From Plant to Body The Local Lavender Experience

 Photos courtesy of Lavender Festival of Western Colorado 

Photos courtesy of Lavender Festival of Western Colorado 

For decades, Peachfest and Winefest have proudly celebrated the Grand Valley’s agritourism. Now in its eighth year, the Colorado Lavender Festival in Palisade is a relative newcomer — and a rising star. The festival continues to grow exponentially, fulfilling the mission of the Lavender Association of Western Colorado while wowing thousands of participants with tours, education, demonstrations, and information on the many uses of this versatile plant.

    Valued for its beautiful color, aromatherapy, and culinary and medicinal applications, lavender has been one of the most popular herbs for centuries. Originating in the Mediterranean region of Europe, today lavender grows around the world in similar climate conditions, everywhere from England to New Zealand and Australia. Here in North America, it’s widely grown in Washington State, New Mexico, Texas, and — of course — Colorado.

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    This fragrant, hardy, and drought-tolerant perennial thrives in full sun and alkaline soil with little organic matter, making it the perfect plant for local landscapes, as well as a dependable cash crop. Two association growers, Green Acres U-Pick and Two Bears, tout awards in several international competitions. Apparently, the wider world is as excited about Western Slope lavender as we are.

“Members of the Lavender Association now consist of 18 farms and over 41,000 plants in the Grand Valley alone,” says Paula Rohr, festival director. The group is eager to help locals learn about this beautiful herb and its properties, whether by incorporating lavender into your garden or into your life.

    Lisa Proietti, association board member and owner of Belli Fiori Lavender, learned everything she knows from other local growers. Belli Fiori now has 1,200 plants and includes 11 varieties. The only year-round lavender farm in the valley, it offers 50 edible, medicinal, and decorative products, plus a tasting bar and spirits distillery.

    Her love of the plant has even influenced Proietti’s hairstyle. “My lavender hair color is now part of who I am,” she says. “A customer who came in with lavender hair said she had found her kindred spirit.”

    Proietti encourages everyone — from foodies, to those interested in beneficial personal-care products, to families looking for a fun outing — to experience the Colorado Lavender Festival, which is presented by Hummel Real Estate. 

    The theme of the festival this year is “From Plant to Body — The Lavender Experience,” and there are many options for enjoying the event firsthand. Whichever path you take to the festival, just follow the aroma, which is sure to sweep you off your feet. 


IF YOU GO:

Friday, June 29, 8am-3pm
Comfortable motorcoach tours will take participants to various lavender farms to learn about growing and harvesting, processing and distilling oil, and making lavender products. Lunch is included.

Saturday, June 30, 9am-4pm
At Palisade’s Veterans Memorial Park, the family-friendly festival will include hands-on cooking and product making demonstrations, special guest speakers, live music, food, and craft vendors. 

Sunday, July 1
Enjoy self-guided lavender discovery tours throughout Palisade and the Grand Valley.

Visit coloradolavender.org for more information.