Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Your Trip to the Lavender Farm

Dreaming of your trip to Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island this summer?  Whether it is your first time or your fifteenth, making the trip to the farm is a delightful adventure itself.  With a multitude of travel options, San Juan Island is openly accessible.  With some basic, yet very important details planned ahead, your trip is sure to be memorable start to finish.

Located in the northwest region of Washington State in the Straight of Juan De Fuca just north of Seattle and south of Vancouver, B.C.,  San Juan Island (Friday Harbor) is your destination to visit us at the farm.

There are no bridges to San Juan Island!  To reach the island, one must take a ferry, aircraft, or personal watercraft to get here.

A ride on an iconic Washington State Ferry is the simplest and most economic way to take your personal vehicle to San Juan Island.  Reservations are recommended and can be made as far in advance as 2 months.  Enjoy the stunning scenery of the San Juan Islands from the deck and leave the world behind.

The ferry to San Juan Island (departing from Anacortes, WA) can be reached via Interstate 5 and US Highway 101 N.  The US HWY 101 N route includes an additional ferry ride from Victorian Seaport Port Townsend to Coupeville.  This is a longer, but very scenic journey and will take you through Deception Pass.

Other ways of reaching the island by water include: personal craft, Victoria Clipper, private charter, San Juan Clipper.

Prefer to fly? Book a seat on a small aircraft or float plane directly to Friday Harbor.  No car?  No problem!  Walk onto the ferry and rent a moped, bicycle, car, or ride San Juan Transit, Jolly Trolley or take a taxi while on San Juan Island.

Whichever adventure you choose to get here, the fields of Pelindaba Lavender Farm are always open to welcome you!  See our Visitor Center hours below.  Our "peak of purpleness" is mid July – mid August, but there arr typically flowers in bloom June - September.  Join us for the annual San Juan Island Lavender Festival the third weekend in July to celebrate and behold the glory of 25,000 lavender plants in full bloom!

During your visit this summer be sure to...

- Stroll through our organically certified fields.

- Browse the over 200 lavender products we handcraft on the farm at our Gatehouse Farm Store.

- Explore the Demonstration Garden where we cultivate over 50 different varieties of lavender.

- Visit the Distillery and Exhibits to learn how we distill the lavender essential oil from the plant — and about its many and diverse uses.

- Make your own beautiful lavender crafts in the Craft Workshop in July and August.

- Harvest your own organic lavender bouquets in the Cutting Field.

- Take home some lavender plants for your own garden from the Nursery.

- Bring a Picnic to enjoy and be sure try our lavender lemonade, iced tea, ice cream (gluten-free) or cookies!

Visitor Center Hours

April : 9:30am - 5:30pm Wednesday - Sunday
May : 9:30am - 5:30pm DAILY
June - August : 9am - 6pm DAILY
September : 9:30am - 5:30pm DAILY

Admission to the farm is FREE.  Parking, restroom and picnic facilities are available.

For those visiting October - March or after hours, please feel welcome to take a walk through the fields.  The fields are never closed.

Pets are very welcome.  We simply ask their owners to keep them on leash and to clean up after them.

Wishing you a delightful journey to our extraordinary corner of the earth.
We can’t wait to see you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

4 Safe, Chemical-Free Ways to Eliminate Foul Odors

Whether you live with pets, children or you have a bad habit of letting your compost bin overflow just a little more often than you'd like to admit, unpleasant odors have a way of finding their way into the home almost daily!

Eliminate Foul Odors Naturally

When cleaning your house isn't enough to rid the air of odors, many people reach for an aerosol can of air freshener that was designed in a lab.  However, chemical air fresheners are not just problematic for people with respiratory sensitivities; they can be troublesome for everyone and the environment.

Inhaling petro-chemicals, dyes and synthetic perfumes can cause long-term health problems.  Time Magazine has reported that many chemical air fresheners contain phthalates, a type of chemical that can cause cancer.

A safe room mist is actually hard to find on the shelves of the average big box chain store.  Not sure what's ok to use in your home?  The Environmental Working Group has put together a very helpful Guide to Healthy Cleaning so you can review ingredients of common cleaners.

