Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lavender, Hops, and Uninvited Guests

Jay's sister Lynn was here over the weekend. On Saturday we decided to drive out to the local lavender farm. It's just down the road about ten kilometres, and I had been wanting to see what it was like. In terms of beauty it did not disappoint. The rows of lavender stretched out under the summer blue sky were breathtaking.


The farmer also had apple cider trees, plum trees and a huge vegetable garden, not to mention his winter's supply of wood stacked neatly nearby. There was apple cider for sale.


I'm not sure how much he was charging for this bottle. It looked a bit sketchy, so I wasn't interested in buying any. But I did note the price of the small bundles of lavender. $35!!!


However, not everything cost money. One item in particular was being given out for free, and in very large quantities. Medical advice. Lynn asked the farmer what one of the vegetables in his garden was, and he launched into a lecture on how we don't eat enough bitters any more, and "if people ate more bitters there wouldn't be all these diseases we see nowadays." That's where he lost Jay and me. We headed back to the car. In a straight line and at a rapid pace. Lynn, who has never encountered a conversation she didn't want to participate in, stayed on. She was told the vegetable was chicory, and it was good for diabetics because it contained insulin. Seriously. The guy actually said this. He must have been confusing insulin and inulin. Bottom line: don't count on your local aging hippie lavender farmer for medical advice. Google is a much better bet.

After the lavender farm we decided to keep going and see where the road would lead. We were quite surprised when we came across a hop farm, with a sign at the bottom saying there was an open house.  I'm still a farm girl at heart, so I turned into the field and parked. We were surprised to see so many people mingling about. Here are Jay and Lynn making their way to the tents.


These fields were spectacular! Row after row of hops, with the mountains as a backdrop - it was as beautiful as it was surprising. I had no idea this hop farm was just a few minutes down the road from where we live.


I love the cloud formation in this picture. It looks like someone took a paint brush and quickly swiped it across the sky.


Here's a close-up view of the hops themselves.


While I was busy taking pictures Jay and Lynn were talking to the growers. They learned quite a bit about hops and the brewing process, but probably the most interesting piece of information they managed to pick up was the fact that the open house was for brewers from around the province, and not for local residents. This left me feeling extremely guilty about the "free drink" I was holding in my hand, but not guilty enough to be sorry we had stopped. The vision of those rows of hops, the deep blue sky, and the mountains in the background will stay with me for a very long time.

15 comments:

  1. Oh my sounds just like the Okanagan....where we are....well kind of now...Sicamous. People landscape their yards with lavender. Great reading as usual. Linda McGrath

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  2. Too funny! Maybe that farmer has been drinking too much sippy sippy and smoking up that other BC crop he grows on the back 40 ! The lavender is pretty pricey, looking at mine a lot differently now. Party crashers, that's very funny! Have a good one!

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  3. There's a lot of natural beauty within a few miles of your home. You and Jay picked a great spot to settle. If I forked over the $35, what could I then do with lavender???

    PS - good call on the cider. It didn't look right.

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  4. I don't know how much that lavender would have cost in pounds, but it sounds incredibly expensive to me!!! You could buy a whole row of plants I would think for that money and pick and dry your own. Glad that you had a nice time at the hop farm!! xx

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  5. Lavender is one of my favourite plants, the smell of lavender reminds me of my dad, who loved it. I remember seeing hops in the Czech Republic a long time ago, it is quite an impressive plant, isn't it?
    Glad you enjoyed a glass of beer :) Cx

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  6. I would never have taken you to be the gate crasher type Kristie :) definitely not your fault..the sign did say Open House...no fine print :). Love the lavender....but yes, it does sound expensive!

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  7. I think apple cider is usually a lot darker in color than that jug? Hmm, probably best to pass it up. I can't believe that guy, he sounds like a caricature of "country folks." I'd never seen hops growing and I think they're interesting from your photos. I didn't realize they got so tall!

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  8. The first time I saw hops growing was on a historical farm in Germany (so open to tourists). It made me think of kelp growing from the ocean floor and stretching up to the top of the water, the way it was strung up to the top of the long lines and reached for the sky... It has a definite other-worldly beauty to it.

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  9. I read to me this aloud to my husband and he said it sounded just the sort of thing that would happen to me too! Your pictures of the hops and the blue sky and the mountains in the background are wonderful.
    Thank you for words about Daisy they meant so much.
    Sarah x

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  10. Our hops, which are growing from rootstock we bought from a guy out your way, is growing well this year too.
    Wow, that lavender IS expensive. If I sold a couple of those little bundles I'd have enough money to buy a whole bunch more plants!
    Lavender buds are really nice mixed in with shortbread dough. I also mix equal quantities of lavender buds, spearmint, and black tea leaves for a really nice tea that is wonderful if you have a cold. Very soothing for a sore throat, especially.

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  11. I think the Lavender is so expensive because it's a pain to cut! And you have to catch them just at the right time. I have a few Lavender plants in my garden and every year I dither about leaving them for the garden or cutting them for the house. And it's always hot and humid, so I usually end up leaving them and then have to deadhead them anyway. That's funny about crashing the open house unwittingly. Did they ever find out you weren't growers? It sounds like a scene from a sitcom--like I Love Lucy--you standing there with a drink in your hand and realizing you'd crashed the party. :-)

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  12. We are considering growing hops here. A local brewer will actually pay for acceptable hops and wants them from growers in the area, so it's something to consider. I understand hops need a lot of room and there is a spot that might do the trick here. And aren't they just a beautiful plant?

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  13. The hop farm looks amazing, and no one should ever feel guilty about accepting a free drink.

    As for your lavender farmer, maybe it was a slip of the tongue? The info you've linked to does say inulin is useful in type 2 diabetes.

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  14. Love, love, love lavender, although that does seem rather pricey. Great gate-crashing story! x

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  15. A lovely post. You live in a wonderful place with so much beauty close at hand. Your first picture, with mountains, lavender and woodpile reminds me strongly of the south of France. The rows of hops on the other hand would seem very English without the mountains in the background. :)

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