High Summer: Reflections on Lavender Season

Hello, July! Another successful lavender harvest has come and gone. From now through the rest of summer I expect only random stems here and there, depending largely on weather of course. At this stage we have dried bundles available. Please contact me if you're interested. I am frequently asked, " how many stems to a bundle?" The answer is typically 100 to 125. Any more than this and you run the risk of having the stems mildew. However, once dried, the bunches can be combined and easily adjusted in size - the lovely dried bridal bouquet pictured below, for example, contains 300 stems. AND it will last forever as a keepsake. 

Our farm had the privilege of being featured in Carolina Country magazine last month in a finely written article about North Carolina lavender farms. Additionally, Fox 8 News caught up with us in a segment on Roy's Folks. You can find the link here:

http://myfox8.com/2016/06/20/davidson-county-woman-grows-sells-lavender/

Since I am a huge fan of cooking with lavender, I couldn't let the season go by without cranking out a batch of Lavender-Honey Ice Cream, also pictured below. Here's the recipe: In a medium-size saucepan combine 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup half and half, 2/3 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender; place over medium heat until very hot (do not boil). Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve and discard the lavender. Return the cream to saucepan and place over low heat until mixture is hot. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat 2 large eggs with a wire whisk until frothy, adding a pinch of kosher salt. Gradually add a small amount (a generous 1 cup) of the hot cream mixture to the beaten eggs, stirring constantly to temper. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve a second time. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight before freezing according to manufacturer's instructions.    

Thank you all for your kindness and condolences from my last post. I appreciate every comment, including this special one: "We will laugh and dance again." ~ Psalm 30:11    

 

Early Autumn: The Allure of Dried Flowers

I love the earthy naturalness of dried flowers. This year, I planted a small crop of zinnias with sweet color-names like candy pink, raspberry sorbet, and cool crayon. I've had a prolific crop which is still going strong. It really is true, the more you cut zinnias the more they bloom. As it happens, I've had a few years experience drying lavender. In fact, since most of our lavender crop is dried, I tend to look at everything growing at the farm and automatically wonder about each plant's drying potential - flowers, herbs, ornamental grasses, you name it. So I started hanging zinnias in our drying room at the barn. 

Of course, most dried flowers, including zinnias, look totally different than their fresh counterparts, especially the color. Still, they seem to be a perfect fit for fall decor and even weddings where something dried can be used either as bouquets or as a supporting decorative element. And consider this: Dried flowers last forever and will never wilt. 

Dried Provence lavender at Hauser Creek Farm