In just a few days, we'll be ready to release tickets to our 5th Annual Tea on the Farm event. As I'm reflecting back over the past few years, I wanted to tell you a little about how the event came to be and offer a few thoughts on it.
In 2016, we had the idea to host an event on the farm. Although we were very small at the time (I think we had about 150 lavender plants), we knew that interest was growing in the farm and our products. We had just become licensed for manufacturing the year before and folks were interested in what we were doing. The truth is, we had no idea what we were doing, but we were enjoying it and wanted to share something different with our fellow lavender and farm lovers.
When I first mentioned the idea of a tea to my business partner and mom, she said, "well, I think it's a great idea, but if we don't get any more than 12 people, we can't afford to host it." She was right. Not only was it going to be a ton of physical work, but we had no chairs, tables, linens, or anything else to host an event. Nevertheless, I was sure we could get at least 12 people to come eat and cut lavender, so we decided to move forward with planning.
Our first step was to approach Expressions Tea and Gifts in Somerset, KY with our idea. They were licensed for catering and specialized in teas, so it was naturally a perfect fit for what we were trying to do. We pitched the idea and they were immediately on board and supportive. We worked together to create a lavender infused menu and get the details worked out.
Next, we promoted the event on social media. The response was overwhelming. We figured we could comfortably borrow enough supplies to seat 50 people and six weeks before the event, we were sold out. We couldn't believe it! Although we were thrilled, the fact that 50 people would now be coming to the farm for a meal was overwhelming. Where would they park? What about bathrooms? What if someone fell? Eek! So much we didn't think about when "dreaming" about this at first.
Luckily, we buckled down and got to work, figuring out details as we went. I was determined that we would eat between the rows of lavender, outside, even if it was sunny and warm. Well, as the day neared, rain was in the forecast and I was devastated. My dad and husband suggested pulling the combine and tractors out of the equipment barn and hosting the event in there. I thought it was a horrible idea, but I was SO wrong! Now, the barn has become our central point for all things lavender and each year we host the teas, festival seating, and more in it. I'm sorry to say (well..not really) that I'm not sure Dad will ever get it back for equipment storage. :)
Now, as we get ready to host our fifth year of teas, with four seatings planned for 2020, we continue to be so grateful and humbled by the response. We've had guests from half a dozen states and all over Kentucky. Of course, we know the food is mouth-watering good, the tea is most excellent, and the beauty of the farm speaks for itself. We also know that things aren't perfect - sometimes the lavender dies or isn't quite ready for harvest when you visit, or sometimes it even dares to rain. We also know the barn is just a barn with a gravel floor and bare walls, and we know that sometimes using a portable restroom isn't ideal, but it all works. Just like everything else, if we approach it all with grace, understanding, and patience, it's an amazing experience to share with those you love.
We are excited again to welcome you to the farm for teas on May 30 and June 6, 2020. Our growing season is short and furious, which only allows us to be open for a short amount of time. Don't worry, though, we are still dreaming big and hopefully one day (as long as the lavender tolerates our non-ideal Kentucky climate), we can make some changes that will allow for more visits and events in coming years. Until then, we look forward to seeing you soon. The menu is set, the tea will be hot, your favorite products will be available, and we will welcome you with open arms.
Thanks for supporting us for the past four years (several of you have been here for every.single.event)! We hope to be able to offer this experience for many years to come.
*Here are some random pics from the past few years of teas!
Lavender Pumpkin Bread
If you're a lover of all things pumpkin and all things lavender, this is the perfect recipe to warm up those crisp fall days that are (hopefully) coming soon!
Source: Terre Bleu Lavender
Source: The Doctor's Kitchen
prep 5 mins
cook 15 mins
total 20 mins
author Dr. Sarah White
yield 1 cup syrup
Instructions: Bring 1 cup water and 2 tablespoon of lavender flowers to a boil in a small stovetop saucepan. Add 1/2 cup raw honey and then reduce heat simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain the syrup and pour into a container to store in the fridge (will keep for 10 days). Add 1 tbs of lavender syrup to a shot of espresso or brewed coffee and top with steamed & frothed milk.
Hey lavender lovers. It's Mary with a bit of advice for you on how to make the most of your nighttime routine by using lavender.