There's no need to expose yourself to unsafe chemicals if you want your home filled with fresh, clean, odor-free air.  Try these 4 effective non-toxic options instead.

1. Decorate with Air-Purifying Plants

Plants add a beautiful touch to any room, but these living things can also purify air!  Back in 1989, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America discovered that Spathiphyllum - also known as Peace Lilies - were one of the top three plants for removing common household toxins (including ammonia!) from the air.

Some other great natural air purifying plants include Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), Aloe Vera (A. barbadensis), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Rubber plants (Ficus elastic), Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii), Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium), Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), Devil’s Ivy/Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Philodendron, Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata v. Bostoniesis) and Ficus/Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina).

More fragrant herb-family flowers and stems - even when dried - also work wonders and offer odor neutralizing benefits.  Plants like lavender (of course!), mint, jasmine and rosemary are great choices.  Plus, a live herb in the kitchen serves double-duty by also offering readily-available flavor to add to soups and broths, meats, roasted veggies, desserts and teas.

Consider hanging some dried eucalyptus branches in the bathroom, setting a vase of dried lavender near baby's changing table, or keeping a pot of rosemary or jasmine near the kitchen sink to shew away stenches wafting up from the drain.

Eliminate Foul Kitchen Odors with Lavender      Eliminate Foul Bathroom Odors with Lavender

2. Try Linen Waters and Carpet Deodorizers

The absorbent fabrics we surround ourselves with can readily harbor odors.  Frequent vacuuming and laundering will help carpets, rugs, curtains, throw blankets and pillows, and bathroom and kitchen towels stay odor-free.

To boost the efficacy of cleaning your carpets and upholstery, sprinkle the fabric with a safe household odor absorber like baking soda or, even better Lavender Carpet Freshener, and let it sit for at least ten minutes before vacuuming.  With the latter, the friction and heat of the vacuum cleaner releases the natural oils into the carpet fibers.  These natural oils also discourage common household insects, especially fleas and distribute a fresh fragrance throughout the room.

For machine-dryables, toss in a few wool dryer balls with a couple drops of Organic Lavender Essential Oil on them.  Lavender's natural antibacterial properties and strong fragrance will breathe new life into your fabrics.  You can compound its effects with a douse of Lavender Linen Water on your freshly-laundered items - or use it while ironing!

For items that can't go in the dryer, Lavender Linen Water is still a great alternative to add fragrance.  Spritz your throw pillows and living room upholstery with linen water to perk up the air or place an odor-fighting Organic Lavender Sachet or two in your cupboards and drawers with your tea towels and bath towels.

Laundry and Clothing Care with Lavender

3. Diffuse Some Fragrance-Packed Essential Oils into the Air

We love ultrasonic diffusers because they are highly effective and efficient.  The use of ultrasonic vibrations, rather than heat, means they use less essential oil in a more controlled dispersion than other styles of diffusers.  They are also safe for homes with curious sniffing noses, tiny exploring fingers and generally clumsy folk.

Still, heating essential oils is an effective option and can be oh-so-cozy when there is a chill in the air. For example, you can add fragrance to your living space by burning water-soaked Organic Lavender Stalks in the fireplace.  Or alternately, a large pot filled with water, a few drops of essential oil, some slices of oranges and a few drops of vanilla extract kept on a low simmer will do the trick, as well.

Lavender Home Fragrance

4. Create Movement

When all else fails, make the air flow.

Nothing quite beats the scent of wild air from the great outdoors - remember your last hike and the deep breath you drew in at the top of the trail peak?

Unfortunately we can't bring that sweet aroma home with us (though we can dream!), but you can open adjacent windows and doors to create a natural breeze through the space.  No breeze?  No problem.  Create your own refreshing gale with a few strategically placed fans.

