Monday, December 24, 2012

Until 2013...

Hello Farm Friends!! Our hope is that this blog post finds you warm and snuggled up to your loved ones right now...

We have decided to do the same and will therefore be taking a few weeks off from the blog and other farm activities to enjoy our own friends and family. We promise to return in 2013 refreshed and ready to re-start our lovely lavender adventure with you again!

Until then, take care of one another and make sure to give your love freely!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Lavender

Who can resist mashed potatoes in the winter? I think they are naturally the most wonderful comfort food! Why not add a touch of lavender to make this an extraordinary side dish?
Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Lavender
makes 8 servings
3 pounds red-skinned potatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Culinary Lavender Buds

  • Wash and scrub the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into chunks and place them in a large pot. Cover the potato chucks with cold water; the pot should be about 2/3 full.
  • Bring the potatoes to a slow boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered, until they are tender but not mushy.
  • Drain the water from the potatoes and either transfer the potatoes to a large bowl or continue to work within the cooking pot.
  • Add the garlic, butter, salt, milk, pepper and lavender buds.
  • Whip or mash the all the ingredients thoroughly until the mixture is the consistency you prefer.
  • If the potatoes seem too dry, add a few Tbsp of milk.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!

(recipe from page 112 of 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fresh & Natural Home Deodorizer

Are you having lots of drop-in guests lately? Wouldn't it be nice if you home always smelled yummy? We recently found a nice, natural way to fragrance/deodorize your home AND add a bit of humidity during these long, dry winter months too!

Grab a small stockpot and fill it about 2/3 full of water. Add one sliced lemon, a few sprigs of rosemary, a few sprigs of dried lavender (you can add lavender buds instead) and 1-2 tsp of vanilla.

Let your mixture simmer all day long on the stove, adding water as needed. I found that you can use the same mixture for several days in a row. After that, its best to toss and start over with a new mixture.

Try it and wait for the complements on your wonderfully fragrant home!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank You for Visiting the Farm!!

We at Sunshine Lavender Farm wanted to say thank you so very much to all who visited the farm this past Saturday! We could not have dreamed up a better day. Although a beautifully light snow falling though out the day would have been wonderful...maybe next year.

Please see below for several lovely pictures of our products display and the shopping in action. We enjoyed was lavender hot chocolate, lavender cookies, and tons of door prizes too. It was fun to chat, sip, and munch the day away with you, our farm family!
Maybe you were unable to visit us this past Saturday but would LOVE to still purchase our lavender lovely items as gifts or just for yourself?? There are two places that you can shop our goodies online right now.
First, we have listed several one-of-a-kind items on our Facebook page. Browse our photo album to see some of our one of a kind candles, pottery, pieces and lots of lavender-y products for your Holiday shopping. If you are local and would like to order just send us an email and we will give you details on how to get them. We plan to deliver this Friday to Hillsborough.
Second, we have listed over 100 NEW ITEMS on our web site! Just click on Shop, then click on the category listing. And if you place an order this week through Friday 12/28, we will send you a darling mini lavender sachet as our gift to you! 
 Limited supply on some items and many are one-of-a-kind, so check out the web site or our Facebook page and mark your lavender loving friends and family off of your list today!

Thanks again for visiting the farm. We are humbled by your enthusiasm for our lavender adventure. Your support of our small family oriented farm is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Garlic & Herb Cream Cheese Dip

I find that during this time of year, it's so nice to have a few easy recipes on hand that can be whipped together in a hurry for unexpected visitors. This dip is easy to make and extra delicious!! To save time, I have found that it's nice to premix several batches of the dried herb ingredients and store them in individual containers. These herbs last quite a while so, each pre-measured container will be ready to add to a batch of dip when you need it.

Garlic & Herb Cream Cheese Dip
1  8 oz package of fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup of fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely minced
1 Tbsp dehydrated garlic
1 Tbsp dehydrated onion
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp culinary lavender buds, chopped
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp sea salt
Dash of fresh ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream and Parmesan cheese with and electric mixer until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate the dip before serving to allow the flavors to mature. Makes approximately 8 servings.

