Organizers of this year’s Lavender Farm Tour say some 2,500 people attended the two-day event over the weekend, making it the largest turnout since the festival started six years ago.
Organizers attribute this year’s success to the warm weather, the growing popularity of lavender, publicity about the event and their decision to offer shuttle bus services from both ferry docks throughout both days. In fact, the service was so popular that the three farms that organized the event got larger buses for Sunday, said Elsa Croonquist, who helped the farms put on the event.
“People really appreciated the opportunity to leave their cars at home and hop on the bus,” said Cynthia Johnson, owner of Fox Farm, one of three lavender farms on the tour. “We also had a great turnout of bicyclists; our bike racks were almost always full.”
“This was really an organic event in so many ways,” said Katy Jo Steward of the Lavender Sisters’ Farm on the west side of the Island. “People enjoyed learning about the lavender and being surrounded by lavender in the fields. They were fascinated by the oil distilling process and kept requesting more information about the medicinal uses of the lavender oil.”
The third farm, Lavender Hill Farm in Burton, was also busy all day. There, Rosalie and Charlotte Dalzell, daughters of Catherine MacNeal and Tom Dalzell, owners of the Burton farm, taught wand-making, lavender scrunching and sachet making to young and old tour visitors alike.
Each farm also had beekeeping talks and demonstrations by local beekeepers dressed in full netting and gear. The lavender honey from each of the three farms was sampled and sold out.
At Fox Farm, near Vashon Town on 107th Avenue S.W., The Hardware Store Restaurant offered a café with sandwiches, salads and the popular lavender lemonade and ice cream. The food stand ran out of the ice cream both days.
“We served up five gallons of Honey Lavender Ice cream and 36 gallons of Lavender Lemonade,” said Melinda Sontgerath, owner The Hardware Store.
The three farms formed the Vashon Island Lavender Growers Association for the purposes of putting on the annual event. The growers association thanked its sponsors for their support: John L. Scott Real Estate, The Beachcomber, Washington Mutual, Vashon Pharmacy, The Hardware Store, Island Market, Vashon Thriftway and Island Lumber & Hardware.