Marching into Springtime

the birth flower of MarchHappy first day of March! Maybe you noticed it's been awhile since I wrote - just needed a break from blogging, that's all. Winter has been busy, but we've also had some fun family time thrown in. We spent part of December in France where I searched high and low for lavender finds and explored farms and farmers markets whenever possible. January and February were cold, wet, and snowy. I'm happy there's just twenty days til Spring. Seems it's been a long time coming. You ready? I'm ready for a repeat happy yellow bouquet like this one from last year.  

The farm's wildlife must know that spring is near. Our bottomland has been flooded for most of winter, and it's given way recently to all manner of aquatic life including ducks and especially frogs! Oh wow, what a chorus which can be heard clear as a whistle all the way to the barnyard! It's been said that the presence of frogs and amphibians is a measure of the health of a wetland in which case we evidently have a very happy wetlands, marsh, and stream.  

Each growing season I continue to experiment with different varieties of lavender. The test plant for 2014 is Lavandula dentata with plants going in the ground early to mid-April. Heads up - annual Herb Festival at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market is April 26-27, always a good time to get your herbs or just visit. And something new this year, I'll be vendoring at the NC Extension Master Gardener Conference May 5-7 in Winston-Salem. Spring has (almost) sprung! 

  

 

2013 Lavender Day at Hauser Creek Farm

Hello, May! We are getting really psyched for Lavender Day at Hauser Creek Farm on Saturday, June 15. This year, an important graduation scheduled for early June means Lavender Day is a bit later. And as it turns out, I think that's a good thing because April and May have felt more like fall than spring! I'll confess that I'm a tad nervous about the timing of this coming week's predicted rainy forecast because overwatering and excess moisture is easily the quickest way to destroy lavender, and we've had a gracious plenty rain so far this season. But, I digress...hopefully, mid-June will be about right for lavender bloom time. We invite you to the farm to cut your own bundle fresh from the field, enjoy some lavender refreshments, or just sit awhile in the shade. Red poppies are in full bloom, the honeybees are buzzing, AND our friends from Brandon Hills Vineyard will be pouring wine. Besides fresh-cut bundles, we'll also have lavender goat milk soap and starter plants for sale. We're hoping for a brilliant outdoorsy kind of day!

A few words of caution: If you are allergic to any kind of insect bite, please bring insect repellent and antihistamine as a precaution. Also, please remember sunscreen. We are a farm, plain and simple, so comfortable, closed-toe shoes are advised. We kindly request NO PETS, please. Lavender Day hours are 10 to 4. We hope you'll join us in our committment to inspire love and appreciation for lavender, wildflowers, and open spaces. See you soon!  

 

 

For the Love of Lavender: Lemonade Gets a Stylish Makeover

It's remarkable to me the ever-changing landscape of a farm. Late April, early May is my favorite time. The lavender is greening up and it's almost as if the whole field has suddenly emerged out of a deep sleep. With the days getting warmer, I've had lavender lemonade on my mind, so when we made our annual trek to the Herb Festival at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market this past weekend, we carried along a large cooler. Many people requested the recipe, so here it is.

First, let's start with the lavender plant. There are tons of varieties grown and only a handful of them are eaters. While this point might be arguable, my preferred best choice is 'hidcote,' an English lavender. The recipe uses lavender leaves, although I snipped up a few stems, too. Lavender buds can also be used, in which case you'll end up with a lovely pink lavender lemonade. See the following link: /blog/category/recipes?currentPage=3 

Over the weekend, a few people asked about using a sugar substitute. I'm not a fan of any artificial sweetener, but I do know this. As soon as my stevia plant produces enough green foliage, I intend to experiment with some snipped stevia leaves as a stand-in for part of the sugar. Stevia, aka sugar plant, is naturally sweet and can lend a surprisingly sweet quality. Many thanks to those of you who stopped by to see us last Saturday. Enjoy the recipe! Enjoy the lavender!    

Lavender Lemonade 

10 cups water, divided

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup fresh-picked lavender leaves, coarsely snipped

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained

Fresh lavender stems and lemon slices for garnish

Combine 5 cups water, sugar, and lavender leaves in a saucepan; bring mixture to a slow boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and immediately turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 3 to 4 hours (the longer it stands the more pronounced the lavender flavor will be). Strain mixture into a large pitcher, discarding lavender leaves. Stir in remaining 5 cups water and lemon juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Give it a stir before serving. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh lavender stems and lemon slices.