May 2019 Newsletter
Lavender at Sunderland Acres, Portland, Oregon


Announcements and Events


May 2019

This is an exciting month for lavender lovers and farmers!  Our plants are greening up and sending up shoots!  We will even see flowers from our featured lavenders this month, Lavandula stoechas, and maybe flowers from the early blooming L. angustifolia varieties, such as French Fields, toward the end of May! 

There aren't any events going on during this month, but June will be packed. Here's a sneak peek of some June festivals and events so you can get them on your calendar:

Clackamas River Lavender Festival at Eagle Creek Lavender
June 22-23, from 10-4
 Join us for our Festival at Eagle Creek Lavender on the Clackamas River. Live music, savory food, U-Pick fresh lavender, gift shop with lavender products, artistic vendors and awesome classic cars on display. A bargain at $5 per car for parking. No pets please. 27525 SE Starr Rd, Eagle Creek, OR 97022


Lavender Faire at Cascade Lavender:  June 28-29, from 10-5
Come experience lavender fields in bloom and celebrate all things lavender at our family friendly farm.  Plants for sale, gift shop with lavender products and U-Pick fresh lavender.   5000 SW Feather Dr, Madras, OR  97741 

Southern Oregon Lavender Festival at The English Lavender Farm
June 21-23, from 9-5  Our June Lavender Festival celebrates the lavender in full bloom. With U-Pick fresh lavender, live music, food, wreath making, gift shop with lavender products, lavender lemonade and ice cream, there is something for everyone!  8040 Thompson Creek Rd, Applegate, OR 97530

Lavender Days at Barn Owl Nursery: June 21-23 from 10-5 
We offer a large variety of Oregon grown lavender plants, fresh-cut lavender and a gift shop with lavender gifts.  Enjoy a Taste of Lavender in our unique teas and local lavender treats. Visit our vendors and stroll through our garden and small field.  22999 SW Newland Rd, Wilsonville, OR 97070

Lavender Heart Wreath Workshop at Wisteria Acres, June 30, 2-4, 
Tickets  $35 Register at Eventbrite  10307 SE 282nd Ave. Boring, OR.  97009 

To see more events and festivals coming up over the next few months, check out the new OLA  Destinations Guide .  Hard copies are available at local farms that are open for the season, as well as in other fine establishments and eight Oregon Visitors Centers across the state!  
Salt and Straw's Honey Lavender
Ice Cream

Makes about 2 pints

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup wildflower honey
  • 1/2 cup dried culinary lavender (buds only)
  • 3 cups Ice Cream Base (recipe below), very cold
  • 10 drops natural purple food coloring, preferably India Tree brand (optional)
Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then take it off the heat. Stir in the lavender, cover the saucepan, and let steep at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Pour the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a container, pressing on the flower buds to extract as much liquid as possible. Chill until cold and use it right away, or refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

3. Put the lavender syrup, ice cream base, and food coloring (if you're using it) into a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and turn on the machine. Churn just until the mixture has the texture of soft-serve (depending on the machine).

4. Transfer the ice cream, scraping every last delicious drop from the machine, into freezer-friendly containers. Cover with parchment paper, pressing it to the surface of the ice cream so it adheres, then cover with a lid. It's okay if the parchment hangs over the rim. Store it in the coldest part of your freezer (farthest from the door) until firm, at least 6 hours. It will keep for up to 3 months.

Salt and Straw's Ice Cream Base
(Makes about 3 cups)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (Yes, I'm easy to find!)
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
Directions:

1. Combine the sugar, dry milk, and xanthan gum in a small bowl and stir well.

2. Pour the corn syrup into a medium pot and stir in the whole milk. Add the sugar mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until smooth. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent a simmer, until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

3. Add the cream and whisk until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours, or for even better texture and flavor, 24 hours. Stir the base back together if it separates during the resting time. The base can be further stored in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. (Just be sure to fully thaw the frozen base before using it.)

For more ice cream recipes from Salt and Straw, get their new cookbook!
Lavender London Fog Latte
  • 2 bags of Earl Grey tea
  • 1 cup milk, heated and frothed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T agave sweetener
  • 1 tsp dried culinary lavender

1.  Brew tea and lavender together, steep three minutes and then strain.

2.  Froth the milk

3.  Add the remaining ingredients

4.  Makes two servings



Meet the Farmer:  Ramona Krueger

Ramona Krueger's  Sunderland Acres Lavender Farm  is an oasis in the middle of the city.  One minute you are surrounded by industry and the next minute, you turn a corner and there it is, a beautiful, peaceful retreat. Ramona is a fairly new lavender farmer, and has so many wonderful plans for her farm, from a "moonlight garden" to a little shop.  And she is kept company by her two resident donkeys, who make sure visitors know that they need some attention too!  It will be fun to watch this sweet little farm grow!

