Artisans display their work
From the left: Cathy Major, Vic and Mary Lou Leroux, Suzanne Ross and Erica Taylor share a socially distanced moment at the check out booth at Lou Lou Lavender. Staff photo
WILLIAMSTOWN – It was a short but beautiful lavender 2020 season at Lou Lou Lavender located just north of Williamstown in South Glengarry. Owned by Vic and Mary Lou Leroux, the field of sweet-smelling lavender had a steady stream of customers on July 4, u-pick’s opening day. Customers seemed to enjoy the picturesque landscape, picking the lavender blooms and looking over the selection of local artisan products for sale.
Mary Lou explained in a recent email to the Eastern Ontario AgriNews how the lavender season this year was a bit shorter with the u-pick closing July 8, which could have been due to the lack of moisture. She continued that the season usually runs “between the last week of June and into the first two weeks of July.”
Lou Lou Farms has several varieties of lavender grown on the farm including Phenomenal, Munstead, Folgate, Hidcote, Grosso and Melissa, with co-owner Vic explaining how this herb has many uses; which range from culinary flavouring to being a component of flower arrangements and to be used as a fragrance ingredient as wellness products. Vic commented how lavender is reputed to “soothe the soul.” He mentioned you can even make lavender lemonade utilizing the herb’s buds, with recipes for this drink available on the internet.
Vic described the process of growing lavender as a three-year project. The first year is spent preparing the soil, then planting the seeds and ensuring there is an adequate supply of water, as the plants have to be kept wet; while in the second year the plants need to be kept relatively dry. By the third year the plants are large enough to harvest and can be harvested for up to 10 years.
Mary Lou and Vic are involved in fundraising activities on the farm to benefit local organizations raising $1,377 for Carefor Cornwall Hospice during an Essentrics event with Heather Hughes on July 1 and raising $750 for Maison Baldwin House with the sale of Lavender Lemon cookies and ice cream on July 4. Mary Lou commented how the “community was extremely generous” to these organizations.
The community minded couple also support local artisans during their season. Vic explained several photographers were able to book photo sittings at Lou Lou Lavender a week before u-pick started and during the u-pick season, many local artisans are able to promote their work at the check out booth. These include Cathy Major, an artist whose work includes several barn quilts, Suzanne Ross of Zanne Designs with lavender inspired jewelry and Erica Taylor from Black Mare Studio with her pottery. Other artisans, whose work is available on site are Cindy Danaher of Beleaf Creations, Deborah MacKay from dlm Designs and Deirdre Cuggy of Deirdre Cuggy Art Barn. While the lavender season is over at Lou Lou Lavender, there is little doubt many are looking forward to the 2021 season when the scent of lavender will hover over the plants lovingly cared for by Mary Lou and Vic.