The Willamette Valley Lavender Festival was a treat for the senses with fields of purples and a range of fragrances.
The two-day event (the second weekend in July each year) included more than a dozen lavender farms near Portland that were open to the public.
At Mountainside Lavender Farm, the fields of lavender stretched for acres, with views of Mount Hood and the Coast Range on a clear day.
The farm had more than 20 varieties of lavender. A nametag at the end of each row of lavender enabled those collecting lavender to find the variety they wanted.
Customers were given scissors for cutting the lavender and a basket to collect the lavender. Care must be used in cutting the lavender stems, as the blooming lavender was filled with bees.
Our favorite lavender was the Grosso, a very fragrant French lavender.
We learned that the kind of lavender makes a real difference. Some lavender is very fragrant, but not all varieties.
Barn Owl Nursery had a gift shop that displayed a wide range of products made from different varieties of lavender, including bath and body products, lavender tea blends, lavender essential oils (made with a lavender still), and lavender culinary items. Bunches of cut lavender hung on the rafters in the drying room.
We were planning a trip to Portland to visit friends, and the lavender festival helped us decide when to make the trip. The lavender festival was a scenic, fragrant and peaceful experience.