I’ve always loved the scent of lavender, which is one of the reasons I so enjoy the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival. It’s a sensory overload of smell, sight and, yes, even taste. Fragrance fills the air and honeybees dance among the flowers, as visitors relax and stroll along the beautiful rows of Lavandula.
Located at Lockwood Lavender Farm in Skaneateles, this year on July 11 and 12, owners Gary and Karen Lockwood open their farm each year for the free two-day event. “It’s all about the sharing,” said Karen. “We want to show our visitors farming in the Finger Lakes and what we do here.” Gary is the fifth generation of his family on the farm, while Karen is a city girl who learned to love the lifestyle.
The obvious draw is, of course, the lavender. Visitors can pick their own bouquet, visit the drying barn to learn all about the lavender, and taste some lavender treats. Certain varieties are for culinary use, and samples are available. When I saw the line at the ice cream booth, I joined in to try the lavender ice cream. Light, sweet and so refreshing, it was totally delicious! I bought some lavender cookies for later, and then wandered through the booths featuring local artisans.
There are plenty of speakers and demonstrations throughout the weekend. I especially enjoyed the distilling demonstration, which showed how the copper still is used to produce lavender oil. Visitors can watch sheep shearing and wool spinning, or see a farrier at work. This year’s guest speakers include a chef who will discuss the use of herbs, and a veterinarian who uses acupuncture in addition to traditional medicine to treat animal patients.
Plan your own visit this July to the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival. Make sure to taste some treats, pick some lavender and enjoy a relaxing day on a Finger Lakes farm.
story and photos by Cindy Ruggieri