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Lida Lafferty, author of "Spike It with Lavender"

Lida Lafferty, Author of Spike it with Lavender: Recipes for Living

The charming book,  Spike It with Lavender: Recipes for Living by Lida Lafferty, offers many creative ways to use lavender. The book presents a collection of ideas and recipes for drinks, savories, sweets and even household items such as lavender dryer bags and lavender mist.

I find many reasons to praise this book and rejoice in its genesis. Lafferty, a speech pathologist living in western Colorado, never intended to grow lavender. She certainly couldn’t have guessed that she would ever create a lavender recipe book.

Honeybees sparked Lafferty’s interest in lavender. In 2008 she worried about her honeybees and wanted to give them a healthy and abundant food source. From Colorado State University’s Extension office, she learned that honeybees thrive on sage, yarrow and lavender. Lafferty was already growing sage and yarrow on her 2 ½ acres in Grand Junction. For the sake of her bees, she put in 75 lavender plants and added more the next season.

Honeybees Thrive on Sage

Honeybees Thrive on Sage

All summer Lafferty’s lavender filled her fields with fragrant purple blossoms. Her honeybees hovered over the flowers, foraging for pollen. One day Lafferty was harvesting lavender. Everywhere she looked, she saw honeybees enjoying the magnificent flowers. Lafferty felt guilty about taking away the bees’ food. She found herself talking to them, saying, “Okay ladies, half of this lavender belongs to you, I get the rest.” Lavender had become a character in her story.

Yarrow Attracts Bees

Yarrow Attracts Bees

Lafferty joined the Lavender Association of Western Colorado. Colorado’s arid climate, high altitude and alkaline soil gives the herb everything it desires. Farmers planted lavender as a cash crop. It adds to income from cherries, peaches and wine grapes.

Lavender: A Treat for Honeybees

Lavender: A Treat for Honeybees

When Lafferty met with other lavender growers, the conversation buzzed about their dream of a lavender celebration. Some had attended the Sequim Lavender Festival. They were excited and eager for a gathering in Colorado. Lafferty tossed out her idea. “I think it’d be great if we had our own association cookbook which would be an ideal ‘take-home’ item for festival attendees.”

The association published Lafferty’s book in 2011. Spike It with Lavender: Recipes for Living contains a collection of recipes. Well-known chefs, lavender growers and talented home cooks contributed recipes. This approach yielded diversity; each recipe reflects the creator’s experience and personality.

Professional chefs relied on their culinary training and skill in pairing flavors and textures, however some had not yet discovered lavender as a culinary ingredient. Lafferty sent them lavender honey and lavender buds. She asked them to experiment with it and contribute their recipes. Lafferty converted these chefs from skeptics to believers. Their recipes showcase tasty ways to use lavender.

Growers with years of experience using lavender generously gave many recipes to this book. From this group, special mention goes to Roxi Lane from Dayspring Farm for sharing her “top secret creations” such as Dayspring Farm Lavender Espresso Brownies. Also Paolo Legarre’s Sage Creations Lip Balm stands out for its simplicity.

From talented home cooks, the book gives us family favorites that have been perfected over generations. These range from Gram Jane Molasses Cake with Lavender contributed by Julie Zahniser (in honor of her mother) to Sheila’s Herb Chicken Stew contributed by Nancy Lofholm.

Amy Nuernberg created the book’s artistic cover and tabs. Artist Susan Metzger contributed her batik design along with original art and local photographs. These work well with Lafferty’s clever idea to use a ring-binder for easy reference while cooking and to enable expansion.  The 2012 recipe collection has recently become available. She’s now collecting recipes for the 2013 edition.  If you want to contribute one of your recipes, you can find her submittal guidelines on the Lavender Association’s website. March 31, 2013 is the last day for submittal.

Bound in a Three-ring Binder, the Book Expands with New Recipes Each Year.

Bound in a Three-ring Binder, the Book Expands with New Recipes Each Year.

Another helpful feature of this book informs readers of the wide range of lavender varieties, each with their own flavor and fragrance profile. Some are sweet, others spicy; some are subtle, others bold.

For culinary use, Lafferty recommends English Lavender which comes in hundreds of varieties. Because many recipes in the book specify certain varieties such as Miss Katherine, Folgate or Croxton’s Wild, readers discover many flavor choices.

Lavender Varieties Each with their Own Flavor

Lavender Varieties Each with their Own Flavor

Kathy Kimbrough, founder and past president of the Lavender Association of Western Colorado, said, “What I like best about this book is that it’s accessible and affordable.”

Kimbrough added, “The book has been great for our association. It educates people who are just discovering lavender as a culinary herb, increases the sales of culinary lavender, and provides us with an ongoing revenue stream.”

When the association held their first lavender festival in 2011, Lafferty’s suggestion came to fruition. Many festival attendees went home with a copy of Spike It with Lavender. The 2012 festival attracted about 2000 people. The 3rd festival is scheduled for July 12-14, 2013.

