Thursday, July 21, 2011
I had a great weekend at the Lavender Association of Western Colorado's first annual Lavender Festival in Palisade Colorado, about a 4.5 hour drive for us over the mountains of Colorado. Speakers at this conference included Sarah Bader, a well known lavender grower at Stonegate Farm in Oregon; Barbara Lucks, an aromatherapist; Dr. Curtis Swift, from CSU Extension Service and myself, talking on Herbal Extracts and Distillates. All the talks were well attended and all were enthusiastic about lavender; and I for one learned alot! Katherine Kimbrough, president of the LAWC along with Dr. Swift have gone a long way in promoting lavender as a crop in Western Colorado and many growers have gravitated to it. Lavender loves the hot, dry conditions and even the high elevation of Colorado. On Sunday we visited some farms and saw some of the research going on such as looking at growing lavender under partial shade between rows of grapes or fruit trees; two other big crops in Western Colorado.
There were many vendors at the festival selling lots of lavender but also skin care, stone bird baths and more. We were selling our Colorado Aromatics brand of skin care too which did quite well. I came away with a few things including a lavender festival T-shirt, poster and lavender cookbook.
It was fun being in Western Colorado again; we lived there in 1997-98 and tried unsuccessfully to grow lavender. We enjoyed one of our favorites hikes in the National Monument to Devil's Kitchen over the weekend as well. I'm looking forward to next years Festival but also have thoughts of starting a Front Range Lavender Association since there are also many growers on my side of the mountain!