Velia Bobadilla of Illinois stops by Washington Lavender for some photos during her recent road trip. Bobadilla said she went to five lavender farms in one day, and visiting Washington was on her dream list. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Velia Bobadilla of Illinois stops by Washington Lavender for some photos during her recent road trip. Bobadilla said she went to five lavender farms in one day, and visiting Washington was on her dream list. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Lavender festivals in bloom this weekend

Many farms bring back extras following 2020 provisions

SEQUIM — The plants are blooming and the farms are open for Sequim Lavender Weekend and beyond.

Considered the busiest travel time for Sequim, farmers continue an effort to bring back some normalcy following last year’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Multiple events

Many are hosting their own festivals, with vendors, music and food today though Sunday.

Two farms — Jardin du Soleil Lavender, 3832 Sequim-Dungeness Way, and Purple Haze Lavender Farm, 180 Bell Bottom Lane — offer separate ticketed events all three days.

Washington Lavender, 965 Finn Hall Road, continues its free 10-day festival through Sunday, too.

Owners and operators of Victor’s Lavender Farm, 3743 Old Olympic Highway, are shifting free workshops, music and food to its sister farm, Victor’s Rain Shadow Lavender Farm at 1410 Kitchen-Dick Road. Victor’s original farm still offers lavender U-pick and products for sale.

This weekend marks the second year that organizers of the Sequim Lavender Festival canceled their Street Fair at Carrie Blake Community Park.

Mary Jendrucko, spokesperson for the Sequim Lavender Growers Association that oversees the festival, said their partner farms will open and their 2020 featured artist Julie Peterson will set up at Kitty B’s Lavender Farm, 82 Cameron Acres Lane, with posters and artwork available.

The festival’s official T-shirts will go on sale at Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, 73 Humble Hill Road, over the weekend too.

For more about Sequim lavender farms, visit sequimlavenderweekend.com.

Hard hit

Jendrucko said the association has taken sizable hits by not holding the Street Fair last year and this year, and paying in advance for products that couldn’t be sold while also covering operation costs.

“We lost a huge amount to just keep afloat,” she said,

“It has been hard because we could not do the advertising and new driving guides to help support our farms like we would have wanted.

A grant through the City of Sequim helped the association print older lavender farms driving guides with new dates on the ferries and other locations, Jendrucko said. They’ve also been able to sell official T-shirts at QFC.

“We as an association do not make much on the Street Fair when all is said and done,” she said, “but having that park event brings in so many visitors to Sequim and all the surrounding farms that we hope by being able to sell our T-shirts at Nelson’s Duckpond during the weekend we will be getting seed money for the 2022 Sequim Lavender Festival in the park.”

For more about the festival, visit lavenderfestival.com.

Decisions

Krishnaveni Cheruvu, owner of Martha Lane Lavender Farm at 371 Martha Lane, said 2020 was a hard year for her and the farm.

She missed the 2020 lavender season because she visited India and due to the pandemic wasn’t able to come back home to Sequim until September.

In November 2020, the farm was burglarized.losing about $12,000 in farm equipment, essential lavender oil and more.

With the burglar not identified and the objects not recovered, Cheruvu had to pay to replace everything cutting into profits she had from 2019.

She put the farm on the real estate market briefly, but felt led to make it work for her.

“I really want to turn this into a good business,” she said.

“If I’m not doing well, I can’t employ people and support local. The decision is make or break. I really want to open, and conduct classes, but to do that I need to build up income.”

Cheruvu said she shifted from working in Information Technology (IT) to owning a farm because she wants to be here.

“Every farm has had it difficult,” she said. “Buying one or two things really helps.”

Depending on how the rest of the summer goes, Cheruvu said she’s leaning strongly towards only opening the farm up for Sequim Lavender Weekend and the weekend of the Tour de Lavender while continuing efforts to market her business and products at lavendulaherbalinc.com and elsewhere.

________

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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