Sep 2, 2016

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How I became a lavender farmer

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Lavender Farming with KarlaWelcome to Lavender Week at Anna Marie’s Teas! We like to call this our own little festival of herbal R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N.  Tis the season when our clay pots are spilling over with rosemary, basil, thyme and LAVENDER.   This Saturday, Sept 10, Purple Shades of Autumn Tea Party will once again be our utmost relaxing tea party.  Diffused essential lavender oil, teacups filled with lavender tea, vintage recipes with lavender will be enjoyed along with our friend Karla’s Lavender Jelly!  Karla is a suburban lavender farmer and has been cultivating a bountiful lavender garden for years.

How I became a lavender farmer

“Growing up on a farm in Iowa, we always grew a large garden and a variety of fruit trees and berries.  One of my ‘chores’ was picking strawberries and raspberries.  I  was in 4-H, so every year I would exhibit some type of canned item to our Mills County fair.  Then one of my jars of cherry jam won a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair!  It was at the Iowa State Fair where I was introduced to the herb Lavender.  An English lady who had a booth in one of the agricultural buildings (the same one where the butter cow was exhibited) would hand out samples of dried English lavender. This lavender sample was one of my favorite things about the fair and I tried to save it as long as I possibly could! 

Lavender has always been a part of my garden.  A valued herb that can be tricky to get established in a perennial garden.  Start by choosing a lavender variety that will grow in our zone of the country.  Through the years, I have learned lavender roots don’t like to be wet especially during the winter season. 

Lavender Farmer Karla

Karla’s elevated lavender garden

My lavender clumps grow in an elevated flower bed on the south side of my house bordered with rocks.  The rock border provides plenty of drainage.  I have enjoyed drying lavender and making lavender jelly!  My jelly is made with organically grown lavender, pure cane sugar, filtered water and pectin. 

The more open the flowers the prettier the jelly.   Lavender has calming effects, so it is not surprising it goes well with tea.  I have also tried stirring a teaspoonful of my lavender jelly in a cup of hot black tea.

Lavender jelly is so good spooned over the top of one of Brenda’s scones!  I also love tea blended with lavender, like Anna Marie’s Lavender Lemon Herbal (my favorite iced) or Provence Rooibos (delicious iced or hot with a little honey).   I hope everyone takes a few minutes to relax and enjoy lavender!” ~Karla King

Lavender Farmer Karla's garden