Visitors walk through the lavender field at Nelson’s Duckpond and Lavender Farm in 2019. This summer, farms require masks/face coverings inside lavender farm shops and some require or recommend them in lavender fields to prevent the potential spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Visitors walk through the lavender field at Nelson’s Duckpond and Lavender Farm in 2019. This summer, farms require masks/face coverings inside lavender farm shops and some require or recommend them in lavender fields to prevent the potential spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Lavender farms open with safety precautions

Visitors respectful of regulations, farmers say

SEQUIM — There’s plenty of room for social distancing in Sequim’s lavender fields, farmers say.

With purples and pinks blooming across the area this month, many local lavender farms are in full swing — or soon will be — for an anticipated low-key summer.

All lavender farms will require masks in their farms stores and a few in their fields, too, as farmers abide by state mandates for face coverings and extra sanitary measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The annual Sequim Lavender Weekend was canceled because of virus concerns, but many farms are gearing up for a special weekend July 17-19, the traditional date of the weekend.

No vendors or music are permitted; those are not allowed until a county is in Phase 3, and Clallam County is in Phase 2. But food and goods associated with the individual farms can be sold.

No farms interviewed plan to charge admission this year.

It’s so far, so good at B&B Lavender Farm, co-owner Kristy Hilliker said.

“We’re happy to have the visitors,” she said. “People have been really respectful. If they don’t have (on a face covering) and see us or others with them on, they’ll go back to their car and get them on. I’ve been so grateful.”

Washington Lavender and the George Washington Inn hosts a modified Washington Lavender Festival from this Saturday through July 19 with lavender ice cream, some vendors and lavender craft sessions with safety provisions in place to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Washington Lavender and the George Washington Inn hosts a modified Washington Lavender Festival from this Saturday through July 19 with lavender ice cream, some vendors and lavender craft sessions with safety provisions in place to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Farm staff ask visitors to wear masks inside their store and during tours, and they recommend them in the fields along with distancing themselves at least 6 feet. Like many farms, they offer curbside pickup and/or online ordering.

B&B Lavender Farm typically opens in May, but they opened this year on June 1, Hilliker said. Retail sales are down an estimated 30 percent from normal, but Hilliker said she expected a bigger dip.

“We’re thrilled,” she said. “The income is obviously fantastic. We’re also trying to be extra cautious. A lot of people in one place (right now) is not a good thing, but I think everyone has been super respectful.”

Susan Steffes, who bought and renamed Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain last year with her husband, Doug Falhlgren, said people have been respectful about wearing a mask in their gift shop, too.

Traffic has been consistent, she said, but she’s not sure what to expect on the traditional Lavender Weekend dates.

Switch on

Vickie Oen, general manager at Purple Haze Lavender Farm, said “the switch turned on for traffic” to find the farm on Bell Bottom Road in the last two weeks.

She said provisions are in place for masks in the farm store and the downtown Sequim shop while she finds “lavender farms are great for social distancing.”

In recent years, the farm has hosted its own event during Sequim Lavender Weekend called Purple Haze Daze, but Oen said they’re taking a year off.

“(We’re) not expecting as many people during that weekend like Purple Haze Daze, but it’ll be your typical summer weekend,” Oen said.

Karyna Tytar, left, and Alina Stanisheveska look at pictures in the fields at Washington Lavender in 2017. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Karyna Tytar, left, and Alina Stanisheveska look at pictures in the fields at Washington Lavender in 2017. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Up first

For the third year, owners of Washington Lavender on Finn Hall Road will host a two-week Washington Lavender Festival.

Saturday begins the festival, which will run through July 19.

Co-owner Janet Abbott said they’ve modified it because of state regulations, but staples such as lavender ice cream and U-pick lavender remain.

Abbott encourages people to shop in advance at shop.georgewashingtoninn.com so it’ll be ready for them at the window behind the store’s cash register when they are able to visit the farm.

She said they’ve seen a small but steady stream of visitors so far. Visitors to the farm and those staying at the George Washington Inn are picking up.

“It’s better than it has been in recent months,” Abbott said.

By appointment

The Lavender Connection, a farm off Cays Road, is taking reservations to protect customers and allow time to clean.

“We felt this was the best way customers could have the best experience,” said co-owner Rebecca Olson.

“When they go in the store or do U-cut (lavender), we feel we can easily sanitize for them.”

Visitors are asked to fill out a form at www.lavenderconnection.com to book a free visit.

Olson said with COVID-19 regulations in place, they don’t anticipate as many customers as they would during a typical summer.

“The people who do come will have a good time,” she said. “And, if they have a family member who is immune-compromised, they can have the farm to themselves.

“It should feel like a special appointment.”

Per tradition, the farm will continue to give free bundles to veterans, but they must schedule a free appointment first.

