Folgate”) June 28, 2013. First we had to train the newbies.
Harvest Folgate

The harvest crew was working hard to get all of these two long rows. We harvest by hand because we are too small to have a harvesting machine, it’s easier on the plants, and we get better bundles.
Harvesting Lavender Day One

We hang most of them on wires, so we have to pin them with opened up paper clips.
Pinning Bundles

Ming is hanging them in our shop – it makes it smell so wonderfully fragrant.
Hanging Bundles

Here is the happy crew after our record setting day of harvesting about 1200 bundles from about 200 plants. Not bad at all!!
Harvest Crew Day One


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Getting Purple!

The fields are starting to get purple. It seems like the whole rest of the country’s lavender farms are having their festivals, and we are just barely starting. It’s ok, it’s beautiful anyway. When these fields are in full bloom, it’s a shocking purple celebration – so these pictures are just a hint of what is coming.

Folgate getting ready to bloom

Check out the cute bee hives in the back. Our bees are getting fabulous care this year thanks to Younes and Toni.

Folgate and Mountains

The Olympic Mountain range is in the background of this picture. We have happy lavenders with this stunning view!

Our farm is open every day now for visitor. So you can have picnics, enjoy the lavender, have lavender ice cream and other goodies from our shop.

Picnic Tables on Farm

There are picnic tables scattered around the farm for your enjoyment.


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Farm is OPENING!

Folgate Purpling

The Folgate lavender is just starting to get purple, you can see a slight purple haze over the plants.

The Folgate lavender is starting to purple up, so we are opening the farm. The fields will be there for you to enjoy. This year we have again planted sunflowers, which will bloom  in the later part of the summer. We have also planted other kinds of herbs and flowers for you to enjoy.

The gift shop will be open, too, with a wonderful selection of our products. This will be a new venture for us to have two shops open at the same time. Wish us luck and come visit!

Labyrinth in May

The labyrinth is starting to look good again. We replanted it last year, so this is the second year for the plants being in the ground and they are getting bigger!


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Bliss Bark

MichaeleneStirsWebWe have our very own chocolatier now!! Her name is Michaelene McElroy and she has only BEGUN to create some amazing treats.

In case you aren’t up on the origins of chocolate, Michaelene writes: Theobroma cacao is native to the deep tropical region of South America. Its seeds are used to make cocoa powder and chocolate. The generic name is derived from the Greek for “food of the gods”; from θεος (theos), meaning “god,” βρῶμα (broma), meaning “food.” Joseph Campbell encouraged folks to, “Follow your bliss,” and here at Lavender Wind, we’re making it easy for you to do just that by creating the first in our series of Lavender Wind Bliss Bark.

Lavender Wind Bliss Bark - with Almonds

Thank you, Michaelene!

Today, she made our first Bliss Bark – Lavender Almond. And she made a lot of it. It’s available at the shop for $6.20 for 3.5 oz.


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Slideshow

A little slide show of our farm and new shop. Enjoy!


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Sunflowers!

We are harvesting lots of sunflowers!! They are so beautiful in the field and in arrangements. You pick is available, too. So, whether you want to work hard and get your own, or just come by and get the ones we’ve picked – you are in luck!

 

Sunflowers in front of shop

Sunflowers in front of shop


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Weeding Raised Bed Perennials

Every year we say the same thing… This year we’re going to get at the weeds before they get too big. Every year we curse ourselves for not being able to do that.

This year we worked on getting attachments to the tractor to help with between row weeding. I got a bar and frame to which I attached two vertical bars to which I attached scrapers.

One scraper is flat to scrape off the heads of the weeds between the rows of lavender.


The other is bent up on one side, to scrape the bottom and side of the raised beds.

They work pretty well, as long as the tractor can fit over the plants and it’s not blooming season.

The tractor we have is a 30 horse power New Holland with a clearance of about 14″. That is too low for all but some of the angustifolia lavenders. We have one variety, which we really don’t know the name (shameful, but no one I’ve contacted can tell me what it is) that is about 24″ tall when it’s not blooming, so the low-clearance tractor does some damage to the tops. Luckily, this lavender regrows pretty well. The Provence we have is also too tall, while the Grosso is only slightly too high.

Don Meehan built the scrapers for me. Lucky for me one of his talents is welding. In this picture you can see the raised beds. After the scraper goes through they are more defined.


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Blackbirds, Daffodils and Greenhouse


One of the joys of being on the farm is watching what nature does. The other day I was sitting inside talking and drinking coffee with friends when a huge flock of red-winged blackbirds and a few starlings descended onto our birdfeeder. They looked so neat, especially with the daffodils blooming right there…. I had to share.

We have been working hard in the greenhouse tranplanting starts and starting more. It is looking really beautiful. Do you know our plants are certified organic? That means doing things in the greenhouse can be tricky, because we can’t use standard things to eliminate pests. So far we’re doing alright, and there aren’t many pests aside from pesky fruit flies. The greenhouse is a “cold” greenhouse which means there is no additional heat in it. It has gone below freezing at times in the night during the winter. But now that spring is here (see the daffodils?) the nights are warmer so the plants are doing quite well. Note the purple pots? They’re new and boy do they look great!

We’ve also developed a way of printing out our own tags in color that have plant information AND a little bit of history or story about the variety. We’re working like crazy to get those tags written, but they, too, are very cool. I’m excited about this growing season.


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