Friday, March 29, 2013

Raffle to win $100 Gift Certificate

Try your luck to win a 
$100 sunshine lavender farm gift certificate 
to spend at this year’s 
Lavender Harvest Celebration, June 1 & 2, 2013!

Annie is one woman who works on two farms. sunshine lavender farm and a LOCAL NONPROFIT, The North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center. It serves children, teens and adults with special physical, mental, emotional and social challenges through horse-centered programs. (Daisy, one of the therapy ponies, will join us for the Celebration again this year!)
The Riding Center is currently running a "Paint Your Pony" campaign. Annie has volunteered to sponsor Pinto, one of the hard-working therapy horses on this farm and you can help too! PLUS, you will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 gift certificate to sunshine lavender farm to be used at the June 1st & 2nd Harvest Celebration.

How to Enter the raffle?
  1. FIRST click to read the horse's story- Pinto Stories
  2. SECOND, to enter the raffle, please Donate $5 to Team Pinto.
  3. THIRD, select sunshine lavender farm  in the “Donation Credited To” window. 
The result? You are entered to WIN a $100 gift certificate to spend at this years Lavender Harvest Celebration at sunshine lavender farm!

We can CELEBRATE making a difference together! The WINNER will be chosen in one month on April 17 (which happens to be Annie’s birthday. Shhh.) Help her celebrate with a gift of community that YOU can be a part of too! Thank you.

A little more about Pinto the therapy horse-

My name is Pinto, and I am a popular guy here at NCTRC. My full name is Pinto Bean but I like to go by Pinto for short. I am easy to spot in the pasture because of my brown and white coat and very cool black and white mane.

I absolutely love when my riders and volunteers scratch my belly where the girth goes, it just feels so good! I like the gentle riders best, as I do not like loud noises and can be a little sensitive. The good thing about my sensitivity is that I am a good listener and I respond very well to commands. I really enjoy being a therapy horse, especially when I get to sniff and touch my nose on all of the toys!

Please join in my efforts to raise $2,500 for the Paint Your Pony! Campaign. I would like to continue my work here at NCTRC and earn all my stripes and I would so appreciate your help. Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We have plants...

With the arrival of spring, we are again providing our farm friends with the same superb quality plants as in years past. But this year, you can purchase on-line!

As of last week, we have the first round if plants for 2013 listed on Etsy. For starters this year, we are offering Hidcote Giant, Munstead and Otto Quast. Each listing in Etsy is for 6 lavender plants (4" each) of the each variety listed above. These plants will be packed well and shipped in a large USPS Priority Mail box. A detailed planting guide will be included.

A few plant specifics:

1. Hidcote Giant plants produce large medium purple blooms in mid June. It grows 24” around with grey-green foliage and a stem length of 20-24”. The blooms are lovely in fresh and dried arrangements. For a season of lavender blooms, plant with May bloomer, lower growing Hicote, and other June bloomers like Provence (early June) and Grosso (mid June).

2. Munstead plants are a remarkably pretty lavender in full bloom! It shows off its violet flowers on a bushy 24” plant in mid June. Give this one plenty of room because when it is happy, it will grow beyond its 2 feet in diameter size. The fragrance is intense, so place it close to your back door, front sidewalk or mailbox where it will greet guests with its soothing scent. Very pretty in the garden with Jean Davis and Otto Quast.

3. Otto Quast is such a happy lavender! This is the first to bloom, oftentimes in April. Grows 24” around with a stem length of 12”. The flower resembles a bumble bee, with antennae or a bunny with ears. A pretty violet color. It's nice planted with other red-purple shades of lavender like Jean Davis or Munstead.

Will you be joining us for the Spring Daze in Cary, NC on April 27th? You can also pre-order you plants for that show. Just contact us via sunshine lavender farm email and we will make the appropriate arrangements.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lavender Blueberry Muffins

What goes well with lavender? MANY things...but I've found that my new favorite combination is lavender and blueberries in a yummy muffin form! I have enjoyed several of these babies with a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning while reading farm emails on the computer. Such a nice way to ease into my day...

Photo by Rhoda Peacher of
Muffin Mix
1/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp softened butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp culinary lavender buds
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Streusel Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp butter, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 375 F and paper line the cups of a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a mixing bowl. cream together the sugar and the butter with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lavender. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the butter and egg mixture. Stir together until well incorporated. Fold in the blueberries and spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Prepare the "Streusel Topping" by combining the sugars, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter by hand until crumbly. Sprinkle some of the topping over each muffin. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

(recipe from page 212-213 of 'The Lavender Gourmet- Culinary Recipes for Entertaining and Every Day' by Jennifer Vasich)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Say "I Do" to a Lavender Wedding

An overall warmth is in the air now...only six more days until the official first day of spring! How are we celebrating? By getting heavily involved in the process of planning several lavender filled weddings!

We have scoured Pinterest for inspiration, met with multiple brides to discuss ideas of how to incorporate MORE lavender into their beautiful day and scheduled several overnight delivery dates of our fresh cut lavender. 

The lavender on our farm is some of the first to bloom in the United States. Every year is a bit different, yet typically lavender is blooming before Memorial Day, sometimes earlier, and blooms nicely through July 4th. Most lavender peaks in mid June in North Carolina.

As the herb that symbolizes devotion, joy and luck, lavender is perfect for weddings and celebrations. It is a flower that many brides visualize from the most simple country wedding, to a more formal affair. Our number one priority is to grow the most beautiful and fragrant lavender. We do not specialize in creating items for the wedding party, although we have for local brides from time to time. Every bride has a different vision for using lavender on her special day and these ideas simply help bring them to life. Lavender is very easy to work with and we suggest using your floral designer or a friend to manage the flowers. 

Lavender has such a lovely and fragrant presentation, that many choose to create simple bouquets wrapped with ribbon.

Lavender included in mixed bouquets works just as well too, especially if there is a meaningful combination for the bride. Lavender and roses is quite popular! Small pieces may be created to include lapel flowers and corsages with lavender too. From bunches of lavender in baskets, buckets or vases to a collection of petite bottles with single stems, lavender used in center pieces is lovely too. Imagine sharing a pretty bottle with lavender as a guest keepsake. Our lavender is grown using organic practices, so may also be used for the champagne toast, with a single stem inverted within the glass, a natural swizzle stick! Wedding cakes topped or adorned with lavender is also an option. One bride requested lavender flavored icing for her cake! Loose lavender is an option for a wedding toss and is sold by the cup. The ideas are limitless for a lavender wedding and it all begins with your taste and vision.

Here’s a testimonial from a customer when asked about their fresh lavender delivery:
"It is awesome!! Just home from rehearsal dinner. And, you have a convert with our florist. She is quite pleased with how pleasant you have been to work with and she loves the lavender.   Thanks again! Barbara" 
Lavender overnights to any destination perfectly for May and June weddings. Overnight shipping fees are determined based on destination. Estimate 1 lb. per bouquet. Fed Ex delivers for the farm. Go to for estimates from your zip code to get a shipping estimate from 27278 (our farm). Fed Ex shipping is due prior to shipment and payable via PayPal. Etsy automatically calculates standard shipping, which will be deducted from the additional overnight shipping total.

Remember, fresh lavender can be easily preserved by hanging up-side-down in a hot, dry location for 10-14 days, as a keepsake. Lavender bouquets are lovely and fragrant all year long! Just spritz preserved bouquets with water, place in a steamy bath, or rub the florets to release the sweet scent. Fragrance and color can last 2 years!

Are you considering adding fresh lavender to up and coming wedding? Please visit our online Etsy shop for pricing.