Arts and Entertainment

Vashon's Lavender Farm Tour returns this weekend

Christy Cook harvests lavender at the Lavender Sisters farm, one of three farms open for the lavender tour this weekend. Visitors may pick lavender during the festival, take part in the festivities or simply relax and enjoy some of the best of summer on Vashon. - Courtesy photo
Christy Cook harvests lavender at the Lavender Sisters farm, one of three farms open for the lavender tour this weekend. Visitors may pick lavender during the festival, take part in the festivities or simply relax and enjoy some of the best of summer on Vashon.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Leave your cars at home and take the free shuttle bus from farm to farm.

Lavender is in full bloom and ready for harvest in July on Vashon, and three Island lavender farms will open their fields this weekend for the sixth annual Lavender Farm Tour, a celebration of the plant, its beauty and its many uses.

The tour, now part of the fabric of Vashon summers, has expanded this year to include a free shuttle bus from the north-end and south-end ferry docks, the participating farms, town (at the theater) and back. The service will run in a continuous loop all day, and organizers hope that both visitors and Islanders will leave their cars at home and climb aboard.

“We are very excited about the ability to reduce our carbon footprint by offering a complimentary shuttle. ... This gives people a chance to tour all the farms and see our beautiful Island,” said Merilee Runyan, a member of Vashon Island Lavender Growers Association (VILGA) and co-owner of the Lavender Sisters farm.

Through the course of the two days, each farm will host a variety of events. Visitors can pick lavender and make lavender wreaths and wands. Local authors and master gardeners will talk about growing lavender, gardening, making honey and keeping honeybees. Chefs will offer demonstrations on cooking with lavender; kids can have their faces painted and do crafts.

A host of Island musicians will perform, and several Vashon artists will show their work. Island restaurants and businesses will provide refreshments, and many home, garden and art vendors will sell their wares.

Though each of the farms grows lavender, each is different. Lavender Sisters sits close to the water on the west side; Lavender Hill Farm overlooks Quartermaster Harbor in Burton, and Fox Farm lies in the heart of the Island just a short distance from town. Visitors are welcome to tour leisurely, explore the lavender fields and gardens or spread out a blanket and while away the hours amidst the lavender, music, food and art.

“It’s like a ‘staycation,’” said Dana Illo, one of Vashon’s Lavender Sisters. “People stay for hours. They just love waking in the lavender and around the gardens. Lavender is a total relaxant.”

Combined, the farms grow nearly 30 types of lavender, many of which will be for sale during the tour.

The Lavender Festival is hosted by VILGA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the growing of lavender and local sustainable agriculture by creating a community celebration. As in years past, this tour benefits an Island organization; this year’s tour proceeds will go to the Vashon Youth Council, which provides resources for Vashon youth to achieve their dreams.

Take the tour

The Lavender Farm Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20. Tickets are $5 for adults; children 18 and under are free. Tickets will be available at each of the farms.

Those who bike the tour will receive a free gift, and those who bring their own water bottle or mug for lemonade or coffee will get a nickel discount on the beverage purchase.

Fox Farm

17232 107th Ave. S.W.

Saturday highlights:

10:30 - 11 a.m. Grow Your Own Lavender

10:30 - 11:15 a.m. For the Love of Lavender

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Cooking with Lavender

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tie-Dye your own Fox Farm T-shirt, $15.

12:45 - 1:30 p.m. Utilizing True Aromatherapy for Summer Skin Care

2 - 3 p.m. Making a Lavender Heart

3 - 4 p.m. Cooking with Lavender

4:15 - 5 p.m. Garden Myths

Sunday highlights

10 - 11 a.m. Garden Myths

11 a.m. - noon Cooking with Lavender

12:15 - 1 p.m. Bees and Honey

1 - 2 p.m. Beginning Watercolor

2 - 3 p.m. Cooking with

Lavender

Music, crafts and art will round out both days.

Lavender Sisters

16335 Crescent Dr. S.W.

Highlights

2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Lavender Fields Forever: The story of three gardens and the people who tend them

4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Lavender and the Magic of Aromatherapy

Throughout both days, there will be tours, music, art in the barn, cooking demonstrations, booth of local artisans, lavender wand lessons and henna tattoos.

Lavender Hill Farm

10425 S.W. 238th St.

Highlights

11 a.m. Saturday Plein Air Painting demonstration

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Wand Making

Noon Saturday and Sunday Tour the fields and gardens

1 p.m. Saturday The Buzz on Bees

2 - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Children’s activities and sachet making

For more information about the tour, including a complete schedule of events and the shuttle schedule, see www.vashonlavender.com.

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