The PA Lavender Festival & a Scone

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If you haven’t been to Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield, Pa., chances are good that you haven’t been lucky enough in your lifetime to walk through a field of organic lavender. Unless you’ve been to Provence, France, that is. But if France isn’t in your immediate budget, mark your calendar for June 8th or June 15th, 2013. Those are the dates this year when Willow Pond will open their doors and invite the public in for two days of mini-Lavender Festivals.

For the past 11 years, Willow Pond has hosted a huge Lavender Festival, but  it’s been scaled back to two Saturdays. You can still enjoy it though. Seriously. The moment you step into that lush field of lavender… gentle rolling hills in the background, it’s like you’ve been transported to another place. For a few dollars you can snip a bouquet of fresh lavender flowers or weave them into a small wreath. The smell fills the air – 75 varieties of organic lavender. There’s really nothing else like it. You can literally feel your worries evaporate as you meander through the fields.

Take home some of the magic of Willow Pond in the form of herbal teas, spice blends, jams & jellies, lotions & soaps, herbal sugars and more – they even have herb-based flea “collars” for your dog! The herbs and spices are so fresh and flavorful, you’ll never want the stuff in the plastic jars from the grocery store again. (Read on to see what we created with their divine culinary lavender.)

Like gardening? You’re in luck, because you can buy all manner of herbs and plants – organic – at Willow Pond. They sell many varieties of lavender, of course, but also sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley and every other culinary or medicinal herb you might want – even some fairly exotic ones! 

Spending the day at the Lavender Festival will make you slow down and truly enjoy the moment. There’s something ethereal about the entire place – the earthy food, the plants, the breeze filled with the fragrance of lavender…  You can sit by the pond all afternoon. You can wander the fields or the huge herb & flower garden. You can shop, get a massage or even take a short class on cooking with lavender. One thought though – if you are vegan – you may want to pack a small lunch. The Farm always offers vegetarian munchies – like lavender cheesecake or goat cheese sandwiches with roasted red peppers and lavender jelly – but we’ve never seen a vegan option in all the years we attended. You should try the lavender iced tea and lavender lemonade, though – they are refreshing and bright, with a touch of flowery lavender flavor.

We found these cute frogs there last summer and decided they had to come home to live in our garden. We didn’t disturb the real ones, of course.  🙂

If you want to attend, admission is free. Willow Pond Farm is at 145 Tract Road, Fairfield, PA 17320 and the two mini-Lavender Festivals will be from 9am to 5pm Saturday June 8th and Saturday June 15th. Tours and festival activities occur outdoors. Dress casually to walk around outside. Most of the festival’s activities are held within a manageable area for people with limited mobility. Pets are not allowed on the grounds, only service animals, however the event is family-friendly. (Can’t make it to the Festival? You can check out Willow Pond’s online store here. Spring for the culinary lavender. If nothing else, make lemonade with it. You won’t be sorry.)

And when you get home, these lovely lavender scones will make the day at Willow Pond last just a little longer… enjoy with a cup of tea.

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Lavender Scones

2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbl. baking powder

1 tsp.  salt

1/2 cup sugar

8 Tbl. Earth Balance, cold and cut into pieces

2/3 cup soy milk or soy creamer

1 Tbl. lemon zest

2 Tbl. culinary lavender flowers (Note: do not use lavender from potpourri – only culinary grade!)

Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking liner.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to mix Earth Balance into the dry ingredients. It will still be a little chunky with buttery pieces the size of peas when it’s all ready. Add in soy milk, lemon zest and lavender flowers. Gently stir until just incorporated. Do not overwork.

Drop scones from a spoon onto the baking sheet. Makes 12 large or 24 small scones.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Allow to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to cookie rack or devouring with your Earl Grey.

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