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Friday, June 15, 2012

My Keys Creek Lavender Farm and Urban Barn Trip!

So . . . a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center, California.  I had been searching online for lavender farms in the area because I thought the fields would make for lovely photo ops for this little blog and found them.  Then the wait was on for bloom season.  I was happy when my trusty ol' iCal popped up the reminder it was time to check bloom status.

While perusing their site, I noticed in addition to demonstrations of distilling essential oils and walking tours of their farm, they offered High Teas.  Since I had never been to one, I decided to make a reservation.  

The day of my visit was perfect.  I treated myself to a nice coffee and croissant for breakfast.  I had a ticket to get my car washed by a local high school wrestling team trying to raise funds for their team, so I headed over there while sipping my morning coffee.  One of my colleague's son was one of the washers.  It was a hoot to watch them clowning around.  They even managed to do a pretty good job of it also!  Then I was on the road on my way to the Urban Barn down in Escondido.  I had stumbled across their site at some point and was also looking forward to seeing what treasures I might find there!

I saw a set of 4 garden/patio chairs that I would have loved to have had, they were so pretty and sooooo comfy, but they wouldn't have fit in my poor little vehicle.  And, even if I had magically been able to spirit them home . . . I have no idea where I could have put them!  So, I had to bid a sad farewell to them.  But, I did pick up a pretty little tea cup display cupboard and a couple of pitchers.  And then it was time to get going to make it to Keys Creek Lavender Farm for my High Tea experience.

I saw some areas of the state I had never seen before on my way there.  It was a very pretty drive through a rural area.  A bit of a treat from the non-stop city/pavement I usually see.  And, then . . . on to dirt roads.  Whaaaat? ? ? ?  I didn't even realize there were any dirt roads anywhere near this area! ! !  Heck, they even put the rivers in concrete out here!  (I have been out here many, many years now and that still bothers me!  I know why they do it, but it just seems . . . . well, wrong!)  Who'd have thought they would allow dirt roads? ? ?  :)  Remember my second stop of the day  . . .  getting my car washed?  *sigh*  Oh well . . . it's only dirt, right?  ;)

It was worth it!  I finally got there and wandered up the road from the parking lot.  One of the owners, Chris Kurisu (that's him up there), met everyone on the porch to the little store they have there.  I was busy snapping pics of all the little vignettes they had set up . . . and the lavender, of course.  I finally realized he was talking about the essential oil distilling process, which was one of the things I was really interested in finding out more about.  They had a little distillation machine all set up and he described how it worked.  I would like to try my hand at it, but it would be a little too pricey to buy one of the machines they have for sale for just a casual interest in trying my hand at it!

Then it was time for our walking tour.  I was surprised that the part we saw seemed so small.  I am assuming there are a lot more fields on the backside of the hill that we didn't see.  If not, it is a very small farm!  :)  Cute, but small!  The lavender smelled lovely and there were thousands of bees busily tending all those blossoms.

Once we got to the top of the little hill, just outside the residence area, Chris bid those of us with High Tea reservations adieu and took the others on the rest of the tour back down to the shop.

There was a nice sized patio area that was set up with tables, nice tablecloths, and mis-matched tea cups and saucers.  There were lavender centerpieces and lovely little plates of sugar cubes and little ceramic creamers.  Once everyone was seated, they began bringing out plates of sweets, little sandwiches and assortments of fruits.  And the tea.  They offered a few different types from which to choose.  I started with a peach tea that was oh, so very yummy, I couldn't resist it.  I should have at least tried a bit of the others, but I was already hooked on the peach!  I think I must have drank about a gallon of it!

There were so many little delicious nibbles I just couldn't resist!

I must say I really enjoyed it!  The cucumber mint sandwiches looked like they had been cut with little cookie cutters.  They were quite sweet looking, like little flowers or something!  They also had little triangles of egg salad sandwiches and tuna salad as well.  The sweets were soooooo very tempting, I'm afraid I made a little pig of myself!  Scones with devonshire cream, madelines, little chocolate yummy cookie-ish type things, strawberries, blueberries and oh goodness, everything was just delish!  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon!  Grab some friends and get your reservations made!  But, remember, they are not offered all year long . . . it gets blazing hot out there in the summers!

See, didn't I tell you there were some super yummy looking desserts?  ;)

My most pleasant surprise of the day was the Rose Geraniums.  Ohhhhhh, mmmmmmmmmm, I really like the scent!  They distill the essential oils from those plants as well, but apparently, it takes soooooo much plant material to make the oil it is quite expensive to produce, so they don't sell just the Rose Geranium essential oil.  They mix it with the lavender essential oils.  I couldn't resist picking up some room sprays and some hand lotion.  (And a baby, fledgling Rose Geranium and a couple of lavender plants.)

Oh, I mustn't forget to show you some little piccies of the lavender fields . . . afterall, that was what started me on this little hunt!  ;)

They have several different varieties of lavender, some of which are in bloom at a little different times.

Isn't it pretty? ? ?  I wonder how many lavender wands you could make?  :)

Another surprise of the day . . . I apparently do have some allergies!  While shopping in their little store, I began sneezing.  And sneezing.  And sneezing.  And Sneezing.  I couldn't stop.  I was getting pretty uncomfortable.  Once I got outside, it subsided.  It was a small shop.  It was very warm.  There was a LOT of scent in there.  Wow!

There were so many little corners to explore, and a tiny little meditation maze walk tucked behind the bougainvillea covered arch. You can see a little peek of it in one of the photos above. 

It was such a pleasant day, I think it would be a really nice treat to go back again!  Perhaps you'll join me there!

Well, sit back and relax . . . until next time!  See ya' around! ! !  Later, gators!


  1. Just lovely, as always.:-) Hugs Stina

    1. Thanks, Stina! As are your photos on your blog! ! ! It is always such a treat to visit you! Your home is very cosy! :)

  2. It is nice to know there are some beautiful places nearby. You did not mention if they made soap? Keep on do what you are doing showing us the tantalizing foods and scenes.


    1. Hey, Dennis! Yes, they make lovely soap! In fact, they have workshops to show you how to make it also! I was going to sign up for one of their classes, but couldn't fit it in. I'll keep my eye out for another time!