Lavender Fields  ~

Written, produced and photographed by Monica Hart

Images ~ Monica Hart

 The fragrant valley of

 blue, the quaint,

 

 ocher farm house,

this could be a 


 pastoral scene straight

out of Provence.

 But this  gorgeous

three acre lavender farm, is

actually tucked away

in the heart of Woodinville Washington

wine country. It’s morning in the field

 at Woodinville Lavender  and

Tom and Brenda Frei are soaking up the

beauty. Wilfred, their trusty companion is

keeping stride. The two

fell in love with lavender while staying at a

bed & breakfast in Sequim, a city known for its lavender.

 And what’s not  to love about

 lavender. It’s a much celebrated, fragrant herb, in the

mint family. There are more than 400 varieties, each perfumed

with that familiar and soothing scent. A scent Tom says,

takes you back to grandma’s garden. For Tom and

Brenda, the seed was planted. Then, five years ago, on a

whim, Tom knocked on a Woodinville property owner’s door. He

learned, that this lovely plot of land was about to go on the

market. It was meant to be. The transformation

began and with it, the planting.

 Today, Woodinville Lavender

features seven varieties

in the field, from

English to French,

with even more in the

orchard and more still,

dotting the grounds, in gorgeous shades

of purple, pink and white.

The varieties have names like, ‘Miss

Katherine and Melissa’ and Tom rattles them

off, with an easy familiarity. The farm seems

right at home here amid the growing

Woodinville wine and tourist district. It’s certainly a

beautiful pairing and the lavender thrives in

the rich soil of the Sammamish valley.

But the guy behind the

beautiful farm,

is a bit of an enigma.  You see, by day,

Tom Frei is a rocket scientist…really…he is. Yes, day job

rocket scientist and in the evenings and

early  mornings, dressed in his uniform…

a purple polo, Tom looks

every bit a lavender farmer.

Farming, is  in his genes though.

He grew up on a 15-hundred acre

wheat and pea farm in the Palouse.

But the mechanized production of a big-scale farm seemed

to Tom, a hard way to make a living.

He decided to build rockets, instead…and now cuts his  crops

by hand. He says he is plant person at

heart and a master gardener.  He read somewhere, that you

show signs of what you want to be, early. He remembers

asking for a terrarium for his birthday one year.

And now, that early passion and

the pursuit of the American entrepreneurial dream

have led him here. His engineering/corporate side, 

saw the practical potential of

the lavender business and

he just opened the store,

with Woodinville Lavender products,

lining the shelves.

Tom says, a lot of people don’t realize just

how versatile  lavender is,

with its medicinal, culinary and classic soothing

properties. Woodinville Lavender sells

it all, from fresh and u-cut lavender 

to the dried and

potted variety.

 There are oils, teas

 and spice mixes too

and Brenda’s delicious lavender

shortbread cookies barely get a chance to

cool! She’ll  tell you, this is really Tom’s

thing and she supports his passion.

This morning, he has already harvested and

bundled fragrant stems of lavender

for a wedding. The bride

saw these in the field and now they

will be a

part of her special day.

Tom says people want to know where their products

come from. They want the story  behind the goods.

It’s something he gleaned from his

first two years in the business,

selling at farmer’s markets.

 He  also believes the lavender farm,

together with the French Bakery down the street, add

another layer of richness to the already fertile

Woodinville wine and tourist industry. They are 

experimenting with having the patio

available for small gatherings and

having lived in the area, I know the

sunsets are incredible!  Tom has been approached about

holding wine events on the

picturesque grounds.  If you are so inclined,

 you  may soon be able to enjoy a glass

 here. For now, 

sit, shop, breath in,

 and experience  the beauty of

Woodinville Lavender,