How long have you been growing lavender?

I planted my first 900 L. angustifolia Hidcote plants in July 2017 and added 250 L. x intermedia Grosso plants in October 2018

What led you to be a lavender farmer?

We moved from a loft in NW Portland to our current home with 2.5 acres in March 2013.  We did a full remodel on the house and then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the Fall of 2013.  After chemo and 4 surgeries and a few years of recovery, I decided to utilize our acreage with a crop that would 1) be beautiful, 2) be helpful to our dwindling bee populations, and 3) be healing for my soul. A lavender field was the result.

How did you come up with the name of your farm?

When we remodeled our home, we found the original blueprints which identified the area where our house was as "Sunderland." So in honor of our property and neighborhood we decided that Sunderland Acres was a very appropriate name.

What did you do before you were a lavender farmer?

I had my own interior decorating business Crimson 9 established in 2003.  I am not currently taking new clients for my decorating business but still take care of the needs of some of my existing clientele. I do think that my years in the design field has helped me to have vision for both my lavender farm now and also for future projects, such as a small farm store and a large shop for equipment.

What is your favorite lavender variety? Why?

Hidcote Blue is my favorite.  The deep purple color is just so gorgeous and the smell is intoxicating.

Favorite use for lavender?

My favorite use for lavender is culinary because I love to cook and bake, and I believe that food brings people together.

What's your best Lavender farming tip?

Take lavender farming one row at a time.  Don't get overwhelmed by all of the weeds and hard work.  Don't be afraid of getting your hands dirty and just be brave and go after your dreams.  Look at me! I'm turning 50 this year, survived cancer, and am going for it! As John Wayne said: "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."

Who helps you with your lavender farming?

Just little old me. (cue fluttering eyelashes)

Do you grow anything in addition to lavender?

I grow rosemary that I would like to eventually add into some of my products.  I am also creating a moonlight garden, planted with white or silvery plants that glow after dark.  And I also have a mini flowering plum orchard, which has fruit that we won't eat but that is good for the birds and has blossoms that are good for the bees.  We also have our donkey mascots Jack and Emily , our resident miniature donkeys

What is your favorite lavender recipe?

Lavender London Fog (see recipe above)

Favorite quote about gardening?

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow" -- Audrey Hepburn
The Oregon Lavender Association 
invites you  to enjoy lavender 
all year round!
Featured Lavenders







photo credit: Little Lavender Farm, Dundee, Oregon

Lavandula stoechas cultivars

Lavandula stoechas varieties are usually called Spanish lavenders in the United States. They have become very popular to grow in the landscape and in containers because they bloom earlier than other lavenders and their flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects. If the flowering stems are cut off after they fade, the plants will bloom again later in the summer and early fall. These lavenders grow well in hot, dry locations and are a good choice for drought tolerant gardens that receive full sun.

Most Spanish lavenders produce fast growing gray-green foliage.  All of them have very distinctive compact flower heads topped with two long, very showy bracts that resemble butterfly wings.   The L. stoechas varieties add long lasting color in the garden and make a statement in the landscape. They stand out when they are planted with other perennials and herbs that like the same growing conditions. Spanish lavenders grow well in regions that do not have prolonged hard frosts and cold winters.  There are several varieties that are hardy during most winters in zone 7.

The flower colors range from very dark purple, to light purple with reddish tones.  There are several mixed blue, pink and white flowering varieties, too. Spanish lavenders can be enjoyed for their beautiful, long lasting flowers in the garden and in large pots placed in full sun on a deck or patio.  The fresh flowers can be used in mixed floral arrangements. These lavenders make nice centerpieces on tables for special events and nice gifts, especially for Mother's Day!

All of these varieties are hardy outside during most winters in Zone 7.

Pretty Polly
Height: 15-18 inches
Flower Color:  Dark blue flowers with yellow-white top bracts
Stem Length:   8-10 inches

This lavender has a tidy, spreading growth habit with large green flower heads and dark blue flowers with ruffled yellow-white bracts on top.  

Anouk
Height: 15-18 inches
Flower Color:  Dark purple with violet-purple top bracts
Stem Length:  8-10 inches

This lavender has a compact, upright growth habit and produces large, tight flower heads with dark purple flowers and violet bracts on top.

