Lavender Bee Farm Tour

June 14, 2009

There is a special farm in Sonoma County, California that receives visitors from all around the world.  When visiting the Wine Country, many make a stop at the Lavender Bee Farm, an all natural, organic farm where owners Rich and JoAnn Wallenstein tend their crop of lavender, their orchard and vegetable garden, and their fifty bee colonies.  This farm is a magical spot, and I had the privilege of a private tour over the weekend. 

sign

The farm is planted with four kinds of lavender:  Grosso, Spanish, Provence, and English.  The word lavender comes from the Latin word “lavare”, and means “to wash.”  One cannot help but feel cleansed walking among the fields of lavender at the Lavender Bee Farm.  

I happened to visit at the perfect time of year since the Provence lavender is just about ready for harvest.  And with fifty bee colonies on the property, there is no shortage of honey making friends.  Take a look at a honey bee and bumble bee in business.  

honeybee

bumble bee 2 

Here are some views of the fields that I found most enchanting. 

lavender field

lavender with barn

Succulents are planted in a birdbath right in the heart of a field of Provence lavender

succulents in field

I could sit here a long while.

rocking chairs

Rich and JoAnn have planted all varieties of fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers on their farm. 

flower vege bedsunflower

Scattered throughout the property are eclectic sculptures made by local artists. 

rooster collection

Another fascinating element was Mel, the 19 year old camel raised by Rich.  Also pictured is the spirited horse Monty, looking for more affection from his owner.

mel the camel

monty and rick 

Not pictured is Lamar, the black and white llama.  He also cohabitates in harmony with Mel the camel, and Monty and Maggie the horses. 

Outside, you’ll see these boxes congregated together, with swarms of honeybees going in and out, after they’ve gathered their nectar from the lavender, fruit trees, and vegetable blooms. 

bee colonies

Inside this barn is the honey production and lavender drying facility.

barn lavender drying

I was so fascinated by Rich’s detailed description of bee colonies, and the production of natural raw honey.  Here is the visitor’s observation colony inside the barn, where you can see honeybees up close doing what they do best.

  bee colony in barn

Rich explained how he forms new colonies of bees with these honeycomb kits from a specialty supplier.  Here is a box filled with beeswax frames to give the bees a foundation for building honeycomb.

bee colony kit

This machine cuts honeycomb inside a frame to help the honey drip out.

honeycomb cutter

This stainless steel extractor uses spinning and gravity to extract the honey from the comb. 

honey extractor 

At the end of the tour is a lovely store, where Joann showed me all of the products made on the farm.  I especially loved the sign that read, “Home is Where your Honey Bee”. 

store

lavender store products

lavender buds 

Here is our lovely hostess JoAnn with some of her freshest cuttings.

joann 

I couldn’t resist assembling a gift basket of their fine products, and I’ll be giving it away on Friday !  

I highly recommend you visit here for a view of the all natural lavender and honey products offered by Lavender Bee Farm. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos of my farm tour, and if you’re ever in our part of the world, ‘bee’ sure to stop on by.

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29 Responses to “Lavender Bee Farm Tour”

  1. Sarah (Team Chilton) says:

    Do you know of any good recipes using lavender? For eating or otherwise. I tried a sugar cookie recipe that called for lavender, and my friend and I decided it wasn't terrible, but it tasted like eating a sugar cookie when a really perfumed lady walks by. I really want to discover some good things to do with it though because I have some dried lavender.

  2. Melanie says:

    That place looks like heaven! Too bad its all the way on the west coast. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Wow! Great tour and beautiful photos. :) If I'm ever in that area, it's on my list of places to see.

  4. Amanda says:

    What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing the tour with us.

  5. Astrid says:

    My lavender plant didn't survive the -30F winter weather we had this year. :( I should probably get another plant as I do love lavender! We also used to keep bees. Fun hobby- if you can keep your cool around a bunch of bees!

  6. C says:

    What a beautiful place!!

    PS- I just gave you an award @ http://cprojectpretty.blogspot.com/

  7. Mrs. K. says:

    My sister would dye to see that place in person. She's had lavender scented stuff for years (including lavender laundry detergent!).

    Your pics are absolutely gorgeous!

  8. Oliver's says:

    This post is just right up my alley! I visited a lavender farm in my town a few weeks back it is lovely but not near the operation of this one. I would love to see this in person. Love your blog too by the way! Paula

  9. FiddlersBride says:

    Beautiful re-cap of what I can tell was a fantastic tour! Thanks for sharing. I just would love to sit in one of those chairs for a while!

  10. Ashley@AshleysBusy says:

    What an awesome farm tour. I bet it smelled divine walking my all that lavender. And all that honey, yumm. My fave is orange blossom from Florida, since that where I'm from.

  11. Kim says:

    I absolutely LOVE Lavender and just planted some Spanish Lavender this year. I would love to visit this place. It looks beautiful.

  12. Freckles Chick says:

    You had me at honey & lavendar! I think I thought I was in Provence for a moment there. Nothing more soothing than the look and aroma of lavendar.

    Monty & Mel are pretty soothing themselves. =]

  13. Simply Susan says:

    Oh how I would *LOVE* to take a tour! I love your photos…. I keep wondering when they are going to make scratch and sniff blogs, lol ;o)

  14. jacobithegreat says:

    Wow, those pictures were beautiful. It must have been so awesome to take that tour. If I'm ever in that area I'm totally going.

  15. Trish says:

    Yet another reason to add to my list of reasons I need to visit CA!! I am sooo jealous. Lavender is one of my favorites, but it does not seem to be hardy enough for Wisconsin winters :(

    Thanks for sharing such a great place!

  16. erin says:

    This looks like a great place to visit. I will need to check it out sometime. I love lavender.

  17. Steph @ AnnoyinglyDomestic says:

    Look at that all that lavender! Gorgeous – will definitely put that on my Places to Visit list. I love the little cacti in the birdbath – very cute (and I don't even like cactus!!!)

  18. The Thrifty Stylist says:

    gorgeous, gorgeous blog! i had to pass on this award :D

    http://thriftystylist.blogspot.com/2009/06/thanks-to-emilys-box-of-fun.html

  19. Things That Inspire says:

    What an incredible looking place! I love lavender, and wish that I could grow it in Atlanta. It does grow, but not that easily. Oh well, I will just have to come here for my lavender fix!

  20. Infarrantly Creative says:

    You are making me miss my California days.

  21. Jen says:

    thanks for sharing the lavender tour. your photos are lovely- it must have been a great day! I lu-uv the scent of lavendar but my 12 y/o daughter keeps assuring me it smells like old lady. The nerve! I should ground her :-)

  22. SoBella Creations says:

    Looks like a wonderful trip! I love lavender.

  23. Holly says:

    Mmmmm…it looks heavenly!

  24. Ells says:

    My family took that tour last year when we vacationed in Sonoma! JoAnne was a great tour guide and hostess, and we asked her TONS of questions and just had so much fun hearing about the lavender and bees! We bought some honey, some lavender for cooking, and the little molded lotion bar… treats all around! Your photos are lovely, and brought back the fun memories!

  25. I love bees and will have to check this place out.

    Your blog is so cute too. Fun to find another SF Bay Area blogger. I don’t get to the wine country as much as I’d like.

    xo,
    cristin

  26. [...] like to tour the commercial acres of lavender this time of year.  Last year I visited the Lavender Bee Farm – this weekend we decided to pop into Matanzas Creek Winery, famous for their gardens, lavender [...]

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