During the months of July, August and September, I'll be releasing 5 patterns on Ravelry (Little Pebble is available now) that use plant-based yarns. As an added bonus there will be blog posts regarding the use of plants in our lives, not just for knitting. Today, I introduce you to a lavender farmer from Idaho and an incredibly easy, sure to please cookie recipe. Enjoy!
A couple of weeks ago, I finished up my grading at the local coffee shop and was making my way over to the yarn store to work on a new project (surprise details this fall). The most direct path was to walk through the farmer's market. During the summer months in McCall, every Wednesday and Saturday a small collection of farmers sell their produce, meats, jams, and flowers. As I passed through the market the most heavenly scent filled my senses. I slowed my pace to assess where this delight might be. And there I discovered the sweetest market booth ever...lavender. Loads and loads of lavender. I purchased 3 tiny bouquets, exchanged a couple of words with the farmer and happily went on my way.
As I turned to leave I noticed out of the corner of my eye little bags of lavender for sale marked "culinary lavender." A-ha, I have been on the look-out for culinary lavender since last fall when Kate Davies published a recipe for lavender shortbread. I vowed to return so that I could make the shortbread this fall.
Last week, I stopped at the booth again, made my purchase and mentioned that I was making shortbread cookies. Debi, the lavender farmer said with a grin, I have a cookie recipe that will delight any one and it's very easy, want me to write it down for you? This seemed to open up the gateway for a long conversation. We exchanged emails and I said I would return. As I left with my culinary lavender and new recipe in hand I felt calm, peaceful and happy.
I love lavender. It reminds me of my mum. When I find lavender soap I buy it for her. When I think of lavender I think of France although I've never been. Lavender is peace.
The images above are from Debi's lavender farm, Long Dog Lavender in Emmett, ID. I asked Debi how she became a lavender farmer. Her response is below. Her story is beautiful, just like the lavender she grows.
In September of 2001, I went to a farmers market in Helena, Montana with my daughter Sara who was starting her 2nd year of college. We came to a booth selling dried lavender and my daughter said, "hey mom, let's get some lavender." I didn't really know anything about lavender except the scent in soap. I bought some and we left it in her apartment. We went shopping and came back to her apartment. When we stepped in, I was greeted with the most amazing heavenly scent. I was puzzled and asked Sara what smelled so good. She said it was the lavender. It gripped my soul...an Oprah ah ha moment. I wanted to grow it and sell it at a farmers market. I wanted to share what it did to me.
Starting in 2007, my husband and I planted out first 100 plants. I started selling it at the McCall Farmer's Market in 2008. It has gotten better every year with new products. I am so enriched by the people I meet. I really have examined my mind to decide if I want to do more with it. I don't. I love seeing the faces of the people who buy what I sell. I love hearing how it touches lives. I could tell you 10 different stories from each market. I love meeting people like you.
I realized this sweet boy was coming with his mom every market. She obviously gave him money to spend on lavender every market. I finally realized he came often and finally met my new 6 1/2 year old friend. His mom says he has focus problems and lavender is something he LOVES.
My new friend Suz has bought about 15 dachshund neck pillows for gifts after she received one last summer. She tells me who gets them and their reactions. I had a precious lady who got an eye pillow for her friend who is dying. She came by the next market just to tell me her friend has received much comfort from this and asks her to cool it for her at each visit.
I had another lady who came with her daughter. She was French and proceeded to tell me how they would pick wild lavender in her childhood and make lavender wands. I sent her off with a bundle and ribbons. I overheard her daughter telling her "see! I told you that you would want to come to the market!".
I could go on and on but I know what it does for me. I thought I would get tired of it but so far, I fall more in love with lavender with each summer. My wonderful husband passed away in 2003 from cancer and before he passed, I told him I was going to plant the field in lavender. He said that I should. In 2006, I went to the Sequim Lavender Festival and a conference that followed. Three weeks later, I met my current husband and we were married in February of 2007. He has helped me with my dream every step of the way.
I have a feeling this is way more information than you wanted but I cannot express even here what it means. It brings indescribable joy into my life. God has guided me through some pretty dark times including my own bout with stage 3 rectal cancer in 2010. I live with a permanent colostomy. It is not even a small issue because it means I do not have cancer. My husband, John and I are so over the top happy. I also work as an RN at St. Lukes Hospital in Boise 2 days every week.
Sorry, for all the info but it is all part of my story. I really never expected to write so much but it just poured out of me. I'm eager for more people to learn about the joy of lavender. Our mission statement is to spread happiness.
Debi, Long Dog Lavender, Emmett, ID
Here is the cookie recipe, it's SO easy and it is a show-stopper. The cookies are very simple looking, just like lavender but the flavor is calming, zesty, and sophisticated. Enjoy.
Debi's lavender-lemon sugar cookies
- I bag Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
- the zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon (I only used half the lemon)
- 1 tsp culinary lavender
- powdered sugar
Follow the directions to make the cookies, mix in the zest of the lemon and the lavender. Bake the cookies per the instructions on the package. Let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes before glazing.
Mix together the sugar and the lemon juice (I just added some sugar and then the juice until I ended up with a glaze I liked). Add the glaze to the top of each cookie.
Oh my gosh! Everyone in my family LOVES these cookies and they are so simple.
If you want to purchase a bag of culinary lavender you can contact Debi at email@example.com
Lavender, who knew it could mean so much. I hope you are able to find some lavender during these crazy times to bring a little peace and happiness into your day.
Happy knitting, walking AND eating lavender-lemon sugar cookies!