Seven Oaks Lavender Farm

Summer is lavender season to me – lavender and lemon verbena candles, lavender shortbread, fizzy ginger lavender lemonade, sprays of lavender tucked into just about every bouquet for a little bit of on the spot tranquility aromatherapy. We always pick up a bunch at our farmer’s market and have been looking for spaces to work some billowing lavender bushes into our landscaping plan {we’ve decided that next year’s big project at the Big Brick House is a total landscaping overhaul}.

So when we found out there was a lavender farm only about 45 minutes away from us, we had to go check it out. The Summer Bloom Festival at the beginning of July was the perfect occasion for us to go explore Seven Oaks Lavender Farm – and get out of the house to explore, because frankly, we’re both feeling totally housebound at this point. We figured that spending a morning walking among the lavender bushes would be both a fun little adventure and wonderfully calming!

Seven Oaks is a beautiful little family owned lavender farm in Catlett, Virginia, which lies just about due west from Woodbridge, in Fauquier County. The farm consists of the original farmhouse built in 1860, now renovated, a lovely shop with most of the products made on property or from the lavender grown on property, and, of course, acres of lavender.

Most of the lavender plants on the farm are English lavender and lavandin, a hybrid of English lavender and many other lavenders. The true French lavender that you see all over Provence isn’t grown at the farm, but it definitely inspired the owners to grow lavender. The differences lie in the blooming period, primarily, but if you’re someone like me who loves to cook with lavender, you pay attention to the types.

Not all lavender is created equal when it comes to cooking. Lavender is a member of the mint family, but I personally don’t like the minty varieties. I prefer a sweet bloom to get the subtle citrusy sweet flavor lavender can provide. You then take those blooms, snip them close to the stem, dry them, and then dry roast them to improve the texture.

Provence lavender {actually a lavandin, not French lavender} is the most common variety used in cooking, and one you usually find in French spice blends like Herbes de Provence. Sweet lavenders, such as Munstead and narrow-leaf English lavender, are delicious, too. The culinary lavender sold at Seven Oaks is a hybrid blend of English lavender and Provence lavender, and I can’t wait to try it out!

Here are a few ways you can use lavender at home:

  • For a sweet and delicate citrusy flavor in lemonades, teas, and cocktails
  • For a sweet and calming scent in light summery baked goods such as shortbread
  • For fragrant and calming sachets tucked into drawers or into a pillow
  • Adding a pop of color and a sweet scent to bouquets and gifts
  • Mosquito, ant, and tick repellant
  • Great source of food for pollinators {we love our bees!}
  • Purported to be soothing for stress and good for promoting sleep

The Summer Bloom Festival kicked off at 9am, and we were there bright and early to beat the heat. There were food trucks and an ice cream truck on site to sell goodies to the crowd, and plenty of lavender shortbread to go around – but we made the mistake of eating before we left and had no appetite! However, we did spend some time at the crafting tables, making lavender sachets and soaps, and wandered into the shop to pick up some candles and culinary lavender for the shop. With the house all closed up against the heat, it’s lovely to have both fresh blooms and scented candles to clear out some of the mustiness!

Peak lavender season is usually between mid-June and mid-July here in Virginia, so we might be able to get out to the farm when the plants are in full bloom a little later this summer. All the rain we had in May and June slowed the blooms down. No complaints, because until the last week or so, it also kept the heat down. Because of the heat, we’d recommend visiting the farm in the morning instead of later in the day!

Seven Oaks Lavender Farm

  • 8769 Old Dumfries Road, Catlett VA 20119
  • Open daily to the public June 1-July 22, 9am-4pm
  • Adults: $7, Children: $5 admission to the farm
  • Pick your own lavender offered at 15 cents a stem
  • The farm sells cupcakes, cookies, tea, and lemonade on site, but you are welcome to bring your own picnic and drinks as long as you pack out your trash and leftovers!
  • For more information, call 540-272-7839 or click here.

Hopefully this summer I’ll get around to making and sharing some lavender recipes and DIY projects with you guys!

What are your favorite uses for lavender, culinary or otherwise?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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