NEWBERG, Ore. — It's a magical time in Oregon wine country right now. July and early August are when the lavender fields are in full bloom. Purples, pinks, even white blooms and all their beautiful scents are on display.
The Newberg Lavender Trail is worth a visit for restaurants with lavender infused foods, desserts and cocktails. Even coffee shops and art galleries are getting into it. Several lavender farms are also on the itinerary to explore and cut the flowers to bring home, or learn to make a wreath.
Marilyn Kosel has owned Wayward Winds Lavender Farm in Newberg for over 11 years. It's a U-cut farm with several large fields of lavender plantings — even a lavender maze to walk through. She holds wreath-making classes, sensory classes for children and there's a butterfly release party this month. The farm has a list of events on their website.
In the back of the farm, Kosel has a test garden where she explores growing new varieties of sizes and colors of lavender from around the world to see what works best in our climate.
Kosel used to own a plant nursery decades ago, but she fell in love with lavender when she saw a mass planting of it.
"It is very happy. It makes people happy, and I love that about it," she said.
The Newberg Lavender Trail includes a collection of 27 places to go and things to do and eat — all having to do with the flowers, going on all month.
The lavender farms, including Chehalem Flats Farm, are free to visit and Wayward Winds has a lot of props and playfully colored furniture to take the perfect picture. There are twin bathtubs couples have sat in and held hands for a photo overlooking the fields in bloom. Or a 1953 Chevy pickup parked in another field, perfect to put in the back of high school senior pictures or pose next to with the family.
Wayward Winds charges $50 for professional photographers to book a session, and most photographers like to book times at sunrise or sunset.
There are also treats! Flavored Italian sodas and snow cones are made by the staff at a small wooden stand in the middle of the fields. There's also an outdoor little market filled with all things Kosel and her team make from scratch at the farm. That includes scone mixes, flavored jams, syrup, honeys and even flavored chocolate sauces. Plus soaps and lotions, and of course, loose leaf lavender for sachets.
But it's the U-cut aspect of bringing that beautiful scent back home with you. Kosel explained the right way to do it.
"When [you're] cutting the lavender, you want to reach in and grab a handful. And you want to cut the stems as long as you can, but leave green on the plant," she said.
At $7.50 a bunch, the fragrance will last in the dried flowers for years.