As Sarah Richards looked over her fields Wednesday, just some of her estimated 15,000 lavender plants were starting to bloom.
“We’re way behind this year,” the Lavender Wind Farm owner said. “Because the spring has been so cold, it slows the bloom down.”
With 17 different varieties growing on the West Beach farm, each variety blooms at a different pace. Each plant, she said, has a completely different composition.
“There’s always something in bloom throughout the season,” Richards said. “Which is good for the Blooming Season Concert series because we’ll have blooms for all of them.”
Next week, Richards is kicking off the first of five weekend events. From 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays, July 8 through Aug. 5, she is inviting the public to concerts.
The Blooming Season Concert series is replacing the long-running Lavender Wind Festival that was held each July.
Richards said after organizing the festival for the last 13 years, she was just ready for a change.
“We’re going to be completely casual,” she said. “It’s going to be a whole different scene. It’s about chilling, enjoying the weather and hanging out with the lavender.”
Bands will perform from her deck as was done during previous festivals. There may be a few picnic tables and chairs, but Richards suggests people bring a blanket to sit in the grass or maybe their own lawn chairs if they have them.
Choro Tomorrow is the only band in the lineup not from Whidbey Island. The band, based out of Olympia, is comprised of a group of musicians who play Brazilian music.
Richards said the band performed last year and was a hit.
Also in the lineup is Trio Nouveau performing July 15, Wild Man Cooley performing July 22, Skinny Tie Jazz performing July 29 and Triptych closing out the series Aug. 5. More detailed information about each band can be found at www.lavenderwind.com under the events tab.
There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted to help offset the cost of hiring the bands.
The farm will be selling staples like lavender lemonade, scones and other treats from the shop. The Cove Cafe will be making sandwiches for purchase.
If you want to guarantee getting a sandwich, though, Richards recommends going to her website where she’ll be setting up a form for preorders.
During the concerts, the farm will be operating as normal. The staff will be out working in the fields, harvesting if plants are ready, and visitors may find lavender being distilled.
Guests will be able to stroll the fields and check out all aspects of the farm, beyond its namesake plant. Richards’ property also features a lavender labyrinth and vegetable and flower gardens.
“The farm is beautiful this year,” Richards said. “I think this year is just a beautiful year for growing.”