Local lavender farm takes root

Meet Thane and Peggy Bryenton and there’s a chance they might be wearing clothes that are violet or purple or perhaps even a shade of lavender.

“Purple is our uniform,” said Peggy Bryenton during a recent visit to her home and farm in southeast Thurston County.

Why all the purple? Take a peek at the farm.

The Bryentons run Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm, a 3.8-acre spread that not only doubles as their home, but also is home to 600 mostly English lavender plants, which they harvest throughout the lavender season.

But the farm also is open to visitors to see and purchase a variety of lavender products, or to just sit and admire the lavender blowing in the breeze for a little “me” time, as a brochure about the farm suggests.

They bought the former horse pasture property in 2006, built a barn-like agricultural building the following year and then got serious about lavender during a trip to Sequim, which is known for its lavender, with their daughter in 2008.

It was there that they became captivated by lavender’s scent and color, but also by its potential.

During their visit, Thane Bryenton was busy scratching away at some mosquito bites when one of the local lavender farmers suggested he dab them with a little essential lavender oil.

Soon, the desire to itch was gone, as were the welts, he said.

Hooked, the Bryentons began to study the plant, consulted other growers and then made the plunge, purchasing lavender from a location in Oregon because this particular variety was better suited to wetter weather in Olympia.

A farm was born.

Among the lavender products the farm sells are buds sold by the pound for potpourri, culinary buds for cooking, lavender sachets, lavender neck wraps, as well as soaps and lotions.

But Evergreen Valley also produces, through a steam-distillation process, an essential lavender oil, which, as Thane Bryenton discovered, can be used to treat an insect bite or minor burn or used in aromatherapy.

A secondary distillation product called hydrosol — a lavender-infused linen water — also is bottled and can be used for cleaning, or as an air freshener, or even as a sleep aid by spritzing a little lavender on your pillow at night.

Red Wind Casino, too, uses their lavender and incorporated it into a lemon lavender cheesecake which premiered at the 2014 Capital Food and Wine Festival, according to a Red Wind publication, The Breeze.

Up next for the Bryentons is to become a stop on the Thurston Bountiful Byway, a recently created route of stops through rural Thurston County to promote agritourism.

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