Spike It with Lavender: Recipes for Living

Spike It with Lavender: Recipes for Living

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, why not give your favorite foodie a unique gift? Spike it with Lavender: Recipes for Living!  And if your Valentine likes sweet treats, but not cooking, give him or her CakeLove Chewy Cookies, one of Lafferty’s favorite recipes. Put them in a fancy package tied with a red bow and include your own love note. And when you pop the question, “Please be my Valentine?” the answer will be “yes.”

For Love & Romance, Bake CakeLove Cookies for your Sweetie!

For Love & Romance, Bake CakeLove Cookies for your Sweetie!

 

CakeLove Chewy Cookies

Re-printed here with permission from Lida Lafferty, author of “Spike It with Lavender: Recipes for Living

Bake these on parchment lined cookie sheet to the point where the dough won’t give when you poke them. Choose from a few choices of mix-ins to get your favorite flavor, or customize by mixing and matching. I love the warmth you get from the honey and the pretty bouquet that comes from the lavender. Enjoy!   ~Warren Brown, founder of CakeLove and Love Cafe

 

¼ cup Lavender infused Honey*

½ cup superfine or plain granulated sugar

½ cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 tsp. lemon zest

3 oz. unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1 (optional) egg yolk

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

Flavor Mix-ins:

½ cup whole rolled oats

½ cup candied ginger pieces

Or

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup pecan pieces or almond slices

Or

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup almond slices

¼ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 to 315 °F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.

*Note: To make Lavender-Infused Honey, combine ¼ cup to 1/3 cup dried lavender buds and 1 cup honey in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let stand, turning the jar upside down periodically. After a week, discard lavender buds by filtering through a sieve. It’s now ready to use.

Mix honey, sugars and zest in stand mixer fitted with flat paddle. Slowly add in melted butter and vanilla extract. Add in egg and yolk. Stir to combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon, and then add to mixer. Add mix-in of your choosing and stir until combined. The dough should come off the side of the bowl and barely feel tacky. Add a touch more flour if it’s very sticky.

Scoop out the dough with a trigger ice-cream scooper. Lightly press to flatten to ¼” to ½”. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, remove from oven to cool and serve warm.

Store any leftover dough in an airtight container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Warren says there’s a fair amount of tolerance in the recipe to withstand variance in the art of mixing and atmospheric conditions (temperature and pressure).

So here’s what you need to know. It’s soft, not crispy, because of the honey. It’s chewy! No worries about altitude adjustments. It’s scrumptious, one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. 

Make them after school with your children, after work, or at midnight. Linger with good talk, a glass of milk, and this good cookie.

Thanks to Warren Brown of CakeLove, Washington, DC area.     ~Lida Lafferty


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Thirty thousand people flocked to the lavender fields last July during Sequim’s lavender festival. This summer, lavender takes the stage once more to star in Sequim’s festivities July 15-17. Two groups, each with a passion for lavender, are busy as bees buzzing around a lavender field, doing everything possible to make this year’s lavender weekend the best in the festival’s 15-year history.

 Last January, the group that plans and presents the Sequim Lavender Festival split into two groups. The Sequim Gazette reported that “Philosophical and administrative differences within the Sequim Lavender Growers Association led 11 farms and founders to leave the organization.” The farmers who left the group wanted to focus on the farming aspect of lavender, so they formed a new association called the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association. Each group is planning lavender celebrations during this summer’s lavender weekend. The “growers” will host the Sequim Lavender Festival and the “farmers” will present the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire. For lavender fans, this means two farm tours, two community fairs and twice the fun.

To find out what’s happening during this year’s events, I spoke with Mary Jendrucko, Executive Director of the Sequim Lavender Growers Association and also with Scott Nagel, Executive Director of the newly created Sequim Lavender Farmers Association. Jendrucko and Nagel have both been part of Sequim’s lavender festivities for many years.

Sequim Lavender Festival (The growers’ event)

"Mona" winning poster art for Sequim Lavender Growers 2011 Contest

Sequim Lavender Festival selects 2011 Poster Art "Mona" created by Chris Witkowski

This festival offers a tour of seven small farms in the Dungeness valley along with a festive Street Fair in downtown Sequim. The free self-guided Farm Tour is billed as a U-Tour, meaning you get a map and drive to the farms. Each farm will offer U-Pick lavender. You will experience the aroma of  lavender, see gazebos in the middle of a purple field and browse in charming gift shops. “For anyone considering small-scale farming, this is a great opportunity to see firsthand what works and visit with the people who make it work,” Jendrucko said. The farms open to the public are:

Blackberry Forest

Martha Lane Lavender

Oliver’s Lavender Farm

Nelson’s Duck Pond

Lost Mountain Lavender

Peninsula Nurseries

The Lavender Connection

Ed Hume, a northwest gardening celebrity, will kick off the festival at the Street Fair Friday July 15.  On Fir Street between Sequim and Third Avenue, 150 vendors will sell lavender and lavender products. Thirteen members of the Sequim Lavender Growers Association will be selling their lavender products at the Street Fair. The colorful booths will line the street with products such as hand-crafted jewelry created by Rockin Rocks jewelry or lavender-scented dog bandanas created by The Sequim Lavender Company.This event showcases Northwest juried artisans and their craftsmanship. A quilt donated by the Sunbonnet Sue Club will be raffled off. You can buy a raffle ticket at the Sequim Lavender Growers Association booth at the street fair. The proceeds of the raffle go to the Sequim High School scholarship fund.