(recipe from page 94 of 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunprint Lavender Gift Tags

This time of year, lots of people are pondering the best gifts for their friends and loved ones. But, have you considered the packaging? I am certain that a wonderful gift would be appreciated not matter what the wrapping looked like on the outside. But, why not take a little extra personal time to make the packaging and tags unique. Typically, you can use items you already have in your house or crafting area.

I found a Sunprint Kit last year and have enjoyed using it with younger kids as part of a nature lesson or a sun experiment. The Sunprint paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals, which react to light waves and particles when exposed to sunlight. When objects are placed on the paper, they block the sunlight and turn white while the surrounding paper turns blue. Water stops the process and fixes the image on the paper.

I came across the remainder of the pack the other day and decided to use the paper to make a few Sunprint gift tags using lavender. Believe it or not, I still have a few remaining sprigs of blooming lavender. I cut a few of the nicest blooms and found a piece of used cardboard to place underneath the paper.
While still inside the house, I laid the piece of Sunprint paper on the cardboard and then placed the two lavender blooms/stems on the Sunprint paper.

Next, I took the whole thing outside, covered it with the clear plastic that came with the kit and placed it in the sunniest area I could find...

After five minutes, I could tell that the exposed area of the Sunprint paper was turning white. I took the whole thing back inside and after removing the lavender, I submerged the entire piece of paper in a bowl of cool water. 

I then placed the wet Sunprint paper on a towel to dry. After an hour, I was left with the following sun drenched result!

Next, I cut the paper in half and punched a hole in each side.

Finally, I added some delicate ribbon to each side and VOILA!! I had quickly created two very unique,  lavenderific gift tags...

Do you have an interesting or unusual packaging or gift tag result? Please share...we LOVE new ideas!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lavender Holiday Celebration RSVP

Lavender Holiday Celebration at the Farm
Saturday, December 8, 20129:30 am ~ 4:30 pm

Please click this RSVP link
Come celebrate the season . . .
in the comfort and tranquility
of the farm house, enjoy a cup of
Lavender Hot Chocolate.
Nibble warm baked goods
fresh from our 1953 Wedgewood oven,
courtesy of The Farm Fairy bakers.

Garden inspired wreaths, ornaments,
hand sewn sachets, honey, pottery, and so much more ~
all created for the Lavender Holiday Open House.
Come and find stocking stuffers, gifts for the teachers, hostesses, friends, family, gardeners, foodies and even yourself!
Enter to win farm-inspired prizes during your visit.Items are awarded on the spot, so linger a while since
you must be present to win.

of hand made, unique items ~
many below $15.

(Since this is an invitation-only event,
the Lavender Holiday Celebration will not be

posted on our web site or advertised to the public.)
Sure, please share your invitation with friends if
you cannot attend this year.
DIRECTIONS: Drive to Hillsborough via I-40/I-85.
From Burlington and points west, drive in on
Hwy 70, traveling east. From Raleigh and points east,
drive in on either Hwy 86/Churton Street
traveling north or Hwy 70, traveling west.
From the intersection of Hwy 70 and Churton Street
(or Hwy 86 North in Hillsborough,
drive 6 miles on Hwy 57 North and turn left
on to Schley Road. Look for the rainbow streamer.
You will see Payne's Chapel church and pass
the Schley Grange Hall/Ball field.
Drive 1.6 miles to Millstone Road (Gravel, private road
with more rainbow streamers.) and turn left.
Our farm is the second drive to your left at
with large rocks and 4104 at the end of the drive.
4104 Millstone Road. Hurdle Mills . NC . 27541 for navigating.
Parking is available on both sides of the drive and
along the edge of the circle. Please be sure to leave room
for guests to come and go easily. Carpooling is appreciated.
Our farm is open ONLY twice a year ...
Please make sure to RSVP if you plan to attend!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Lavender Soup

Will you be visiting friends or family later this week? Have you been asked to bring a dish? Or, have you been looking for a new and creative dish to serve at your own dinner?

Why not bring a lovely soup that is not only seasonally fun but also lavender-ific!!

Pumpkin Lavender Soup
2 T dried culinary lavender florets/blossoms
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cup whole milk
1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves
Salt to taste
2 cups pumpkin puree

Garnish with:
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Fresh or dried lavender florets/blossoms

Bring dried lavender florets and water to boil. Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep 10 minutes. Strain liquid, discarding blossoms. Set lavender infusion aside.