Natural Air Freshening from Pelindaba Lavender

Exhausted by the thought of all this cleaning?  Give yourself a therapeutic home spa treatment and let the bath steam permeate the house with its fragrance.  Move over, potted herbs, now you're doing double-duty.  (And winning points for creativity - you're welcome!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

French Toast with Lavender Blackberry Maple Syrup

As the days at the farm grow longer toward our peak season, our Pelindaba family revels in some more caloric-rich "farmer's breakfasts" to help give us a little extra energy for the hard work ahead of us!

Whether you have a laborious day ahead of you or you just enjoy indulging in a sweet-tooth lover's weekend brunch, this tasty breakfast is promised to tantalize your taste buds.

French Toast with Lavender Blackberry Maple Syrup


Recipes for Cooking with Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Culinary Lavender


  • 8 slices of slightly stale sliced bread (Yesterday's thick cuts of a rustic loaf are ideal, but any bread will do!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (We highly suggest whole milk, heavy cream or a creamier non-dairy alternative like walnut milk!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pure grade A maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbs Pelindaba's Organic Culinary Lavender
  • Salted butter (for buttering the pan and topping your toast) 

Recipes for Cooking with Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Culinary LavenderRecipes for Cooking with Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Culinary Lavender


  1. Warm butter in a large frying pan on medium-low heat. 
  2. Blend the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract until evenly mixed and transfer to a shallow dish like a pie plate for dipping your bread.
  3. If you like a more egg-y french toast, stab your bread with a fork to create some small holes. (Translation: more nooks and crannies for our tasty egg mixture to permeate the bread. This creates a richer treat, like bread pudding!) 
  4. Dip your toast into the egg mixture evenly on either side and cook on each side until golden brown. Resist the urge to press down on the toast with your spatula. Pressing down will make the toast dense and hard - we like our toast to be fluffy!
  5. While the toast is going, prepare the syrup. Crush the lavender buds, muddle the blackberries, then gently mix it all together with the maple syrup. 
  6. Once your toast is ready, plate it all up, top with the lavender blackberry syrup and enjoy!

Recipes for Cooking with Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Culinary Lavender


More Recipe Ideas for Cooking with Lavender

Lavender Entrees

Lavender Beverages

Lavender Desserts

Recipes for Cooking with Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Culinary Lavender

If you're interested in trying more meals, sides, sauces, and desserts featuring lavender, you'll enjoy skimming through all the recipes in our Lavender Cookbook.

Craving some lavender treats, but don't have much interest in dirtying your kitchen (and cleaning up, of course)? Try our handcrafted shortbread cookies, teas, chutneys, chocolates, and other delightful, sugary treats - or come visit the farm this summer for a taste of our seasonal ice cream made with our very own Organic Culinary Lavender.

If you want to learn more about cooking with lavender, we have lots more information here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What's so special about handcrafted products?

Those who have been enjoying Pelindaba products for many years know well the level of quality that has become synonymous with the Pelindaba Lavender name.  Using the finest of ingredients and our own organic lavender play a large part in their quality.  So too does the unique packaging that we source from hither and yon.  But, if we were to give only one reason for the the quality of our products, it would be that they are all handmade on our farm.

Handmade quality lavender products for body, home, kitchen and pet

We frequently use "handcrafted" to describe our lavender products.  This is one of the primary attributes that make Pelindaba products so unique.  But, what does handcrafted actually mean at Pelindaba?

While those who frequent one of our retail locations or order their favorites online directly experience the wonderful fragrance, feel, taste or efficacy of our products, the true depth of what it means that they are all handcrafted rather than assembly line produced may be a little more abstract.

Let's pop into our production center at the farm and show you what handcrafted looks like at Pelindaba.

Handcrafting organic lavender products on San Juan Island, Washington
Photo: Steffi Wehner

Handcrafted at Pelindaba Lavender

Simply put, handcrafted means requiring skill with the hand.  This is very true at our production center.  We are blessed to be part of an island community that is rich in skilled artisans.  The hands that make each and every product individually - from start to finish - are immensely talented.

Lavender products for body, home, kitchen and pet 

Each small batch of ingredients is measured out by hand.  The ingredients are then mixed, whipped, blended, stirred or combined by hand.  Jars, bottles, tubs and tubes are hand filled... picture a large glass measuring cup being used to hand pour Lavender Insect Repellant into tiny purple bottles - each and every one individually!

