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Community News 07/13/07
Otis Orchards lavender farm emerges as community oasis
By Craig Howard
Spokane Valley News Managing Editor


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The horses that graze in the golden pastures of Otis Orchards sensed there was something different in the air a few years ago.

The aroma of barley and oats had been replaced by lavender.

It seemed that someone had turned a rocky patch of land on Lynden Road into a flourishing oasis, blooming with rows of spectacular purple and green.

Visitors to the area also noticed the upgrade. They began to stop by and wander through the fields, talking to the owners of the farm about the unique species of flora that blooms each July.


Sharon Russell wades through a sea of purple at the Leisure Lavender Farm in Otis Orchards. Last weekend, the farm donated a percentage of its proceeds to help the Children's Miracle Network.

Over time, the Leisure Lavender Farm became recognized as one of the area's leading producers of the fragrant flower. Calls now come in from Chicago to Hawaii, requesting items from the farm's retail line - essential oil, dryer bags, eye pillows and more. Prices are reasonable, ranging from $6 to $11.

Greg and Elecia Seaman have been operating the farm since 2000. Greg's dad, Ron, works the fields, a task he describes as "labor intensive."

"People come out here and ask about starting up something like this," Ron said. "I tell them to try it for two days and then see what they think."

The farm is only opened to the public from July 7 through July 29, the growing season for lavender. Those who stop by can pick a bundle for $7 after being equipped with a straw basket and some scissors. Dried lavender runs $5 a sleeve.

The season actually begins in May when the farm is represented at the local garden expo. The business also operates a booth each weekend at the Liberty Lake Farmers Market, which runs from May through October. Plant sales and street fairs round out the appearance schedule.

It is the three weeks in July, however, when the Leisure Lavender Farm makes its name. Ron talks about how visitors show up from all over the region to simply bask in the glow of radiant purple. Visitors are welcome from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are reminded to wave away the bees that hover around each plant.

Sharon Russell of north Spokane stopped by the farm earlier this week. Russell said the smell of lavender has always been one of her favorites.

"It's soothing," Russell said. "And besides the fragrance, it's a radiant color."

Last weekend, the Lavender Farm contributed a percentage of its profits to the Children's Miracle Network, an alliance of hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada that provide care, research and education to kids in need.

Locally, Valley Hospital and Medical Center as well as Deaconess, Holy Family, Sacred Heart hospitals and St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute are part of the network.

Elecia said the family decided several years ago to support the worthy cause.

"We just think it's important to give back to the community," she said.
Melissa Pederson, a development assistant with Children's Miracle Network, said donations from local companies like the lavender farm make a big difference.

"We really appreciate it because they're raising funds and awareness," she said. "It means a lot because the money they raise stays local."

While the network is known for the paper balloons that sell in grocery stores and other area businesses, last weekend it was all about the bouquets of purple.

"It's a great day out there," Pederson said.

Want to find out more?

To donate to the Children's Miracle Network or to find out more, call or visit www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org. To learn more about the Leisure Lavender Farm, call 927-0405 or visit www.leisurelavender.com.

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