Local Treasures with Pia: Lavender Farms

Green Bluff – Though it’s technically not native to North America, lavender is the perfect fit for the hot summers of the Inland Northwest.

Rocky and dry soil baked by the sun all day long is reminiscent of Provence in Southern France, which is one of the world’s biggest lavender producing areas. The French town of Grasse is known as the perfume capital of the world, and there the summer evening air hangs heavy with the scent of roses, jasmine, and lavender.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go to France to experience lavender in full bloom and now is the perfect time to go visit a lavender farm.

This summer’s unusual high temperatures have lavender blooming everywhere, including at Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm (7019 E. Day Mt Spokane Road, Mead) and at Evening Light Lavender (5552 S. Wallbridge Road, Deer Park).

At Evening Light Lavender, you will find an array of lavender plants in different colors and varietals, already acclimated to growing conditions around Spokane ready for purchase and planting in your own yard. The organic lavender farm hosts open houses and farm stand sales, as well as consultations on aromatherapy formulas, lavender farming and other classes.

Fleur de Provence Lavender Farm is easy to spot if you are driving around Green Bluff: rows of purple and gray lavender plants stretch down toward Day Mt Spokane Road and fill the air with that heavenly lavender scent. Plants are for sale here, as are a large variety of lavender products.

The word Lavender comes from the French word “lavandre” which means to wash, because lavender has been used in laundry and bar soap since Roman times. Folk medicine has applied lavender to calm upset stomachs, used lavender tea and oils to calm frayed nerves, and to treat everything from headaches to lice. Lavender was often part of the original potpourri mix that was kept in closets and trunks, to help keep the linen smelling fresh.

Popular lavender products today are different types of soap, lotion, oil and tea, but the flowers are also used for baking, and can be part of the spice mix, Herbs de Provence.

It’s easy to grow your own lavender as long as you plant it in a hot, dry spot, and don’t overwater it. Lavender attracts bees and other pollinators – if you stand still among the rows of a lavender farm you can hear the buzzing of thousands of busy bees. Don’t worry, they are too busy working to even contemplate stinging you.

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