Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Washington Creek Lavender Farm

I love lavender and when my sweet hubbie offered to take me up to Lawrence, Kansas last Sunday to visit a lavender farm I was more than thrilled.   
I had been searching for lavender farms in driving distance to our home when I found
website.  There are only two lavender farms in Oklahoma that I know about and one was closed this year so I was 
excited about the opportunity to visit a farm this season that was just finishing their harvest. 

We were warmly greeted by the owner,  Jack Wilson and given a personal tour.   Jack shared lots of great information about  growing lavender and the different varieties they grow at their farm.  He showed us the damage that his mature lavender plants endured with -45 degree wind chills this past winter.    I was sad to see all the dead plants some of which were 10 years old.   They are letting some of the partially damaged plants remain in hopes that next year they will continue to show more growth, but many will 
have to be removed. 

Kathy and Jack Wilson started the farm in 2005 and they now have about 6,000 plants on the farm.   The varieties are labeled and Jack said that  'Melissa' performed well and didn't have a lot of winter damage. 

  I am definitely going to try it in my garden next spring.   'Grosso' is one of my favorites and their ten year old 'Grosso' plants were heavily damaged.   I think farmers and gardeners are optimistic people...even in the face of adversity we hope for a better and more productive year.   I think it's in our DNA. 

The beautiful red barn was built last year and houses the drying room for the lavender and the gift shop.  It is solar powered and the farm is certified organic.  We were impressed with the Wilson's hard work and commitment  to the environment.   

Kathy hand paints and makes 
most of the items in the gift shop.  

There is a nice selection of lavender products, sachets, eye pillows, dryer sheets, lavender bouquets, culinary lavender and wreaths are just a few of the organic 
products they offer. 
I've already used the lavender dryer sheets
 and my towels and sheets 
smell wonderful!

The drying room was beautiful and what a treat it was to walk through the rows and pick out a fresh bundle from the different varieties.   A little piece of heaven!

They have started a new garden in the front of the barn that will showcase different lavenders and companion plants that grow well together.  They don't any have running water on the farm so Jack has to bring it up from their nearby home in a large drum to hand water new plants.   Once established the plants rely only on rainfall.   

The countryside surrounding the farm was beautiful and we noticed so many wonderful old barns on our way to visit Washington Creek Lavender Farm.

I can't wait until next year when we can return to see
 how their plants do after the winter.  
Thanks for the tour Jack, we loved our visit!   

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Peach Pickin' Time

A fresh ripe there anything better?  Simple pleasures!  I have stopped buying peaches from the grocery store as they are just tasteless and such a waste of money.   I love the farmer's markets when everything is fresh and ripe, so I try to buy whatever is in season when I go.  

We are blessed that there are several great towns that grow peaches and I just found out this past week that one orchard is only a 30 minute drive outside the city.  Happy Dance!  How did I not know this all these years!  

July is scorching hot in Oklahoma but even though the temperature was almost 100 degrees today we
 went off in search of great peaches.  
We were not disappointed and some friends who had already been there yesterday and said the Red Star variety were the best peaches they've had in years.   We had to try one right in the orchard and grateful we had bottled water to clean up the peach juice all over our hands.  Incredible!

The Wind Drift Peach Orchard in Harrah is my new favorite outing in July.  Even my husband and son enjoyed seeing all the varieties and picking peaches for the first time.

The orchard has the " u pick " price or you can buy them already picked...but how fun it was to be able to pick own peaches from an abundant harvest.

The trees were loaded and the orchard was well organized  with markers for each variety.

They give you a bag or a box to fill or you can buy just a few by the pound.  I was so excited I bought a  whole box!   Church groups were coming in by the van load and little  old ladies with their sunhats...just a slice of Americana! 

I couldn't wait to get home and bake a pie.....

and so I did!

 Hope you can find a place to do some peach pickin'!