Western Colorado was graced with the beauty, the aroma and healing properties of lavender this past weekend. The Colorado Lavender Festival was hosted in Palisade with the Dayspring Farm operated by Bob and Roxann Lane of Olathe and Lamborn Mountain Farmland owned by James and Carol Schott included in the farm tours.
Carol Schott said two bus loads, each with 40 people, stopped at their lavender farm on Friday. Saturday, Carol and James took their lavender-based products to participate in the Palisade festival. Then on Sunday, people visited their farm again as part of the festival's self-guided tours.
"We had people from Chicago, Aspen and some people from out of the country. People came down from Grand Junction and Palisade," Carol said.
From their varieties of organic lavender, the Schotts create fresh and dried bouquets, culinary items, essential oils, hydrosols, goat milk lavender lotion and goat milk soap. Hydrosol is distilled water with suspended lavender oil in it. "It makes a great spray for freshening up and relaxing. It's also anti-bacterial, so it's great for scrapes, burns and mosquito bites," Carol said. They also make a lip balm and an Earl Grey tea with lavender buds mixed in. Guests sampled lavender lemonade, lavender goat's milk ice cream and a lavender coffee cake.
On Friday and Sunday, the visitors to the farmstead saw how the Schotts grow, distill and dry their lavender.
The Schotts have been raising lavender for four years. Their rows of lavender are thick with bees. Lavender doesn't require a lot of water, which makes it good for the North Fork Valley. Lavender needs to be weed-free. "They don't like to compete with weeds," Carol said. "We have weed fabric down to keep the weeds off. Then like any plant, you have to pay attention to it and water it when it needs it. Harvest it when it's time to harvest, which is right now." After the harvest, the lavender will be distilled.
Carol and James are charter members of the Lavender Association of Western Colorado. "We moved to Paonia and in February 2010 we saw an advertisement for the association. We went to the first organizational meeting. It's been great. It's been a real support in terms of information and a cohort of people growing lavender. They put on the Lavender Festival, and this is the third annual Lavender Festival," Carol said.
She estimates there are about 30 growers in the Grand Junction, Palisade and the North Fork area.
Another association event planned Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the community Bbilding at Mesa County Fairgrounds in Grand Junction is the conference, "Essentials of Distilling: Oils, Hydrosols and Value Added Products."
There will be experts teaching and demonstrating throughout the day from Curtis Swift, PhD who is a lavender farmer and researcher; Janet Scavarda, DC a certified aromatherapist; Bob Lane, a lavender farmer and distiller; Cindy Jones, PhD, a herb grower, educator and formulator; and Ann Harmon a distiller, certified organic farmer, hydrosol researcher and educator.
On Saturday, Dec. 7, the Lavender Christmas Craft Fair will be held at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction.blog comments powered by Disqus