Lavender Sisters Harvest Some Fine Friendships

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Meet the Lavender SistersVashon Lavender sistersRelated in spirit: Lavender Sisters Katy Jo, Merrilee, and Dana cultivate magic.

If Vashon Island ever needed a trio of fairy godmothers, I have no doubt the positions would be immediately filled by my friends Katy Jo, Merrilee and Dana, aka, the Lavender Sisters. Their respective lavender farms are nothing short of magic, magic cultivated by hard work, kindness and a generosity of spirit that never fails to leave me gobsmacked and asking for my three wishes.

Vashon Island Lavender FarmA little coffee to jump start the harvest, then off to the fields.

This week the lavender harvest began, and as you can see the volunteers were all too eager to help the tireless trio bring their flowers to market, in this case Vashon Farmers Market and Seattle’s Metropolitan Market.

Rose among the lavender

Rose (our favorite bouquet bunch runner)  has a smile that can upstage any bouquet.

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Don’t let the smile fool you; nicknamed “The Enforcer,” Rob was all about quality control, “tighter bundles, more lavender!”

Karen of La Biondo Farm gave us an idea. How about a calendar: Sexy Farmgals of Vashon!

Beauties (and the Beast) making play of work.

The sisters have a system, one where farmhands morph into a fine-tuned lavender harvesting machine: cut, scrape, bunch, band, and deliver. Basically farmhand one cuts the lavender from the plant, and hands it off to the scraper, who removes the lower leaves. That handful is given to the buncher who collects the cut lavender and evens out the stem bottoms. When the appropriate bouquet size is reached, the banding boss takes over and regroups the mass of stems with a rubber band. Up goes the bander’s arm like a posie-packing Statue of Liberty, which signals the runner to grab the banded baton and place it in a delivery bin filled with one inch of water. Teamwork makes quick work of a once laborious task.

And as for my three wishes, I consider them granted; cornbread, butter, and raspberry jam appeared on the snack table just about the time this farmhand needed a break.

14 COMMENTS

  1. This way of harvesting sounds a lot more fun than running a machine up and down the rows as is done at lavender farms in France and England (and I suppose here, too. Somewhere.)

    Tom! Have you tried making lavender jelly?? I did but it came out a weird color- NOT lavender but kind of a greeny-brown yuck color.

    I’ve made my own lavender ice cream and it’s so good it’s criminal. You steep lavender in the milk/cream for a hour or so.

    Try a few lavender flowers on your next green salad – yumm!

    And, 3 + 5 = 8 last time I checked!

  2. Tom,
    What a fun event to be part of. Lavender has the most incredible scent. Your post reminds me that I have to go back to Napa and Sonoma counties soon they have beautiful lavender fields out there and the time is right!
    Heguiberto

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