Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lavender is in bloom!

I discovered Sunshine Lavender Farm last year, thanks to a friend who had met Annie at the Hillsborough Farmers' Market.  I checked out her website and signed up for e-news.  Last June, I went to the annual Lavender Harvest Celebration at the farm.  I was curious to see how lavender could be grown here in North Carolina.  We had a wonderful day there, taking lots of photos while touring the farm,

eating Maple View Farm lavender ice cream made with Annie's culinary lavender,
learning about the drying process,

and making lavender sachets.
This year's celebration is June 5 and 6.  If you click on the Sunshine Lavender Farm link above and sign up for e-news and event updates, Annie will send you an e-vite to next weekend's event.  There is no entry fee, she just needs to know how many to plan for (and how much ice cream to order!!).  You can take your quilt or a chair, and your camera or paints (painting lavender en plein air...I wish).   There is a $5 charge for fresh lavender or crafts.  There will be lavender lemonade and food for sale, if you wish to picnic.  Lavender lotions, soaps and other wonderful items are for sale (cash or checks only).
Thank goodness there is no charge for smelling the lavender.  I'd go broke!

Here's a note Annie sent me--

A lot of the lavender will be at its peak next weekend.

There will be cooking demonstrations on the grill, sampling with lavender and other herbs.

The farm tour has been extended to 2 hours since they are popular, lots of questions, and so much to see and do. Lots of "how - to" demonstrations this year.

The Chocolate Lavender ice cream is back by popular demand.

The gardens all over the farm have been transformed to include more edibles like lingonberries, cranberries, and blueberries within the landscaping and the kitchen garden has so many raised beds for veggies, that I have sown a couple of rows of heirloom cotton! Arkansas Green Lint and Nankeen (a brown or copper). Grown only by slaves before 1860, colored cotton is now a natural way to gain color without chemicals or dyes. Not really sure what I will do with it, just trying it out. I read once that every gardener should know how difficult a task it is to grow and pick cotton by hand. Imagine the days before the cotton gin ...

Anyway, always a story to tell!

Annie's Lemon Lavender Butter Cookies 
(makes 6 1/2 dozen) 

1 Tbsp. lavender florets
1- 3/4 c. sugar, divided
1 lb. butter, softened
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 large egg
6 c. all-purpose flour
Garnish:  fresh lavender sprigs
Process lavender florets and 1/4 c. sugar in food processor until blended.
Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add remaining 1- 1/2 c. sugar, beating well.  Add lemon juice and egg, beating until blended.
Gradually add flour and lavender mixture, beating until blended.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets (**my note-- I line my baking sheets with parchment paper).  Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks. 
Garnish, if desired.

Bon appétit, Sunshine Lavender Farm and Annie!  See you next weekend!

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