Let’s admit it. Bedtime can be the hardest part of our day. Dinner, dishes, homework, baths, tucking in
the kiddos and a thousand other things can cause stress and frustration. It’s hard to carve out any “me”
In my opinion, the natural stress-reducing and calming effects of lavender are some of the most beneficial properties of the herb. Studies by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and The National Sleep Foundation concur that properties in lavender can indeed get you ready for a better night of sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation writes, "lavender has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state. In one study, researchers monitored the brain waves of subjects at night and found that those who sniffed lavender before bed had more deep sleep and felt more vigorous in the morning."
While I may not have to deal with as many stressors as some of you, I still need to unwind at
the end of a busy day.
Here’s how I do it: I love, love, love making myself a “Cup of Comfort”- my favorite tea blend- and
sipping it slowly about an hour before bedtime. This tea has chamomile, anise, cinnamon, and lavender
and is SO good!
Right before I crawl into bed, I spray Lavender Chamomile Linen Spritz on my pillow. Sometimes, I even
spray it on my pj’s!!
Then, it’s lights out and time for my lavender/f1ax seed eye pillow.
If you're struggling with bedtime for yourself, your kiddos, or even your snoring husband (ha), try introducing lavender. It's one of the safest oils you can use (but you still need to do your research to know how, when, and why to use it, especially on kids).
While it may not cure true insomnia, introducing lavender into your bedtime routine can make a difference!
Night Night, everyone!!
Spraying your sheets and pajamas with our lavender-chamomile linen spritz can help calm your nervous system and get you ready for a peaceful night of sleep. Top it off with our hand-sewn lavender and flax eye pillow. The weight feels amazing on your eyes and the lavender smell is perfect for promoting sleep. It's pretty too! :)
If you're looking for some ways to show serious love this season, try culinary lavender in your sweet treats. Here's a line up of some of the very best lavender-goody-sweets around! Give them a try and let us know what you think!
We're telling you...upping your kitchen game by adding a dose of lavender is going to make you question everything you once knew about food. It's a magic little ingredient that adds health, earth, and even a bit of relaxation to every bite. Combine it with chocolate and *poof* --- mind blown.
Here's what The Roasted Root says about this lavender chocolate chip cookie recipe: "This recipe dresses up self control in a tri-color neon leotard, sticks it on a chair, and spins it around in circles. Out. Of. Control."
We like the way she thinks.
Fifteen Spatulas writes: "These Lavender Shortbread Cookies are buttery and lightly sweet, with a floral flavor and aroma from dried lavender. They’re simple to make, only require 5 ingredients, and gift really well to family and friends!"
Lavender and rose water icing? Yes please!
The Spice House says, "This delious treat is out-of-the-ordinary." We think so too!
Lemons and lavender? It's like spring in your mouth! Bring it on.
"I feel like these soft sugar cookies with the tang of lemon and hint of lavender would be my cookie of choice to go with a cup of tea for sunshiny events such as a shower or an upcoming royal wedding, if I were to have the pleasure of making cookies for the big day!
Peaceful Dumpling - we agree!
If you live anywhere in Kentucky, then you've experienced the same winter we have...rain, rain, and more rain.
Do you know what conditions lavender hates most? Rain.
Ugh! Lavender hates having "wet feet." Wet conditions provide the perfect opportunity for diseases, like Phytophthora, root-knot nematodes, and Pythium to thrive. All of these can be detrimental to lavender plants. The bad news is that we have seen signs of all three here on the farm. We are treating them as recommended by the University of Kentucky plant pathology team, and experts from Clemson University (they're doing specific studies on these diseases in lavender).
The good news is that all that lavender we planted in rock...well, it's looking fabulous! Time will tell, so we anxiously await spring and hopefully the blooms will follow. *Fingers crossed*
It's an exciting time here on the farm!
Even though it's bone-chilling cold here right now, the new year is a time of reflection and new ideas for us. Earlier this week we returned from the United States Lavender Growers Association conference in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. While there, we were truly inspired and came away with some big ideas for the farm and our brand!
Oh...and we BOUGHT A STILL!!
I just can't wait for it to get here. We don't have enough lavender to distill our own oil, but we plan to use it for hydrosol and perhaps even for distilling for demonstrations on the farm. We're pretty excited about this purchase and can't wait to fire it up for a test run.
We need your feedback
With all that said, we're going to be making some changes to our product line. We aren't 100% sure what will go and what will stay. What we do know is we have some products that we've been making because we love them, but they either nearly cost us to make or haven't been selling well. Those will be the first items we reevaluate. We are also talking about adding a select number of items and are working on recipes now.
We also will potentially be refreshing our brand and logo a bit.