Each and every label is then applied by hand, each and every bow tied by hand, each and every tag cut out by hand and affixed by hand... and if that's not enough, even some of our unique boxes are cut out and folded into shape by hand.

All Pelindaba Products are made with organic lavender by hand  Handcrafted lavender products for home, budy, pet care and more

Each and every bottle of shampoo, eye pillow and tin of tea receives specific attention from skillful artisans, many of whom have a decade of experience making these products.

All products are handcrafted at Pelindaba Lavender

It's just about as far from mass-produced goods churning out of a factory in some nameless place as one can get.

Producing in small batches on-site provides an incredibly high level of quality control per product.  We know who mixed each batch, packaged each batch, finished each batch, etc.  This intimate level of knowledge and attention to detail ensures that you receive the best of Pelindaba each and every time you bring one of our products home or give them as gifts.

Lavender products made by hand with organic lavender

San Juan Island, where our farm is located, is a small community.  It is an honor and privilege to contribute to the economic well-being of our small island community by maintaining these values and employing local artisans to bring their talent and skills to the table (literally!) to handcraft.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Chemical-Free Alternative to Dryer Sheets

Have you ever considered a chemical free alternative to dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener for freshening your laundry?  Many laundry products claim to have fresh, floral or outdoor inspired aromas.  How on earth does one bottle the fragrance of a fresh mountain spring or a warm breeze on a Spring day?

Did you know that one artificial fragrance in a laundry product can contain as many as hundreds of chemicals that may aggravate respiratory issues and be a genesis for other health related concerns?  Not to mention the undesirable impact of environmentally unfriendly emissions from dryer vents into the atmosphere and contributing unnecessary waste to our landfills.  Additionally, dryer sheets and fabric softening agents coat fabric fibers, which may undesirably affect skin and diminish absorbency of microfiber cloths and towels.

Let us suggest a “green” alternative.  Imagine the sweet, floral aroma of blooming lavender wafting through your laundry room while you wash and dry, load after load...

All-natural chemical free alternative to dryer sheets

You will need a set of 100% felted wool dryer balls.  These can be obtained from brick and mortar establishments carrying goods for the home as well as countless online shops. You can also very easily make your own wool dryer balls - here's a great step by step tutorial.

While the ancient art of wool felting has been practiced for centuries, it is unknown exactly when and where felted wool dryer balls originated.  Typically, they can be found in sets of four to eight.  The more balls used, the less time it will take to dry a load, which will positively impact your energy bill.

Trending for several years now, they have steadily increased in availability as the general population increasingly searches for eco-conscious products, even for laundry use!  There are dozens of options to peruse when it comes to wool dryer balls.  How does one know what to look for?

We recommend sourcing from a local, sustainable purveyor whenever possible.  Perhaps your local farmer’s market features a felt artisan who sustainably handcrafts them using wool from a local sheep farmer.  Try a boutique shop in your town that carries fair trade home wares.  Maybe they carry a set that is handcrafted by an ethical business in Nepal.

These spherical wonders perform by utilizing the inherent absorbency of wool.  While tumbling with fabrics, the woolly spheres fluff and separate damp laundry and gradually beat out and absorb excess water from fabrics.  Improved hot air circulation throughout the tumbling load allows for more efficient evaporation of water, reduces overall drying time and lessens wrinkling and twisting - particularly for household linens.  In addition, naturally occurring lanolin in the wool lessens static cling.

Add a few drops of our Organic Lavender Essential Oil to each wool dryer ball a few hours before use, which will permit the oil to absorb further into the fibers and sustain a longer aroma release.  The heat from the dryer activates and disperses the lavender oil and lightly fragrances fabrics and surroundings.  For an additional boost of fragrance, pause the dry cycle just before the cool, air fluff portion and add a few more drops of essential oil to the dryer balls and recommence the cycle.

