Friday, July 26, 2013

BEAUTIFUL photographs of the 2013 Harvest Celebration

In addition to the wonderful painters that attended the Lavender Harvest Festival this year, we also had multiple photographers (amateur and professional) to visit us as well. One such photographer was Elizabeth Perez. She is a lovely, young women who visited us Saturday with her husband and children AND then again alone on Sunday. 

The next week, she very kindly sent us most of the photographs she took both days to use in our future eNewsletters, blog posts, etc. Oh how we LOVE our farm friends!

Her Facebook page describes her as a "photographer in progress" but after seeing her pictures, we think she is making excellent progress! Make sure to leave a comment, etc on her page to let her know how much you like her photographs of our Celebration too...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lavender Tid-Bit #4

Have you ever been bitten by a chigger? If there is ANY question in your mind, then I promise you haven't. It is quite the memorable experience!

According to

Chiggers are the larvae of mites. Like ticks and spiders, mites go through three biological stages in their life cycle: They begin as eggs, hatch as larvae, develop into nymphs and finally become adults. Nymph and adult harvest mites feed mostly on plant life and don't bother people or other mammals, but in the larval stage, many of the species are parasitic. After a parasitic chigger hatches, it finds a good position on tall grass or other vegetation so it can spring onto a passing animal. When it finds an animal, it attaches to the animal to gather the protein it needs to grow into the nymph stage.
Chiggers do not burrow under your skin, as many people believe, nor do they feed on animal blood. They actually feed on the fluids in skin cells. To get the fluids, they attach themselves to a skin pore or hair follicle and inject a digestive enzyme that ruptures the cells. The enzyme also hardens the surrounding skin tissue, forming a sort of straw for sucking the skin cell fluids. The whole process irritates the skin, causing an itchy red bump that continues to cause discomfort for several days. Chiggers are only about 1/50th of an inch (0.5 mm) in diameter and so are too small to be seen with the naked eye. This invisibility is the reason so many people believe chiggers burrow under the skin.

Obviously NOT a fun ordeal!

Recently a friend of mine, who loves to hike in the woods, found herself eaten up with chiggers. After a few sleepless nights and painful days, she read online that lavender essential oil just might help a bit.

Sure enough, a few minutes after lightly applying the oil to the worst of her bites, she no longer felt like "ripping her skin off" (a direct quote)!

Just another good reason to keep a bottle of lavender essential oil in your medicine cabinet...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lavender Tid-Bit #3

Lavender IS for lovers! It is said that Cleopatra wore the scent of lavender (maybe her secret weapon) to seduce Julius Caesar and then Marc Antony after Julius’s assassination by Brutus and Cassius. 

Some claim that the asp (snake) that delivered her fatal bite was hidden among her lavender bushes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baked Herb Chicken...with Lavender!

I found a lovely recipe for Baked Artichoke Chicken and decided to put a little sunshine lavender farm spin on it.

4 lbs of chicken legs and thighs with skin
1 can of artichoke hearts
1 medium onion, cut into chucks
1 lb button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/4 Tsp dried thyme
1/4 Tsp dried oregano
1/4 lavender buds, crushed
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Place artichokes, onions and mushrooms on the bottom of a large baking pan. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Mix the mustard with the remaining ingredients and pou over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for one hour.

Everything was delicious and GONE!

Friday, July 12, 2013

BEAUTIFUL paintings of the 2013 Harvest Celebration

This year, we were privileged to have several professional painters visit us during the 2013 Harvest Celebration. One such painter was a lovely young man, Jeremy Sams, who is a plein air painter which means he enjoys painting in the open air or painting from real life. He is currently a member of four plein air groups and it was obvious to all who observed him work that he was born to paint. The resulting paintings were so excellently done that you felt as if you were looking at a photograph and not a painting at all.

While Jeremy was with us for only one day of the event, he was able to complete not only one but two gorgeous paintings of our farm. On his website, he stated of the experience-
Today, I was privileged to paint along side of fellow artists from Triad Outdoor Painters and others at the beautiful Sunshine Lavender Farm near Hillsborough, NC. This was my first visit, but hopefully won’t be my last. I met many wonderful people there and was thrilled at the event’s family friendly atmosphere. 
 The weather was absolutely beautiful and you couldn't have asked for a better day to be out plein air painting. Luckily, I found myself a nice shady spot for my first painting of the day, which was this pretty little scene looking down the walkway beside the farm house. Not only was I in the shade on a bright sunny day, but I was right in front of the food tent…SCORE! They served up all kinds of healthy goodies and offered up some lavender tea and pineapple tea to wash it all down. I could’ve drank a gallon…it was delicious.
 This was my second plein air painting of the day. These bicycles were just begging to be painted with their jewel toned colors, wheels turned in the same direction, and baskets full of harvested lavender. Oddly enough, this was actually my first plein air painting of bicycles. Maybe I’ll have to try some more in the future.

We had a blast watching and talking with Jeremy as he painted the day away on our farm...we do hope he comes back again next year!

If you are interested in purchasing either painting of the 2013 Lavender Harvest Celebration or any of Jeremy's other excellent work, please visit him at this website- 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2013 Lavender Harvest

This year our lavender was harvested on Saturday June 15. It typically takes several days to harvest our beautiful crop. Fortunately, this year we had a large harvest crew and we were able to cut the entire field, bundle the cut lavender and hang it up into the barn to dry all in one day! Plus, we were able to accomplish a few extra nagging farm chores to boot! 

A freshly sheared lavender plant.

One of the essential members of our yearly harvest crew gathering up fresh bunches of lavender to hang up in the barn.

The lavender tucked up nice and dry in the dark HOT barn.

Happy drying sweet lavender! We look so forward to making more wonderful products with your aromatic loveliness!

We would like to give an extra BIG thanks to our 2013 Harvest Manager Sally Bond...without your coordinating efforts Sally, we wouldn't have finished so quickly and efficiently! THANK YOU HARVEST TEAM!