We're excited for new growth, changes, and improvements to the farm this year and we can't wait for you to visit. In the meantime, we really want your feedback and ideas! If you could take 5 minutes to help us with this simple survey, please do. When we get our first new product ready for testing, we'll be choosing a few testers from those who complete the survey, so hop on over and give us your thoughts.
We're also starting a "farmily."
Well, actually, we aren't just starting it. The "farmily" already exists. It's made up of great people (like you) who love lavender and have supported our farm in a variety of ways. Perhaps you've purchased our products at a local retail shop, or maybe you've attended our Tea on the Farm, or maybe you just like following us on social media. Either way, we're glad you're here. We hope the "farmily" will be an online space where all of us can meet to discuss, learn, and grow. We're excited for this new community and hope you'll join the conversation.
Last, we are planning a great line-up of events on the farm this spring (and praying this nasty cold weather doesn't kill the plants!!!) Watch our website and Facebook page for dates and info coming soon!
See you this spring!
-Allison and Mary
In case you missed our big announcement, we are now licensed for culinary production!
We started off our culinary line with some of our favorite items – three custom blended herbal teas, culinary lavender, and, of course, Herbs de Provence.
Herbs de Provence is a standard herb blend that you can find most anywhere, but it’s important to note that not all herb blends are created equal. Some Herbs de Provence only contain four or five herbs, but the hand-ground and hand-blended small-batch Herbs de Provence you get from The Lavender Farm at Woodstock contains 10 of the freshest herbs you can find, including our delectable culinary lavender!
We know that many people aren’t familiar with this unique blend, but we also know that once you try it, you’ll love it. We’ve gathered some of the best tried-and-true recipes from around the web to help you get started using Herbs de Provence from The Lavender Farm at Woodstock.
We are pretty excited to be able to offer these wool dryer balls thanks to Red Barn Wool in Nancy, KY. Janella Miller and her family raise Shetland Sheep for wool and meat, and they work tirelessly to create these custom wool dryer balls. Red Barn Wool scents the balls with lavender from our farm to provide a subtle, natural scent! You can also purchase unscented dryer balls through the Miller Family.
When we first began experimenting with wool dryer balls, I was a bit of a skeptic. After one load, I was hooked! It took me a few loads to get used to the shortened drying time and know what to expect, but once I did, I became a big fan!
Here are some commonly asked questions about using dryer balls.
Q: Will I really be able to get rid of my dryer sheets?
A: Yes! Ditch them! You can even ditch liquid fabric softener. These balls provide the softening you need and save you money in the long run. Plus, they're natural and good for the environment and your family.
Q: Why are the so expensive?
A: These dryer balls are not mass produced. The sheep at Red Barn Wool are sheared by hand, the wool washed and carded by the Miller Family, and hand felted into these dryer balls. Likewise, lavender from our farm is harvested by hand, debudded and sifted by hand, and then placed (by hand...see a pattern here?) into each dryer ball. Even with all that, though, these dryer balls can last you up to 2 years or 1,000 loads of laundry, depending on laundry load size. When you look at it that way, you're saving a ton and using a product that you can feel great about at the same time!
Q: What size laundry load will these work on?
A: I've personally used dryer balls on large loads of laundry, but have found that they require between four and six balls. For a typical small to medium sized load, two balls should be sufficient. If you'd like to reduce your drying time more or have your items a bit softer, add one or two more balls.
Q: How do these work?
A: Wool naturally absorbs almost one third of its own weight in water, which is why these balls help shorten drying time. The balls tumble around in the dryer with your laundry and soak up excess water. They also keep your items separated from each other so that the heat can reach more surface area and dry them faster.
Q: Can I add fragrance?
A: Yes, but please do your own research. These dryer balls are lightly scented due to the lavender buds inside them. Once that smell begins to fade (which will happen over time), you can add a few drops of essential oil (2-3 drops...be sure to let them dry before putting them in with wet clothes). But, even without fragrance, your clothes will still be left fresh!
Q: Why are some of them different colors?
A: Shetland sheep at Red Barn Wool are a mix of colors! You can use any color balls with your laundry, although some people prefer to use dark balls for darker loads and light balls for light-colored loads. It's really a personal preference.
If you have any other questions about wool dryer balls, drop us a note and we'll get back with you! Happy laundry.
We were recently asked some questions for a research project and thought we'd share our responses in case others can benefit from them as well.
