The 9th Annual Lavender Festival will be held Memorial Day Weekend at Lavender Ridge Farms outside of Gainesville.
May 23, 2017
Lavender lovers, here's an event for you. Memorial Day weekend, acres of lavender will paint the landscape purple and fill the air with fragrance during the 9th Annual Lavender Festival in Gainesville. Attendees can visit the lavender-themed gift shop, enjoy a lavender-inspired lunch and cut their own lavender bouquets directly from the field where it's grown.
Set for May 27-29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on at Lavender Ridge Farms at 2391 CR 178 about 8 miles east of Gainesville, the event will feature arts and crafts vendors, food purveyors and wine tastings.
Attendees can cut their own lavender bouquets.
“The festival is a great time to come out and visit," says Jane Dane, coowner of Lavender Ridge Farms and organizer of the festival. "We have 50 to 60 vendors with everything from antiques and art to hand crafted items.”
Handed down from each generation, the land where the farm was established remains in the hands of the family who settled in the area back in the mid 1800s; Dane and her brother Jerry Ware are the current owners who decided years ago to leave their corporate jobs, return to the family farm and enjoy a life far from the urban environment.
“This is family land and has been in the Ware family for over 160 years. Originally a strawberry and melon farm in the 1920s and 1930s, it was leased out for cattle for years until we decided to revive the farm and grow lavender,” says Dane.
Handmade lavender soap from Lavender Ridge Farms.
“We opened for cut-your-own lavender in 2006. We have a two-acre field of lavender for folks to come out and cut their own bouquet to take home. We also have over 1,100 varieties of iris to look at and order rhizomes for your own use in your garden. We also have butterfly gardens and many fun animals to see.”
Producing beautiful purple, blooms and a strong floral scent, lavender has been cultivated for more than two thousand years. And although Gainesville is far from the flower’s Mediterranean origin, the climate and alkaline soils of Texas have turned out to be suitable for the multitasking herb that’s useful for everything from perfuming soaps and linens, to flavoring foods.
“We’ve tried them all,” says Dane about growing typical farm crops but deciding to venture into the floral market. “We’ve grown strawberries as a crop and also veggies but decided to stick with flowers. Lavender is our love.”
Lavender Ridge Farms features a lavender-inspired cafe.
As to farming practices, Dane says she keeps the use of conventional agricultural products to a minimum.
“The farm is not organic but we try to only use pesticides and herbicides only when necessary. We don’t put anything on the lavender plants. They don’t need it. If we do use fertilizer on them it’s fish emulsion-based. Insects naturally don’t like the taste of lavender. We do spray for weeds around them though.”
In addition to the lavender, the operation also grows scented geraniums, zinnias, herbs and wildflowers. A cafe with a screened-in patio offers a chance to sample the culinary uses of lavender, such as lavender cheesecake and lavender lemonade, while watching hummingbirds feeding from feeders surrounding the cafe.
The festival is set to coincide with the first lavender blooms of the season, and guests are welcome throughout the summer.
About: Ninth annual festival featuring vendors, crafts and food on lavendar farm.
Hosted by: Lavendar Ridge Farms
When: May 27-29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: 2391 CR 178, about 8 miles east of Gainesville