Lavender fields : Why go to Provence when you can find them right here in Texas

Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, south west Asia to south east India. They are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. From the beloved fragrance to the beautiful purple color of the flowering plant, lavender fields are a popular destination for photographers.  Visiting the lavender fields of Provence especially the fields near Gordes, in Provence is on my Wanderlust!  What I didn’t know is – you can find these beautiful purple carpets of lavender right here in Texas!!

Lavender-senanque

 

I have been busy these last few days planning our summer trip to south of France. I’m crazy for sunflowers and lavenders, one of my must see on the list was to go see some lavender fields in Provence, Since we are going to be there end of July to first week in august, we will be narrowly missing the lavender by a week- looks like they will be harvested by the middle to end of July. I have been trying different searches to see if I can find one where the blooms and harvest run a little later. During one of my endless searches, I ran into a site that had pictures of lavender fields in Texas. The sight of Lavender field in full bloom is a sight to behold, not to mention the smell- miles and miles of purple blankets stretching as far as the eye can see. So to have found it right in our backyard when I have been looking for it half way across the world.. was exciting to say the least!! We have these lavender carpets right here in Texas and I have looking for them all the way in France- A Provencal view right here in our backyard!!! …I did some digging into to when and where and this is what I found..

Lavender fields right here in Dallas, just an hour away!

 

Lavender Ridge Farms

Lavender Ridge Farms #Lavender in #Texas

Lavender Ridge Farms is located 8 miles east of Gainesville, Texas. Originally a strawberry & melon farm in the 1920’s & 1930’s, Lavender Ridge Farms opened in 2006 as a lavender, cut-flower, and herb farm. The land here has been in the family for over 150 years and will be home sweet home for many years to come. Apart from the lavender they also have a variety of perennials and lots of birds and humming birds visiting. They have cooking classes (with lavender of course) and a café.  Perfect place for planning a picnic or family picture!

The History of Texas Lavender Fields

Lavender Ridge Farms, #Lavender in #Texas near #Dallas

For many years, visitors to the Texas Hill Country have enjoyed the beauty of the rough landscape and winding rivers. Much of this rocky limestone land, however, hasn’t been highly sought after for its agricultural use.

In 1999, Robb Kendrick and his wife, Jeannie Ralston, pioneered the way for a new agricultural industry in the area. Kendrick, a National Geographic photographer, while shooting a story for the magazine in Provence, France, noticed that the hilly terrain and the scorching hot summers there were similar to that found at his land near Blanco in the Texas Hill Country.

In 1999, the Kendricks planted 2,000 plants, paving the way for the current Blanco lavender growers, many of who were inspired by seminars conducted by the Kendricks.

The Blanco Lavender Growers Association has remained a united group, building upon the experiences of the Kendricks. These pioneers have endured periods of non-stop rain and periods of non-existent rain, each time more committed to this new agricultural crop. They readily share each new experience with each other and with guests to the Texas Hill Country who share their love of lavender. They organize the Lavender Festival each year, usually the first week of June.

Here are a few more Lavender fields little ways down – in Austin!!

Hill Country Lavender

Hill Country Lavender

Texas’ first commercial lavender farm, an all around treat for the senses with panoramic views, lavender plants spread in neat rows across a scenic hilltop and beautiful handmade lavender products.

Cool off with fresh squeezed lavender lemonade, homemade lavender cookies, stroll through the field and cut your own lavender, purchase lavender plants to take home, and stop by and shop the lavender gift store featuring a full in of lavender products.

Imagine Lavender Farm

Imagine Lavender Farm is located in Blanco County on the Rocking “L” Ranch which is owned and operated by the Logue and McFarling families. The lavender fields are set back from the highway to increase serenity and afford sweeping views of the hill country. Their plots of Lavender and designed beds are situated among native landscape to allow native wildlife to remain. These fields have suffered repeated drought over the last few years as has the entire region and therefore has been sustained through partial replanting.

Visitors can enjoy the farm by walking thru a lavender labyrinth, a rosary made of lavender, plots of lavender, or enjoy a stroll thru the artistic tree stump pathway to the hidden swing concealed by oak trees hundreds of years old. There is also an array of whimsical items placed about the fields, including a handmade gypsy trailer.

During your visit plan on staying for a demonstrations of the soap making process on Saturday and Sunday.  They have natural handmade lavender bath, body and culinary products available for purchase as well. They are also an official Monarch Waystation and stands of Milkweek are present in the field for the necessary for the survival of the Butterflies.

Chappell Hill Lavender

Chappell Hill farm

An aromatic lavender farm with quaint surroundings and a scenic hillside view,  about 8 miles north of historic Chappell Hill, just off of the Texas Independence Trail. Nestled in the heart of bluebonnet country the farm is a delightful day excursion from most anywhere in South Central Texas, with many other attractions close by.

Three thousand lush plants cascade down over rolling acres to a gazebo and pond—a peaceful setting for picnics or just relaxing with a cool glass of lavender tea or lavender lemonade.  During the cutting season which usually begins in August, you can casually stroll the fragrant rows and cut your own fresh lavender. There is no admission charge to visit the farm.

What do you do with all that cut lavender from the lavender fields, make some lavender scones and lemonade of course, if you have other recipes that use lavender please share with us! Keep in mind Blooming season is end of May – July.

Lavender Scones Recipe

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sanding or granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups store-bought lemon curd
  • Ingredient info: Dried lavender buds (culinary lavender) are available at some supermarkets and natural foods stores.

Preparation

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd.

Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Make lemonade either from scratch or concentrate. Separately, make a lavender tea, using either our dried lavender in cheesecloth or one of our lavender bath and tea bags. Let the tea steep for about 15 minutes; remove the lavender. Pour the tea into the lemonade. Use about 1 cups of lavender tea for every gallon of lemonade. Add plenty of ice, and a lavender sprig in each glass for a garnish.

Hand Squeezed: (makes 1 gallon) 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cups lemon juice 1/2 gallon water 1 cup lavender tea (feel free to adjust to your personal taste)

NOTE: From concentrate, mix one can with 2 cups water and 1 cup tea.

Do you have Lavender fields around where you live and what is the best time to visit the fields?

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