Q: Do you have a lot of success with lavender in this climate? Are the species you deal with good for Kentucky's climate and are they good producers?
A: Lavender is not well suited for Kentucky's climate. We can have rough winters and very wet springs, as well as high humidity. Those three things - ice, water, and humidity - are three of the things lavender hates most. However, many farms have found that they can successfully grow lavender here. Most of what we have done in the past has been trial and error. Growers in our area have to change their mindset in terms of the size of crop, as well as lifespan of the plants. It seems that with proper soil amendment and good luck when it comes to weather, plants in our area may last between five and eight years, but we have many challenges that others don't face. Seeing as how lavender is really just now being planted in Kentucky, we also have the chance to learn a lot about the crop and its potential here.
In 2013, we chose our first two varieties because they are popular varieties (Munstead, an English, also known as augustofolia, and Grosso, a Lavandula x intermedia) and are both fairly hearty to our climate. We could also source them locally. That turned out to be a bit of an issue, but we have grown and learned a lot since that our first planting! Many varieties we now plant are trails that we source from reputable growers across the nation. That's one reason we don't plant large plots, since we are unsure what will take to our climate and will last over the winter. What works well here may not work well 60 miles down the road. Each little microclimate is unique.
Q: Do you distill your own oil?
A: We do not currently distill our own oil. It takes a LOT of lavender to produce even a small amount of oil. We have around 600 plants currently. We do have plans to purchase a small still so we can do demonstrations on how to distill oil in the future.
Q: Do you profit as a tourist destination?
A: Many people find out about us and envision acres and acres of purple. That is not reality in Kentucky! We have about 600 plants. Prior to this year, we had them planted in long rows. Earlier this year, we planted several new plants and made our lower "field" a bit more square, with shorter rows. We are hoping by planting this way, the plants will be a bit more "showy" for guests. Most people, however, understand that we are trying to do something that is difficult and unique and they are understanding when they come out and realize our farm is not of a commercial farm scale like you'd find in Washington State or France. After all, 600 lavender plants is still stunning!
We do host events on the farm. That has been a big draw for us for sure. Lots of people want to see the lavender in bloom. Our season only lasts between four to six weeks, so you can imagine it is absolutely crazy during that time! My mom (Mary) and I (Allison) do this together pretty much on our own. I have two small kids as well. We try to balance work and life as much as we can, so our growth has been slow and steady instead of jumping in and planting an unmanageable amount of plants! We are actually really glad we started slow, because we've run into problems with our soil (that initial testing couldn't detect), plant issues, bad weather, and much more. We have also learned so much from the United States Lavenders Growers Association and other local lavender farmers. In our business, it truly has been community over competition for us. Other growers not only share knowledge and expertise, but sell products to each other, and support and encourage one another. We sure appreciate that aspect of this business!
Q: Do you have any suggestions for future lavender farmers?
A: My advice would be three-fold:
We are so excited for the 2018 Tea on the Farm! This year, we'll be having two 11 a.m. seatings for the event. One on May 19 and one on June 2.
For the past two years, we've felt like our English lavender varieties bloomed earlier than our on-farm teas, so this year, we decided to move it up to capture the peak blooms of those varieties (mainly Sachet, Munstead). Our French varieties (Grosso and Sharon Roberts) are later blooming, so hopefully they will follow the same pattern as past years and be perfect for the June 2 seating.
We are proud to partner with Expressions Tea and Gifts again this year for a SUPERB menu!
Lavender Tea at The Lavender Farm at Woodstock
May 19 @ 11 a.m.
June 2 @ 11 a.m.
For the past two years, our Tea on the Farm events have sold out quickly! You can purchase tickets now by visiting our store: https://www.kylavender.com/store/c4/tickets.
In addition to the teas, we are planning our second annual "You Cut" for Memorial Day weekend! In addition to being able to cut your own bundle, we are working hard on lining up a lavender festival for that Saturday, May 26. Watch our Facebook or Instagram pages to find out more as details become available. And...we're planning to nearly DOUBLE the number of plants we have in the ground this spring (we'll be doing a call for volunteer planters if you're interested in learning about growing lavender too!).
Now we just hope and pray Mother Nature is kind to us again this winter and these babies bloom beautifully again in 2018!
It's going to be busy around the farm in 2018. We look forward to seeing you in the field!
The Lavender Farm at Woodstock
Just a mother/daughter team working with our families to bring a different, unique lavender experience to South Central Kentucky. We love the land, we love our farming heritage and we love lavender!