All-natural chemical free alternative to dryer sheets

Our lavender plants are organically and sustainably grown and harvested.  We even distill our own Lavender essential oil right on our San Juan Island Farm.  Bring a touch of aromatherapy to a typically humdrum task and try our Organic Lavender Essential Oil to impart a 100% green and natural fragrance to your dryer friendly washables.  When you empty the dryer, imagine yourself meandering through a field of blooming lavender on a warm, sunny day...

Extend the experience of blooming fields of lavender to your ironing or bedtime preparations with Lavender Linen Water.

All-natural chemical free alternative to dryer sheets


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Revealing Our 18th Annual Lavender San Juan Island Festival Poster

In three short months, the sun will be shining on San Juan Island, the lavender fields will be just reaching their "peak of purpleness," dozens of white tents and purple pennants will be going up, a buzz will be in the air (literally - all the honey bees will be hard at work in the fields) and we'll be getting ready to host a lavender party for several thousand of our closest friends.  The farm will be full of activity and anticipation.

In the early months of the year, however, we are planning and preparing in a much different way and, in the case of creating this year's San Juan Island Lavender Festival poster, from much farther away.

San Juan Island Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Local San Juan Island artist (and long-time Pelindaban), Alison Johnston, has created the artwork for the San Juan Island Lavender Festival poster for several years.  Alison splits her time between San Juan Island and France.  Last month she created original poster artwork from her studio in the south of France for us and we are delighted with the results. 

San Juan Island Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Alison usually works in pen and watercolors when she is in France as the media are easily transportable for painting "en plein air."  The style also lends its self beautifully to capturing the color, light and movement at the farm.

San Juan Island Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

From France to San Juan Island comes the 18th Annual San Juan Lavender Festival poster!


We are looking forward to this year's festival where we will be celebrating all things lavender with tours, self-harvesting, workshops and demonstrations, crafts, kid's activities, live music, local food & drinks, plants, products, local artisans, massages in the fields and...oh, yes, acres and acres of blooming lavender to explore.

San Juan Island Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

See you at the Lavender Festival!


Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Artist and author Alison Johnston's paintings reflect an intimate connection with San Juan Island's Pelindaba Lavender Farm.  A passionate painter in acrylic and watercolor for over thirty years, Alison derives her inspiration from nature balancing her creativity between life in the islands and life in the medieval village of Sauve, France. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Behind the Scenes - Opening the Visitor Center at the Farm

During the Winter the lavender fields lie dormant to enjoy a well-earned rest after a busy growing season.  So too, our Visitor Center is still and quiet during the off-season.  Each Spring as the weather warms and the days extend, it's time to awaken the Visitor Center for the upcoming season.  We thought we would take you behind the scenes and show you how we put together the fresh, new look of the Gatehouse Farm Store at the Visitor Center.

Welcome to the “New” Gatehouse Farm Store!

The gift shop at Pelindaba Lavender Farm Store at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Over the course of a couple of weeks, a team of our experienced retail managers got together and gave our very first store a face-lift.  The first order of business was to remove everything and give the space a deep clean.  We love lavender, but over time it sure can become messy!

farm store setting up at Pelindaba Lavender Farm Pelindaba Lavender Farm Store

After a complete re-paint, we got to work on the display areas throughout the store.  Out went the old shelves to be replaced with a more updated and cleaner style.  In came a hutch made from an old San Juan Island barn, as well as rustic crates and spools to enhance the farm experience throughout!  Each and every part of the store received special artistic attention.

Farm Store at Pelindaba Lavender San Juan Island

There are many more changes for you to discover when you visit the Gatehouse Farm Store at the Visitor Center.  We are looking forward to sharing them all during your next visit.

The Visitor Center is now open for the season and ready for your lavender farm visit!


Farm Store at Pelindaba Lavender Farm - Washington
The Gatehouse Farm Store at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Farm Store at Pelindaba Lavender Open for Season 

There is a lot to do at the farm, from strolling through vast fields, to exploring our handcrafted lavender products and how we make them, to simply enjoying some lavender ice cream on the porch and soaking in the idyllic island vistas - plan your visit here!  We'll see you soon!