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Purple Haze Lavender

The livelihood of a Washington State man depends on the fragrance of a purple flower
Photo courtesy of purplehazelavender.com

Mike Reichner spent 18-years as a Washington State park ranger. When he decided it was time to leave that career and put down some roots, he bought land near Sequim, Washington. The farm boy in him wanted to grow something. Because of the climate, Mike and had a hunch that the best roots for the area would come from lavender plants. He was right – Purple Haze Lavender Farm brings thousands of visitors.

Mike says their land is an expansive display of about 40 different lavender varieties. Twelve of those varieties are used for their product line and culinary uses.

"About half of those are true English, and that’s the ones that we primarily use for our culinary products – mustards, marinades, salad dressings, and chocolate bars and coffee, and so on and so forth," says Mike. "The other half-a-dozen or so varieties are hybrids or intermediates. And those are the ones that we use for the body care products that we make. They have more of a medicinal, camphorus fragrance to them."

Visitors to the farm are encouraged to wander in the lavender fields and cut their own bunches, if they wish.  Mike says when lavender is being harvested to make the farm’s products, on-lookers will have as much fun watching it being cut, as smelling it.

"One man harvests every single plant with a one-foot serrated sickle. One guy. He can walk along the row almost at walking speed cutting this lavender, and then he hands it to a crew of people that walk behind him bundling it up or throwing it in big cans to dump into the distillation plant. He is a magical man when he walks down that row," says Mike.

The farm has become a destination for weddings, vacations, and a chance to connect with agriculture. All thanks to a purple, fragrant flower.

Learn more about the Purple Haze Lavender farm

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