I was paging through Instagram this past weekend (as one does) and fell totally in love with all the lavender fields popping up on my feed. A sigh of longing bubbled up from deep inside, when it suddenly occurred to me that we live near a lot of farms, and that there might even be a lavender farm nearby...
Read on for our adventure and five more uses for lavender below!
What We're Wearing:
We live in Philadelphia, and the surrounding farms in Bucks County and New Jersey are incredible. Check out our trip to a nearby tulip farm this spring! Also love that we managed matching thrifted looks on that trip as well.
Here we're wearing our new spring dresses by sustainable designer Doên. My dress is still available here, and here is one similar to Harper's that's still available.
A quick Google search revealed a handful of quaint lavender farms in our vicinity. I picked this one, Peace Valley Lavender Farm, based both on proximity and Trip Advisor reviews. Next, I sweet- talked my husband into a "spontaneous family adventure!" Peace Valley Lavender Farm is only 25 miles from Philadelphia, but the trip still takes an hour because it's all back roads to get there. We enjoyed the ride, though, passing endless charming colonial farmhouses, antique shops, the most haunted-looking, creepiest castle we've ever seen, and even some animal farms. The kids weren't as keen on peeping lavender, but the emus, llamas, cows, and chickens we spotted along the way more than delighted them. I myself was delighted when I got home and realized it had been almost one solid year since I'd first learned about lavender and written about 6 easy uses for it in a previous post published on June 29, 2018. I love those kind of coincidences!
Here's an updated list following a year of learning, an adventure at an actual lavender farm, and my discussion with its friendly owner, Patti Lyons*, who was kind enough to share some of her expertise and recommendations with me!
*Incidentally, Patti shared that the best times to get your lavender pics are usually the third or fourth week of June but that some varieties of lavender will bloom again in the fall.
5 More Uses For Lavender
1. Preserved- Lavender Lemons
In the Peace Valley Lavender Farm gift shop, I couldn't resist purchasing a copy of The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley, even though I am a TERRIBLE cook and should never be allowed near a kitchen. (Don't worry, you guys. My husband writes the recipes for my food section!)
The cookbook (pictured above) is made of beautiful parchment paper, filled with luscious illustrations, and even scented with lavender. Non-existent cooking abilities, it was irresistible.
As I was checking out, I got to chatting with Patti, the owner of Peace Valley Lavender Farm. She was really sweet and helpful and told me if I only make one recipe from the book-- it was like she could see inside my devious mind-- it should be lemons preserved in lavender.
"Whenever you make a Mediterranean dish, lavender lemons will give it such a kick!"
I nodded and agreed whole-heartedly, even though I had NO CLUE what she was talking about as my idea of the ideal flavor is mixing canned chili with pre-shedded Mexican cheese. However, my husband got inspired when I shared her tip with him, and I figured any of the cooks out there who stumble on this blog could benefit from her tips as well! I found an extremely similar recipe to the one in the book at Homespun Living. The only difference is Sharon Shipley recommends adding extra virgin olive oil to the top of your mixture before sealing up the jars, as well as 1/3 cup of sugar (for 8 lemons not 2) and 3 tablespoons of minced garlic. When we make it, I'll definitely share the recipe to my food section!
2. Lavender Sachets as a Natural Moth Solution
One year ago, we were living in a modern apartment. Since then, we've moved into a very old house. It was renovated down to its studs before we moved in, but we still have a little bit of a bug situation, which is normal I suppose when you're living smack in a garden instead of 11 stories high up in the air. Well, did you know lavender is a natural moth deterrent? Mothballs can contain dangerous pesticides, but lavender is all natural (obviously!) and an old home-maker's trick. It's also Martha Stewart-approved. Read more about her endorsement of this old trick here.
3. Lavender for Insomnia
I mentioned this tip last time I wrote about lavender here, but as someone who's been suffering from a bout of insomnia recently I was happy to have this tip recalled to my memory! If you're suffering from insomnia, it's really helpful to add lavender to your nighttime routine and to create a soothing atmosphere in your bedroom before you try to fall asleep. I still love my little humidifier and it's worth the extra minute to fill it with water and turn it on before I go to sleep. You can even add essential oils like lavender to it. Did you know lavender essential oils offer calming and soothing properties that help reduce stress?
4. Lavender Oil for Cleaning
I also forgot about this tip from my last post! Granted, it's a lot easier to keep a big, old house smelling fresh than it was a packed-tight apartment. However, we still have a cat bathroom, and I remember now how much it helped neutralize odors to add real lavender oil to our lavender-scented Mrs. Meyer's cleaning bottles. Lavender oil has tremendous antibacterial and deodorizing properties!
5. Lavender Tea
As you can see from the first picture above, lavender can be drunk as well as eaten. The lavender sodas we bought at the farm were perfect for a hot summer day but a little high in sugar for regular consumption. Not only does lavender have many external uses, but you can also add lavender both to recipes or to teas. Making lavender tea is very easy as well! You simply place the lavender buds into a tea ball or sachet and steep in hot water for a few minutes. (Just make sure you purchase the edible kind.)
Lavender has all kind of health properties when applied internally or externally. You can also read more about the many magical uses of lavender at Medical News Today. Do you use lavender in your daily life?