Earlier this summer, the Blue Willow Lavender Farm off Wright Bliss Road on the Key Peninsula staged its annual Lavender Festival. The thoroughly delightful, well-attended event included free how-to classes with lavender, games for children, vendors with a plethora of offerings and an excellent BBQ lunch for those needing sustenance.
Tracy Ketts, owner-operator of the farm explained, “My husband Bill and I, being transplants from California, began the farm in 2008. Our first planting was 800 plants. We slowly worked our way to planting 4,000 lavender plants in 15 fields and opened our lavender store in the summer of 2009. We’ve had an annual lavender festival for five years.”
Visitor Joanna Clifton, who attended the festival with her 2-year-old daughter, Hadassah, said, “The first thing she said when we got there was ‘Can I pet the bees?”
“Hadassah loved it there,” said her mom. “My whole family does. We’ve gone every year since year one. This is the first year we came only as guests, though. In the past we popped kettle corn as an event vendor.”
Blue Willow Lavender Farm will be 2015’s Farm Tour center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 3, featuring live music from the Blue Grass Minstrels and Dr. Roes’ Down Home band. There will be food for purchase as well as vendors.
“Our festival this year brought 1,400 visitors,” Ketts said. “We pride ourselves on being a teaching farm, arming people with knowledge about lavender. We hold several events on the farm including a Mother’s Day spring garden party, classes about caring for lavender, even wreath classes. We’re open April through August, Tuesday through Saturday. We sell lavender plants and have a U-pick field available for those who like to pick their own bouquets.”
Sil Underwood and family attended the Lavender Festival.
“From the moment I stepped from our car I was treated to the heavenly scent of lavender,” Underwood said. “Tracy, the owner, does an amazing job of creating a little piece of heaven right here on Key Peninsula.”
Underwood and her husband spent three hours enjoying the festivities.
“I’m excited to try the new lavender recipes I learned,” she said. “My husband enjoyed the bee talk and our 3-year-old son, Aedan, enjoyed playing games and blowing bubbles. We were delighted to try the lavender brownies, which are delicious. We couldn’t leave without buying six new lavender plants. A perfect day spent with family enjoying a beautiful place right here in Key Peninsula.”
“On our farm, we always have produce for sale, a carved pumpkin wall and a lavender Barbie hospital,” Ketts said. “We also have lavender de-budding demos and lavender harvesting demos and a free U-Pick day on the farm. The Lavender store has bath and body products and food products with lavender in them.”