Combine milk in a saucepan with butter, brown sugar and spices; bring to boiling. Whisk in pumpkin puree and lavender infusion. Season with salt to taste. Heat without boiling.

Ladle soup into warm bowls. Garnish each with a spoonful of sour cream or plain yogurt and, if desired, a few lavender blossoms, either fresh or dried.

If you are super crafty, you might consider hollowing out the appropriate number of small pumpkins and fill each with the soup right before you serve to every guest.

(photo via

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lavender Sugar

Seems like a simple recipe to post in our lovely lavender blog but I have been thinking so much lately about hot drinks...especially hot tea and easy ways to make it more lavender-y! Making lavender sugar is quick and easy. If presented in a nice container, it can make an elegant gift.

There are no extra special ingredients needed...just sugar, culinary lavender buds and several pretty glass containers.

Lavender Sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp culinary lavender buds

Mix together the sugar and lavender buds and place in a covered container. Store at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, shaking the container occasionally to distribute the lavender buds among the sugar granules. After 2 weeks, pass the sugar through a strainer to remove the buds and store the Lavender Sugar in an airtight container. For a more profound lavender taste, crush the lavender buds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder before mixing with the sugar and then do NOT remove them from the sugar.

I decided to leave the lavender buds whole and after two weeks, I plan to strain half of my sugar with the purpose of using it in tea. The other half of the sugar I will leave in my lavender buds and use this for cake or brownie recipes. YUM!!

(recipe from page 16 of 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lavender Holiday Open House- SAVE THE DATE

Lavender Holiday Celebration at the Farm
Saturday, December 8, 2012
9:30 am ~ 4:30 pm
Come celebrate the season . . .
in the comfort and tranquility
of the farm house. Enjoy a cup of
 lavender hot chocolate and
nibble warm lavender baked goods
fresh from our 1953 Wedgewood oven,
courtesy of The Farm Fairy bakers.

Garden inspired wreaths, ornaments,
hand sewn sachets, honey, pottery, and so much more ~
all created for the Lavender Holiday Open House.
Come and find stocking stuffers, gifts for the teachers, hostesses, friends, family, gardeners, foodies
and even yourself!

Our farm is open ONLY twice a year ...
Please look for your exclusive RSVP link soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Time to Prune the Lavender!

It's that time again...time to prune the lavender! As mentioned many times before, there are two times a year that are appropriate to give your lavender a nice trim- end of October (around Halloween) or middle of February (around Valentines day). So, if you are prepared, now is TIME!

I have extracted a portion of an article written for the 'Virginia Gardener' that clearly outlines the steps to pruning and feeding your beloved lavender plants.

How to Plant and Care for Lavender in the Southeast
by Annie Greer Baggett - posted 04/18/11

Pruning In our region, pruning can happen in a number of ways, and this is good since it is sometimes a challenge to remember what every plant requires in the garden. You may wish to trim the lavender when you cut the blooms to enjoy indoors in June. As you are cutting the blossoms, just give the lavender a good shaping, trimming away stragglers running along the ground and dead limbs. Leave about 1 to 2 inches of foliage all the way around.

I have been taught to prune in late fall as well, and this is fine if you are in tune with your garden and the microclimate of your planting zone. Clearly, when our summers are especially hot and dry, trimming the lavender in late fall can shock the plants, so you will want to wait until late winter, after the garden has experienced regular moisture and is dormant. Around Valentine's Day, or at least in the month of February, after the coldest part of the winter is behind the garden, trim away 1/3 of the foliage. Remember the rule of thumb and leave 1 to 2 inches of foliage all the way around.

It is critical to prune lavender annually to provide the best scenario for a long, happy life in the garden. If the lavender is not trimmed every year, the plant will open up from its center weighed down by the foliage. The heaviness of the branches will cause the main center stem to split and/or break and moisture to enter, resulting in stress and disease, and unfortunately the lavender will not be long for that great compost heap in the sky.

When pruning annually, toss a handful of the bone meal/lime/compost blend around the base of the plant just before rain, or water afterwards. This is the only feeding needed. Remember, that lavender prefers lean soil.

It's just that simple!