Swati and Shekhar Joshi of Bellevue visit Meli’s Lavender Farm in 2019 after taking a wrong turn into town. “We took a wrong turn, but it turned out to be right, and we went down to the John Wayne Marina. It was so beautiful,” Swati Joshi said. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Swati and Shekhar Joshi of Bellevue visit Meli’s Lavender Farm in 2019 after taking a wrong turn into town. “We took a wrong turn, but it turned out to be right, and we went down to the John Wayne Marina. It was so beautiful,” Swati Joshi said. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group file)

Street Fair postponed

Many of the farms with the Sequim Lavender Festival, a part of the traditional Sequim Lavender Weekend, plan to open in some capacity, but organizers of the festival postponed the Street Fair in Carrie Blake Community Park to 2021 for its 24th year.

Community events during Lavender Weekend, such as Art Jam, Olympic Driftwood Sculptors’ show and the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club’s Quilt Show, also have been canceled or postponed.

Although it was part of a tour in past years, Blackberry Forest is closed while Fat Cat Garden & Gifts is open but not part of a tour.

Earth Muffin Lavender on Woodcock Road closed indefinitely, its owner said.

Peninsula Nursery’s owners said it closed to the public on July 4, and it will move into a three-days-a-week operation at its nursery and not fully reopen until next spring. For more information on visits, call 360-681-7953.

Sequim area lavender farms (in alphabetical order):

B&B Family Farm, 5883 Old Olympic Highway; open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.daily through Sept. 30. Features U-pick lavender; lavender products and plants; free farm tours; leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-504-2585, www.bbfamilyfarm.com

Graysmarsh Farm, 6187 Woodcock Road; open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday through September. Features: U-pick lavender; lavender products and plants, berries. Contact: 360-683-5563, graysmarsh.com

Fleurish Lavender of Lost Mountain, 1541 Taylor Cutoff Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Monday through Sept. 7. Features: U-pick lavender, lavender products, plants; leashed pets OK. From July 17-19 meet photographer Keith Ross of Keith’s Frame of Mind, and see alpacas. Contact: 360-681-2782, fleurishlavender.com

Jardin du Soleil Lavender, 3832 Sequim-Dungeness Way; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Monday through Sept. 30. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in July. Features: U-pick lavender, products and plants. Outside store for ordering. Leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-582-1185, www.jardindusoleil.com

Kitty B’s Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane; open daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. July 10-19. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; some vendors and oil distillation demo July 17-19. Contact: 360-772-2062, www.kittyblavenderfarm.com

Lavender Connection, 1141 Cays Road; open by appointment through Sept. 7. Visit www.lavenderconnection.com to schedule a free visit. Features: U-pick lavender, products and plants, oil distillation, and more. Leashed pets OK. Contact: Website, 360-681-6055

Meli’s Lavender, 62 W. Diane Drive; open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 8-Aug. 1. Wednesday-Sunday. Features: U-pick lavender, plants for sale, leashed pets OK. July 17-10 wreath making classes. Contact: 360-461-9958, www.facebook.com/melislavender

Nelson Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products. Leashed pets OK. Mask required on all grounds. Outside shop available July 17-19. Contact: 360-681-7727, nelsonsduckpond.com

Olympic Lavender Company, 1532 Marine Drive; open this summer at a date TBD. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products. Up to date information on opening at buylavender.com

Purple Haze Lavender Farm, 180 Bell Bottom Lane; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Sept. 7. Features: U-pick lavender, plants and products; leashed pets OK. Downtown store, 127 W. Washington St., open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Contact: 360-683-1714, purplehazelavender.com

Rancho La Morada Lavender & Flower Farm, 1434 Marine Drive; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 17-19, 24-25. Features: U-pick lavender, lavender products, plants, lavender wreath making, and more. Leashed pets OK. First year for farm. Contact: 360-461-7679, [email protected]

Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm, 274154 U.S. Highway 101; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through September. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; some vendors July 17-19. Contact: 360-683-6453, www.sunshinelavender.com

Troll Haven/Bandy Farms, 950 Gardiner Beach Road; open for U-cut 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 17-19 with a Farmers Market on July 18. Additional U-cut dates from 11-3 p.m. Saturday, July 11 and Aug. 1, during the Farmers Market. Contact: www.facebook.com/TrollHavenBandyFarms

Victor’s Lavender Farm, 3743 Old Olympic Highway; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Aug. 30. Classes following state guidelines available at victorslavender.com

Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm, 1410 Kitchen-Dick Road; open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, through Sept. 27. Features: U-pick, lavender products and more. Leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-912-3938, victorslavender.com

Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road; open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Sept. 7 with festival going July 10-19. Features: U-pick, lavender products and plants; leashed pets OK. Contact: 360-452-4877, www.facebook.com/walavenderfestival.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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