Silver Anouk
Height:  18-24 inches
Flower Color:  Dark purple with violet-purple top bracts
Stem Length:  8-10 inches

This is the only Spanish lavender with distinctive silver-grey foliage. The large flower heads have a silvery appearance that contrast nicely with the dark purple flowers and bracts.
Resources and Connections
Check out the OLA website for more information on lavender and its many uses!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more ideas and inspiration!

For lavender-related article submissions to the OLA newsletter, please email Pam Baker 

Ask OLA
In a new feature for our newsletter, we will be answering reader generated questions about all things lavender. So send your lavender questions to pbaker@littlelavenderfarm.com and we will use the collective wisdom and knowledge of our experienced farmers to answer your questions.  

Here are a few questions we've been getting recently to get the ball rolling:

Question:  I noticed that the Lavender Destinations Guide doesn't include a week long lavender tour.  Why the change?

Answer:  In order to better celebrate the whole lavender season, OLA has moved away from focusing on just one week and is instead spreading all of the fun over the whole season, highlighting the many different farm festivals and events that will occur during that time.  However, the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival, a two-day celebration of all things lavender, will still take place this year on the weekend of July 13 and 14.

Question:  What kind of lavender can I use for culinary purposes?

Answer (provided by Nicole Callen of Norwood Lavender Farm):   I love cooking with lavender and only use L. angustifolia varieties. There are so many to choose from, but most people like the brighter blue or purple buds that they traditionally see in lavender recipes. Some of the most common varieties for culinary uses are: Betty's Blue, Buena Vista, Folgate, Hidcote, Munstead, Purple Bouquet and Royal Velvet.  That being said, some people use L. x intermedia Provence which has more pepper-like notes. It goes well with savory dishes, in quiches and in salad dressings and meat marinades, since it has a very strong dominant flavor. There are some very lovely pink and white varieties that can be used, too. They are not as common in cooking but are nice to use in tea.  Two varieties include Melissa and Coconut Ice. They have a more delicate floral flavor that I enjoy in my teas.

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About OLA
The Oregon Lavender Association (OLA) was created with the vision that members of our Pacific Northwest communities will recognize and appreciate both the value and the local availability of lavender and lavender-based products and services.

At  the Summer 2018 OLA meeting at Eagle Creek Lavender Farm, owner Bill Jabs demonstrated his new mechanical lavender harvester.
(photo provided by Andy Van Hevelingen)
Become a Member
Did you know that you don't have to be a lavender grower to be a member of the Oregon Lavender Association?

Among the many benefits, you receive discounts at participating Lavender Destination farms and attendance at OLA educational events. Quarterly meetings cover a broad range of lavender topics from distillation to culinary demonstrations.

Just go to the OLA website to sign up!


Lavender Essential Oil 
Bath Bombs


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salts
  • 2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 2 tsp Witch Hazel
  • 10-15 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (to your preference)
  • Dome Shaped Mold (or any shaped soap molds)
Directions:

1. BLEND the citric acid, epsom salts, and baking soda in a stand up mixer -- let it go for 5-10 min. This step is really important because if you don't blend well, you end up with a grainy bomb.

2. Once you've blended really well, SLOWLY add the sweet almond oil with the mixer still going at medium speed. Try adding it drops at a time from your measuring spoon.

3. Add fragrance oils a few drops at a time and blend really well so that the oil is evenly distributed.

4. Now, this is the difficult part. While the mixer is still going on medium to medium/high speed, drop your witch hazel just a few drops at a time. The mixture will start looking almost like snow. Check every few seconds to see if the mixture sticks together when squished -- at that point you need to quickly start putting it in molds. If you wait too long, the mixture will get hard. If you add too much liquid, it will be too wet and start to grow/fizz.  
5. Put the mixture into the molds - really cram it in there. The harder you pack the bath bombs, the more dense, heavy, and durable bomb you will get.  Wait a half hour to an hour and then tap them out. Let them air dry overnight.  

Wrap them in pretty tissue paper and there you have it!  Wonderfully fragrant bath bombs to use or give as gifts!
OLA Lavender Recipe Trifold

Introducing the latest addition to the OLA line of products:  The OLA Recipe Trifold.  The trifold is available from these farms:  
Barn Owl Nursery, 
Cascade Lavender, 
Chehalem Flats, 
Eagle Creek Lavender, 
Growing Miracles Lavender Garden, 
Little Lavender Farm, 
McKenzie River  Lavender, 
Mountainside Lavender,
Norwood Farm, 
Out of the Blue Lavender Farm, 
RavenCroft, 
Red Ridge Farms, 
Sunderland Acres Lavender Farm,  
The Lavender Thyme Herb Farm, 
Wayward Winds Lavender.