The picture above shows a 12 year old lavender plant that has essentially been neglected except for it's annual trim. This grandmother lavender is one of the oldest on our farm. She is happily still going strong!

Are you planning on trimming your lavender in the next few weeks? We would love to see some before and after pictures...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Basil & Lavender Breakfast Strata

While reviewing books last week for the blog, I once again became engrossed in the fascinating recipes that Jennifer Vasich provided in her lovely book, 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day'. I decided it would be fun to go through the book and do provide a "cook and review" here on the blog.

There is no better place to start then with what some describe as the most important meal of the day...Ms. Vasich described this strata as a family favorite that can be easily prepared the night before and then popped into the oven in the AM for a lovely family breakfast.

Basil & Lavender Breakfast Strata

  • 1 pkg (8 oz) ground turkey sausage
  • 6 eggs
  • 7 slices of day old bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) low fat cream cheese, melted
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen asparagus, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped OR 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp culinary lavender buds
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
In a large skillet, brown the sausage, drain and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients, along with the sausage and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into a well- buttered 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the strata, uncovered at 350F for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes approximately 6 to 8 servings.

My family and I loved this breakfast strata and will definitely be adding it to our list of repeat recipes! The lavender added a very interesting note and even our picky eater enjoyed it. I also served a fresh fruit salad and piping hot coffee...DELICIOUS!

(recipe from page 60 of 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Giveaway Winner

Drum roll please...and the Fall giveaway winner is...Elizabeth!! (insert tons of applause)

Congratulations Ms. Elizabeth!!! I have given your email address to my assistant. She will contact you personally for your mailing address.

If you didn't win, please don't be sad. Make sure to visit this blog often. Our goal is to sponsor a giveaway at least once a month.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

P.S. The chickens really didn't need to be in this blog post...they just wanted to say HELLO!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We LOVE to Read Books on Lavender

I LOVE books...lots of books. I love books on crafting, cooking, gardening, home keeping and beautiful living.


Sadly (or maybe happily if you are a book lover as well), these pictures only show about 1/4 of the total number of books we own as a family.  It shouldn't be shocking at all that in my collection of books, I have multiple books on the subject of 'lavender'. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites...some old, some new.

The first is 'The Lavender Garden' by Robert Kourik. The author is a landscape consultant and garden writer and this can be seen clearly within the chapters on 'The Botany of Lavender' and 'Planting and Cultivating Lavenders'. There are also a few basic lavender crafts and recipes in the back.

My next favorite is 'The Scented Lavender Book' by Lois Vickers. This is a beautifully illustrated book from Norfolk Lavender Ltd in England. This particular farm has often been described as the home of English Lavender. Due to the large lavender oil distillery located on the grounds of this farm, the book contains a very interesting and large section on 'The Essential Oil'. There are also several sweetly illustrated lavender craft ideas.

The third book I love in my collection is 'The Lavender Gourmet:Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich. This is one of my newer books. The title says it all...this is one of the most comprehensive books on cooking with lavender that Ive ever read. It includes chapters on 'Breakfast & Brunch', 'Appetizers, Vegetables & Sides', 'Salsa, Salads & Dressings', etc. I'm talking 309 pages FULL of yummy and very interesting recipes.

The final book Ive picked for review today is 'Lavender: Fragrance of Provence' by Hans Silvester. The dedication at the beginning of this book says it all- "This book is dedicated to the farmers of Provence who, by their toil, have beautified the land". This is a bit of statistical data in regards to where and how much lavender is grown in Provence and several sweet poems but the reason I love this book is the breath taking Provence lavender field photographs broken up by season. So beautiful!!

If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, make sure to see the amazon link that I have added to each title.

Do you have any lavender books you love? Please share them with me!

Friday, October 12, 2012

FUN Fall Giveaway!

It's been a rough week. One of my kids has some mysterious allergic reaction all over her body. We have been to the doctor twice in four days and received very little information about what it could be and the best way to treat her. Believe me, she is VERY vocal about how uncomfortable she is...

One of the diagnosis is dermatitis due to mites (YUCK, I know). So, I have spend several hours EVERY DAY changing beds, washing sheets, vacuuming the whole house and preparing soothing baths. Not such a bad time of year to be doing all these things as I do love to clean the house from top to bottom at the change of a season! Makes everything seem so fresh and helps me feel ready to conquer what lies ahead. Maybe you feel the same way?

