Lavender Farming On The Western Slope Has Taken Root

June 21, 2019
Photo: Western Slope Lavender Farming | Paola LegarreStephanie Wolf/CPR News
Owner Paola Legarre walks through her lavender rows on her Palisade farm on June 19, 2019.

Take a trip to Sage Creations Organic Farm mid-June, and you’ll find about half of the 10-acre Palisade farm blooming with lavender.

Paola Legarre has run those fragrant fields for 14 years, and starting growing lavender about a year into the farm operation.

On Wednesday morning, carloads of people pulled up to try their hands at picking their own lavender or cherries in her “u-pick” patches.

As Legarre made her way out to her largest lavender field, a few of her workers stopped her. They carried buckets stuffed with bundles of the plant. These were meant to be shipped overnight for a wedding. But there’s a problem.  

“We had rain yesterday,” Legarre said, pointing her hand up to the sky. “And when the lavender is beginning to bloom, it’s like the worst thing.”

If water gets into the open buds, it turns them brown, she explained. “So we can’t use that.” Legarre will have to “find other lavender that will be more suitable.”

Photo: Western Slope Lavender Farming | Sage Creations Organic FarmStephanie Wolf/CPR News

It won’t go to waste though. Legarre will hang these bundles upside down and dry them out — there are racks of such bundles in one of her drying rooms. This lavender will become a culinary product, to use as an herb or spice, or maybe go into jams. It’s one of the many ways she sells the crop. She also distills it down to create essential oils and floral waters, and sells starter plants for other growers.