A food court serving wine, beer and international cuisine will be a lively spot for a lunch break or snack. Local wines and beer are featured and this summer you can buy a Sequim Lavender Festival wine glass filled with Lavender Wine!  Live music adds to the jovial atmosphere with Pearl DJango, a gypsy jazz band, performing at the Street Fair on Friday evening.

Buses will shuttle people to and from the free parking sites to the Street Fair.

Sequim Lavender Farm Faire (The Farmers’ Event)

Sequim Lavender Farmers 2011 Wining Poster Art

Sequim Lavender Farm Faire Announces 2011 Poster Art "Lavender Fields, Forever" by Patricia Taynton

The classic Lavender Farm Tour and Lavender in the Park headline the NEW Sequim Lavender Farm Faire. The Lavender Farm Tour takes you to six farms, each with its own food, demonstrations, crafts, music and, of course, fields of lavender. “Meet the Farmer” takes place every day at 1 p.m. at each farm. The farmer will answer questions about growing lavender and guide you through the fields. They will share their techniques for growing, harvesting, drying and using lavender. Demonstrations will show how to distill lavender oil and how lavender can add an exotic taste to food. Culinary lavender will be featured on Sunday, July 17, Each of the six farms have arranged for demonstrations showing culinary techniques for using lavender.

The six farms in this tour are famous for their exquisite beauty:

Cedarbrook Lavender & Herb Farm

Olympic Lavender Farm

Port Williams Lavender

Purple Haze Lavender Farm

Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm

Washington Lavender (making its début on the tour)

Farm Tour hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tickets give you unlimited access and free parking at the farms throughout the weekend and a free shuttle from Carrie Blake Park (the venue for Lavender in the Park).  

  • Advance tickets for the Farm Tour are $10 at the farms, local ticket outlets, and online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/162027.

  •  Advance tickets may be purchased until 6pm Thursday July 14th either online or at many ticket outlets in Sequim and Port Angeles. All Things Lavender in the Pike Place Market will  also  sell tickets for the Farm Tour.
  • Ticket sold during the festival weekend are $15 per person. Military personnel and their dependents pay $10 per person. Children 12 and under are free.
  • If you get your “passport” stamped at three or more farms plus Lavender in the Park, you can enter a drawing for prizes such as an overnight stay, gift basket or gift certificate from local stores.

Lavender in the Park, the newest part of the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire, will be located at the beautiful Carrie Blake Park. Admission is free.

More than 150 booths including food, crafts, nonprofit organizations and agricultural programs will be set up in the park. Check out these  presentations:  

  •  TheNorthwest Raptor Center will have their “Ambassador Birds” (birds who have been rescued and rehabilitated).
  •  There is plenty of parking on-site ($2 donation per car as a fundraiser for the Sequim High School Band) and then the Farm Tour buses that take ticket holders to the farms.
  •  Artists, photographers, glass makers and other artisans will display their work. One of the unique items for sale is Moosedream Lavender Farm’s Full Moon Dog Shampoo, advertised as an herbal concoction for dogs who want to smell as good as they look!  Other special treats such as lavender pillows, jewelry and glass etchings will be available. 

Carrie Blake Park with spacious lawns and lovely gardens will provide a relaxing and open area for the entire family. This location will be the hub for the buses connecting the Lavender Farm Tour and the people who come to visit from around the world.

Music at the James Center for the Performing Arts [band shell and amphitheater] will feature evening concerts from a Beatles Tribute band, Crème Tangerine, on Friday, and “Stompin’ at the Park” with Cort Armstrong and the Blue Rooster Band on Saturday.

Spend a Weekend in Sunny Sequim

Discover Cooking with Lavender

Discover Cooking with Lavender

Mark your calendar for the third weekend in July and get ready for a weekend where there is something for everyone. Sequim, located on the Olympic Peninsula, has many regional attractions such as Bird Walk in Railroad Bridge Park, Sequim Art studio Tour and Olympic Peninsula Wineries Tour.

My book, Discover Cooking with Lavender, will be available at the Monte Vista Medicinal Herb Farm’s Booth at the Street Fair, at Olympic Lavender Farm, Purple Haze and Washington Lavender. You can also find my book at Lavender and Lace Gift Boutiquein Sequim and at All Things Lavender at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and at the Made In Washington Stores  in the Seattle area.

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