Where is nothing quite like the experience of walking onto a lavender farm. Rendered almost senseless after inhaling the heady, heavenly aroma that surrounds you, the effect is magical. Relaxing and uplifting at the same time, it reminds us why our ancestors used the flowers for medicinal purposes as well as a perfume. Gourmands also treasure its flavour and aromatics and utilize it as an herb (famously used in the herbs de Provence blend) and to make teas and vinegars etc. Distilling the essential oils from these purple aroma bombs concentrates its powerful essence so that just a few drops is enough to perfume soaps, bath salts, room spray, lotions etc.
Naramata Centre is one of the Okanagan’s most beautiful landscapes and offers a respite from the busy wine world buzzing on the Bench above. This sleepy village is also the home to Forest Green Man Lavender Farm – very apropos since lavender has been used for centuries as a relaxing tonic to soothe the soul and the nerves.
Proprietors Doug Mathias and his Swiss wife Karolina Born-Tschuemperlin are an absolute joy to meet – interesting, intelligent, fun – they graciously welcome guests onto their farm. Creative and musical as well (both play numerous instruments and have formed a local band), together they create over 30 products for sale in their farm shop.
Although Karolina’s roots lie in the beautiful city Basel, Switzerland, Doug’s family has wonderful Okanagan history with his mother Odetta being quite a legend here. Odetta Keating was a chemistry teacher at Penticton High School and also held a miraculous Masters in Agriculture in the early 1960’s – when she also purchased the farm where Forest Green Man now lies. A sign posted in front of the farm shop garden reads “Odetta’s Garden” as tribute to her and the garden that she tended so lovingly.
There are two cottages on the property for rent that are nestled amongst the fruit trees and gardens. Imagine waking up to the sound of sprinklers outside your window and a lavender breeze blowing in through the curtains. Ommmmm…
PS Don’t miss viewing Karolina’s paintings, she is also a very talented artist!
~ Jennifer Schell