Harvesting Lavender

Aromatherapy In Naramata

I have always held a romantic vision of participating in a lavender harvest. Lucky for me, my friends Karolina and Doug own Forest Green Man Lavender Farm in Naramata, and my wish was granted. It was as splendid as I had imagined, a sensory overload of purpley sights and smells, sunshine, big straw hats, intelligent and fun loving banter with co-workers and even leaping dogs...it was magical. However, after a couple of hours, the thrill of being inside this French-like movie set will slightly dim -- this is still farm work, and it is hard slogging in the heat bent over the rows. Bonus is that you are semi-stoned by the calming natural perfumed aroma and that your sweat smells lovely - yay!

It was fun to harvest alongside one of my Food & Wine Trails Magazine writers and local blogger, Elaine Davidson, who captured this wonderful photo of my experience. Unlike my pitiful three hour shift under the sun, Elaine and her husband were there for three or four days from 6 am to noon cutting bundles. High fives to them and to Doug and Karolina who do this every year. Read more about Elaine's lavender picking experience and her other adventures on her blog: http://naramatablendblog.wordpress.com

Doug was leading the harvest and explained the art of lavender bundling to me, as well as providing details on the growth cycle of the plant all done, of course, with his usual hilarious wit and candor. I have attached that clip below (scroll down past the photos). Unfortunately my lovely pal Karolina was nursing a wrist injury from another power shift extracting the flowers from the stems so we had to force her back into the shop to try and rest. 

Thank you for the lovely experience Doug & Karolina! Another check mark on my life bucket list. XO

Do plan to visit them on the farm. Karolina is also a beautiful artist and has a lovely art gallery upstairs from the treasure loaded gift shop. forestgreenman.com

Photo credit: Elaine Davidson, Naramatablend blog

Photo credit: Elaine Davidson, Naramatablend blog


The Small lot Wine & Cheese Makers- by the sea

Just back from another whirlwind weekend trip to the Coast! I am the co-organizer of Garagiste North- a wine festival and wine club that specializes in BC small lot (under 2000 case production) wines. Saturday afternoon we held our 2nd Garagiste North Wine Festival at WISE Hall in East Van. Our inaugural festival was held last year at Meyer Family Vineyards in OK Falls. Our foray into Vancouver was a great success and we are looking forward to our next event this year at The Laurel in Kelowna on September 27th. Garagiste North - Small Guys Festival

Besides the Festival, I had two final photo appointments scheduled for the cookbook – one of Chef Andrea Jefferson’s delicious Quince Cake (that I also got to eat - AH-MAZING!) and one of award-winning cheesemaker Debra Amrein-Boyes at her beautiful farm and cheese shop in Agassiz, Farm House Cheese . The farm is located in the District of Kent in the Upper Fraser Valley of BC’s southwest coastal region. This part Fraser Valley’s dynamic farm community offers spectacular views of the green fields and surrounding mountains. Located close to the natural hot springs resort of Harrison Hot Springs, the region boasts: “Steep canyon-like walls along the Harrison River, the heights and crags of Mt. Woodside and Green Mountain and spectacular views of the Cheam Mountain range along the south side of the Fraser River offer spectacular vistas and topographic relief from the vast expanses of our productive farmlands.” (from The District of Kent website).

This is a world-class cheesemaking operation. Debra is one of only 12 people in Western Canada and the US who has been inducted into the prestigious French Cheese Guild, the “Guilde des Fromagers Confrerie de Saint-Uguzon” , which recognizes those who protect and continue the tradition of cheesemaking around the world. She has also written a book for home cheesemakers called “200 Easy Homemade Cheeses recipes-From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt”. Congratulations are in order as well as she just won Best Aged Cheddar Cheese for the 2nd year in a row!!

Chef Andrea Jefferson owns Quince, a bright café and cooking school in Vancouver’s beautiful Kits area. With lunch offerings on the menu, all home made and using the best ingredients, she also offers a freezer section with delicious take home dinner options called “Quince Express”. Chef Andrea’s cooking classes are fun and unpretentious, which is why she won a Georgia Straight Best of Vancouver award for Top Places for Casual Cooking Classes. She also offers a delicious mini gourmet shop with supplies for your home kitchen.

Andrea gave me the most delicious sandwich to go – smoked wild sockeye salmon with capers, marinated red onion, cucumber and mayo on house made flax bread. YOM! Can’t wait to go back for another!


Debra Amrein-Boyes, award-winning cheese maker from Farmhouse Cheese.

Debra Amrein-Boyes, award-winning cheese maker from Farmhouse Cheese.

Chef Andrea drizzling caramel sauce over her delicious Quince Cake! Recipe in By The Sea :)

Chef Andrea drizzling caramel sauce over her delicious Quince Cake! Recipe in By The Sea :)