It is summer, and lavender is in the air! Follow your nose to the Fourth Annual Central Coast Lavender Festival, held on July 14 at the Downtown Paso Robles City Park from 10am to 5pm. This free event highlights an emerging California product and its producers from across the county. Taste examples of lavender cuisine, smell quality essential oils, sample delicious dipping sauces, try botanically inspired ice cream, and learn about sustainable farming practices. Attend seminars distilling the fragrant flower, and take part in the talks, lectures and demonstrations at the City Park Gazebo. In addition to the floral fanfare, the festival will feature a juried arts show, children’s activities, and a bouquet of food and crafts vendors.
Lavender, from the genus Lavandula and a part of the mint family, is commonly used as an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, sedative, and stomach settler. Growing between 2-3 feet tall, this perennial herb sports purple-blue flower that cluster in spikes at the tops of stems, emitting a pleasant and relaxing scent. The plant originates from the Old World, native to land spanning from the Canary Islands across Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, Arabia, India, northern and eastern Africa, and Cape Verde.
English, Dutch, and French lavender are most often used for the production of essential oils and as ornamental vegetation. The flowers yield nectar that when pollinated by bees, makes for a highly sought after variety of honey. The blooms can also be candied, steeped in tea, pressed into extracts, and used as confection decorations.
Take your family to Paso Robles for a little floral fun!