Fifth annual festival at Buhl’s Valley View Lavender Farm
Blinded by love.
After their wedding and honeymoon in 1999, Al and Peggy Armstrong set out to make his Buhl property into a cozy home for the couple.
Surrounded by five pretty vacant acres, Peggy, still feeling the euphoric effects of romance, pondered about how wonderful it would be to fill Al’s property with lavender.
“We were still in that newlywed phase,” she says. “We didn’t know anything about lavender except that it sounded romantic.”
That year they planted a couple of Provence plants (an English lavender hybrid variety) with the desire to tend a small patch for their personal enjoyment. As those plants bloomed, so did the couple’s interest in growing lavender commercially.
“After doing much research online we discovered that we had the ideal climate and soil for some of the more hearty lavender varieties,” Peggy says. “We found out a growers convention was going to take place in Sequim, Washington, so we went to find out even more.”
Armed with a bounty of how-to information on everything from crafting, marketing and agronomics, along with 100 more plants, the couple returned from Washington ready to lay down their roots.
“We loved the ambiance. Credit cards in hand, we took the plunge and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. Luckily, it’s worked out,” she says.
Now the Armstrongs own and operate Valley View Lavender Farm and have 13 varieties of English lavender spread over five separate patches. Since 1999, they have planted and propagated the “herd” to over 5,000 plants.
Those plants, and the Armstrongs, are now preparing for the fifth annual Lavender Festival held on the farm, which opens to the public July 12-13. In addition to having the opportunity to enjoy the exquisite aroma, the festival boasts a lavender lunch, u-pick in the fields, guest vendors, hands-on crafting and lavender oil distillation demonstrations.
Plants and blooms will be available for purchase and each variety, except for the Grosso, English hybrid, is suitable for use in cooking. Lavender oil is known for its soothing and healing qualities and is the perfect ingredient for items from linen spray, laundry detergent, lip balm and even steak rub, which are all available at the farm and festival.
Since the festival’s inception, it’s proven to be a big hit with visitors who come from near and far. Last year the festival drew some 3,000 attendees.
“There really is something for everyone, it is a very family friendly event,” Peggy says. “We’ll have the gift shop packed with items, most of which we create right here. The festival is also a big draw for vendors and we expect all kinds – from those selling soaps to candles and jewelry to little old ladies with crochet. Usually there are about 17-20 vendors that show up for the festival.”
The farm will also offer tent camping onsite during the festival.
“The festival is the perfect opportunity to come and explore the farm and discover all that lavender has to offer for yourself,” Peggy says.
If you can’t attend the festival, you can still stop by the farm, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment.
PLANNING TO GO:
What: Valley View Lavender Festival
Where: Buhl Valley View Lavender Farm
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 and 13
More Information: 1-877-SMELLY-1
Get There: From west side of Buhl, go one mile west on Hwy 30 to 1325 East Road, turn right, go one mile and turn left at the purple mailbox.