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.
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.
Here are some views of the fields that I found most enchanting.
Succulents are planted in a birdbath right in the heart of a field of Provence lavender
I could sit here a long while.
Rich and JoAnn have planted all varieties of fruit trees, vegetables, and flowers on their farm.
Scattered throughout the property are eclectic sculptures made by local artists.
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.
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.
Inside this barn is the honey production and lavender drying facility.
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.
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.
This machine cuts honeycomb inside a frame to help the honey drip out.
This stainless steel extractor uses spinning and gravity to extract the honey from the comb.
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”.
Here is our lovely hostess JoAnn with some of her freshest cuttings.
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.