Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tiny Lavender-y Love

I think it might be considered a disease by some but, we LOVE all things lavender. We even love things that are the color lavender. Lately, the wild violets have been blooming in the yard. Some may consider these tiny treasures "weeds" but that's not how we feel around the farm. To us, they are the perfect shade of lavender and beg to be picked and displayed in our home of "lavender-y love"!

Don't they look lovely in the vintage medicine bottles? Now if only we had some of those bottles in a darling shade of lavender...

Monday, March 26, 2012

sunshine lavender farm Bee's & Honey

The bees' are busy buzzing about the farm. Our winter has been so mild that I am not sure they ever really hunkered down. Honey bees typically stop flying if temperatures drop down into the 50s (F). Instead, they stay inside their hive in what is called a winter cluster which means they get into a big huddle for warmth. The colder the temperatures are outside the hive, the tighter the cluster of bee's inside the hive.

We currently have two hives but are preparing to add a third very soon. Have you ever seen a shipment of bee's? It's very interesting and incredibly exciting to receive! I promise to post some pictures once we receive ours.

Are you...a Bee Keeper?

Here are some benefits that might entice you to say "Yes!" to becoming a Bee Keeper...
1. Wholesome local Honey
2. Healthy and vibrant garden / fruit trees / flower beds
3. Benefit your community (pollination, bee removal, etc.)
4. Restore Honey Bee populations
5. Additional income stream
6. Experience the joy of learning
7. Science project for youth
8. Enjoyable hobby

It's also always fun to find a new honey recipe...even more fun to find a honey AND lavender recipe. In my online research, I came across this wonderful recipe using both. We have made it at home and it is truly spectacular! 

sunshine lavender farm Honey Lavender Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sunshine lavender farm dried lavender
  • 1/3 cup sunshine lavender farm honey
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, lavender, and honey. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain mixture, reserving milk and discarding lavender. 
  2. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. Add half the milk to egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Stir mixture into remaining milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. 
  4. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in cream. Strain mixture into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice-water bath, and let stand until chilled, stirring from time to time. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Store in an airtight plastic container up to 2 weeks.
(Bee facts courtesy of Ice cream recipe and picture courtesy of

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    The Weeds ARE Among Us

    During to this early spring, not only are the lavender plants waking up but THE WEEDS are also making their 2012 debut in our field. We have learned that the best weed defense is definitely an early personal attack. It is also very important to us to use only organic farm practices...including the dreaded weed control!
    Last week, new farm managers Sandra Sarlinga and Fabian Lujan worked hard pulling each and every weed by hand at the base of each and every lavender plant. It is a time consuming task but one that is worth the effort!

    Once the weeding is completed around the base of each plant, Sandra and Fabian replaced the oyster shells and then sprayed organic vinegar between each plant within every row...being careful not to spray the lavender plants themselves. You might be thinking, vinegar?? Well, this is definitely not the vinegar we use at home. Typically a consumable vinegar is 5% concentration of acetic acid, while the vinegar used to kill weeds is 20% concentration of acetic acid.

    In our online research, we found some interesting information including an article titled Using Vinegar as Weed Killer in your Lawn Care Routine published on October 31, 2011. In part it states,
    "Most people spray organic weed control products directly on the plants, thinking it won’t do any harm. In most cases, this is probably true. However, when using vinegar, you’re using an acidic liquid that can remove the waxy layer of defense plant leaves have, leaving the plant susceptible to dehydration...Vinegar might take a little more planning than some other organic weed control products, but it is still an inexpensive method to eliminate weeds without posing harm to the environment. Lawn care experts suggest applying the vinegar on warm, dry days. If it happens to rain immediately after you apply the vinegar application, you’ll need to re-apply because the original application will have been washed away."
    All the extra effort now to ensure the healthy growth of our lavender plants will be seen (and smelled) during the June harvest...and this year, I foresee a BEAUTIFUL bounty!

    (online courtesy of- )

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    First Lavender Event in 2012

    The first Sunshine Lavender Farm event of 2012 is an exciting one! We will be at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC on Saturday March 17th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The new Farm Manager, Sandra Sarlinga will demonstrate how to use culinary lavender in easy recipes at home. Please come meet Sandra and sample lavender shortbreads and lavender panna cotta.

    There are several other in-store events at A Southern Season on Saturday as well ( so bring a friend and be prepared to thoroughly relax and enjoy yourself!

    In preparation for the lavender yummies that Sandra will be sampling, I am including a lovely lavender shortbread recipe to wet your appetite.


    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 tsp dried lavender, chopped very finely
    • 1 3/4 cup AP flour

    1. Chop the lavender or, even better, use a spice grinder to get it to a fine spice consistency.
    2. Cream the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy.
    3. Add the vanilla and lavender, then lower the speed and slowly add the flour until the dough is combined.
    4. Roll the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or until the butter firms up. You can speed up the process by using the freezer.
    5. Roll out the dough to around 1/2 inch thick. I rolled it in between 2 sheets of parchment paper, which isn’t essential but really helps avoid a mess and keep the dough smooth.
    6. Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds and then place them on a sheet tray covered with parchment. Roll the excess scraps in a ball and repeat the process until you have used all the dough.
    7. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
    8. Bake for 25-30 minutes for 350 degrees F, or until lightly golden on top. Allow to cool to room temperature.

    (recipe and photo curtosy of

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    The Farms FAVORITE Street

    If the farm were ever to "adopt-a-street" for clean up purposes, etc. I definitely think we should adopt this street in southern Durham county.

    What could be more perfect than Lavender Ave??

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Lavender Hot Chocolate

    The past few days have been quite breezy and a bit chilly on the farm. I think 50 degrees can be considered chilly, right? It's the kind of early spring weather that beckons for lavender hot chocolate- YUM!!

    I found an excellent recipe online and wanted to share with our "farm friends. Please be careful to follow the lavender steeping time as quoted...too long a time can lead to a soapy tasting hot chocolate.

    Ingredients (2 servings):
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 3 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
    • 1 ounce of milk chocolate
    • 1/4 teaspoon of lavender buds
    For the whipped cream:
    • 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
    To prepare the whipped cream, mix cold cream, vanilla and sugar in a cold bowl. Beat it with the help of a whisk or mixer until stiff peaks form. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator until serving.

    For hot chocolate, heat milk with lavender in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allowed to sit lavender for 5 minutes. Strain lavender and return the milk back into the saucepan. Over medium heat, add chocolate and mix until integrated and incorporated. Then beat the mixture for about 10-20 seconds until frothy.
    Serve chocolate in a mug or small bowls with a dollop of whipped cream.

    (recipe and pictures courtesy of-