You can see lavender blooming everywhere now. I've long been seduced by the fragrance of this intoxicating flower, but I only started cooking with it in the past few years, since I've known Kathy Gehrt--lavender expert and enthusiast.
Here is the first lavender for sale at Mair Farm-Taki at the market last weekend. But before you buy lavender to cook with, you should ask whether it's a culinary variety. Some types of lavender are too strong for food and end up imparting a soapy flavor. I had that I-just-ate-a-bar-of-soap experience with a Popsicle I actually finished last summer at a farmers' market. I could tell they hadn't used a culinary lavender variety. It's definitely not the flavor you want when you use lavender.
You can often find plant starts for lavender at farmers' markets. One big surprise for me was how many lavender farms and festivals there are across the world. Lavender's magic is definitely contagious.
This is Kathy teaching an herb container class at Sky Nursery. Check out my interview with Kathy about self publishing on my other blog.
I think my Cooking Assistant is seduced by the berries not lavender, but dried lavender buds, make great flea repellents and little sachets add a lovely scent to a dog's bed. Lavender has also been added to treats and shampoos for pets. In dog treats, lavender is said to promote a calm state of mind. Some dogs need that.
Other dogs just need more attention. I think Chloe feels left out because she's not the star of the show.
For more lavender products and a great get away check these two lavender festivals in Sequim in July.