Happy Fourth of July! There's nothing prettier - and more all-American - than sunflowers. It's been a few years since we planted them en masse, and I missed them. So this year I enlisted a local farmer-friend who showed up on May 11 to do the planting. Since then, growing conditions have been perfect and the first blooms are now on the verge of breaking through. This coming Friday evening, July 7, the farm will be open 5 to 7 o'clock-ish. I expect to be picking lots and lots of sunflowers by then so come and get 'em! If you are interested and want to stick around for munchies, please bring a simple dish or beverage to share.
While the farm's lavender is basically done for the year, I like to extend the season by making lavender sugar using some of the leftover dried bundles. Makes a great hostess gift in addition to being a versatile staple in my pantry. Lavender sugar smells amazing and adds a soft floral note to breads, pound cake, and cookies like the shortbread I made for the 4th. To make lavender sugar, simply place 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add 4 teaspoons dried culinary lavender buds, cover, and process for about 30 seconds. Of course, you can make a larger batch but generally speaking two teaspoons lavender buds per 1 cup sugar is a gracious plenty. Store the sugar in a covered container.