I was definitely hoping so...

In honor of fall and all the cleaning up it brings, our newest giveaway is HERE.

We are giving away a 32 oz size of our very own, Sunshine Lavender Farm "Lavender Laundry Booster". Use it to naturally scent and boost your laundry detergent. Add 1/2 cup along with either liquid or powder laundry detergent for super cleaning power with a fresh lavender fragrance. Nice exclusively for sheets, towels and everyday washing. It is so yummy!

To win this awesome giveaway, please leave a comment indicating your favorite thing about fall...I will randomly pick a winner next Friday October 19th at 6:00 PM EST.

Just a note, another one of my FAVORITE things to do in fall is to make a fresh pot of soup. In between cleaning and folding and surviving this morning, I made a HUGE pot of "Garlicky White Bean Soup with Dark Greens". I found the recipe on Pinterest earlier this week...can I get a shout out in regards to the AWESOMENESS that is Pinterest?? YAY!!

If you are interested, here is the recipe link- Garlicky White Bean Soup with Dark Greens. ENJOY!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Planting Lavender This Fall?

Please visit us soon at one of the farmers markets or events listed in the right sidebar of this blog OR in the events section of our website- Here you can purchase plants directly from us! We are offering several varieties of lavender including Grosso, Silver Anouk, Provence, Munstead, French Fringe, etc. Since we are offering plants again this weekend, we thought it would be nice to brush up on planting information & techniques.

Our native clay soil and humid conditions are a challenge for lavender. Select a garden location with full sun and take the following steps to help you successfully grow this delightful herb.
  • Requires well-drained soils. Raised beds and containers work well too.
  • Sandy, sandy/loam or gravelly.
  • Low fertility.
  • Soil pH – 6.5 – 7.5
 If lavender is grown in a container, the temperature will be 15 colder than if it is planted in the ground. With this in mind, winter protection is needed. It will be best outdoors by burying the pot, covering the pot with burlap, straw or some other protective covering. Locate the potted lavender on the southwestern side of a structure to capture maximum sun and warmth during the coldest months. Tucked close to a building will allow it to stay warm. A corner is a good spot so that it is protected from winter winds. Lavender does not enjoy being an indoor plant since it can rarely get enough sun to satisfy it. If you do not have a spot as described and need to bring it in during the winter, just be sure to locate it in a sunny, warm window. You may take it outdoors on those gifts of days when it is sunny with balmy temperatures. By the time spring arrives, it should green up and do just fine.
Soil Preparation-
  • Create an 18-24" mound with well cultivated soil.
  • Using a trowel, dig a hole just deep enough for the plant.
  • Place 2 heaping handfuls of 1" round stone, ½ cup total of equal parts of bone meal, lime and well composted manure in the bottom of hole and mix well. The stone will allow the soil drain well, the lime improve the pH, bone meal and compost for a healthy.
  • Water your lavender well in its nursery pot and let it sit for an hour or more before planting.
  • Prune the top of the plant to ensure a nice bushy, productive plant.
  • Remove all planting material from root, so plant will be placed in the ground bare root.
  • Place plant just above the blend of stone/lime/bone meal/compost, not allowing the roots to touch the blend and gather soil around base of plant.
  • Space plants 36" for good air circulation since they will grow quickly and fill in the space.
  • Trim first year buds.
Lavender blooms at its peak in its third year producing about 1000 stems.
  • Herbs thrive on neglect once established. Care for young lavender as you would any new perennial. When well rooted, lavender is tolerant of heat and dry spells. Water if there is a drought. Over watering leads to root rot which will cause lavender to die.
  • Prevent weeds by mulching with a light colored mulch like coarse sand, gravel or oyster shells. The sun will reflect light, keeping the plants dry and help deter disease and enhance bloom and oil production.
  • Toss a handful of bone meal/lime/compost blend around base of plant in the fall just before rain or water afterward.
The lavender varieties that grow well in our area will bloom from about Memorial Day to July 4th. So, look forward to summer and when your lavender blooms, sit back, breathe in its fresh delightful scent and enjoy!
Fall is an EXCELLENT time to plant lavender!!