FITCH BAY, Quebec (WCAX) Imagine yourself surrounded by a sea of blue lavender. You can do just that at the Bleu Lavande Lavender Farm, in Fitch Bay, Quebec, just north of Newport. The lavender festival is in full swing this weekend.
Garden expert Charlie Nardozzi: It's gorgeous, Patricia, can you tell us a little of the history of the Bleu Lavender Farm?
Patricia Fartaish/Bleu Lavande: It was started by an idea of planting and blue flower in this area, in these beautiful fields by the original founder, Mr. Pellerin. And a lot of people were saying, 'OK, we're in the province of Quebec, we do have to deal with four seasons, did you think about the winter?' So like any idea, he decided to go ahead, and the first winter after working the soil in the fields, he was hit with an ice storm. Over 100,000 plants that were planted, we lost 60,000. So instead of abandoning the idea, he said, 'OK, we'll figure this out. We have to find a way to protect our plants for the winter.' So he put some straw and tarp, to protect. The wind blows the snow around so we need to trust our tarps, anchor them down in the soil and fair enough it worked.
So we opened to the public in 2004, and look around you now. It's in full bloom. We have three varieties here in the farm, we have the munstead, we have lavendin, and last year, we added the Afghan lavender in June. To complement our bloom for the season, until the end of September.
Charlie Nardozzi: And how many acres of lavender do you have?
Patricia Fartaish: Forty-two acres including all of the buildings, the boutique, the house, the distillery, etc.
WCAX's Sharon Meyer: And this is the peak season for them, isn't it?
Patricia Fartaish: It is the peak season for our tourists to come and see them because out of the three varieties, the munstead is always the first one to bloom. And then the lavendin picks up, and that overlaps on the munstead. So at one point, we do the harvest of the munstead, we have the lavendin blooming, and once we are done with the harvest of the lavendin, we have the Afghan lavender that will bloom until the end of September, and even the beginning of October.
Charlie Nardozzi: And what do you do with all of the lavender?
Patricia Fartaish: Some of it, the munstead, which is the one that is very popular, in the field where we are standing right now, we extract pure lavender oil. And that lavender oil is definitely going into a lot of our products. In our store, we have lavender oil in all of our products, added to natural products and we don't have any perfume in our products. So we work with Mother Nature in all of its natural beauty.
Sharon Meyer: I understand you have massages here, too!
Patricia Fartaish: Yes we do! So people can call in, reserve a time and on site, which is also available without reservations, first come, first served, is the ankle and foot massage.
Sharon Meyer: And that's with lavender oil?
Patricia Fartaish: Yes, of course! So you're overlooking the mountains and the lavender fields, it's simply gorgeous.
Sharon Meyer: It doesn't get much prettier than that... So, if somebody wants to grow this in their backyard, is it hard?
Patricia Fartaish: I would say it's quite easy. It is a perennial, so it's made to be outside. The roots need to be taking into the soil, to the new area where it's planted, and it's very, very easy because it basically needs a whole lot of sun, the more the better. It does need rain, but not so you will have to water in your garden every day. It doesn't like humidity, it doesn't like to have its roots in water, so that's why we recommend putting a little mound, so it will be upward, to allow good drainage of the water. And we also recommend trimming the stems like you see here, once a year, at the end of August, beginning of September. If they forget, not a problem, they can do it in the spring. And winter, well when winter comes, again, it's a perennial, so it's not taking your plant into the house. Definitely. We recommend snow. So Mother Nature puts snow on it, very good. During the winter, we do have beautiful sunny days, so if the snow starts melting on the plant and you would see some part of your plant showing, just take a shovel and put more snow on it. And in May, when the heat and the sun takes over for the next season, well there you go, you start getting beautiful stems, beautiful flowers.
Sharon Meyer: And if you don't want to do all of that, you just come back here for a visit!
Patricia Fartaish: Yes, ma'am! Of course, we'll be very happy to greet you.