Lookout Lavender Farm is not a major business venture. Rather it is a hobby of two owners, Alice and Bill Marrin, who want to share the fruits of their labor with the community and with locals seeking a peaceful afternoon. The couple only purchased the property five years ago when camping at nearby Cloudland Canyon. Says Bill, “Alice saw the property as a sort of ‘Golden Pond’ to get away from it all, relax and be comfortable.” He explained with pleasure that being in a place filled with family traditions, as opposed to transient workers, has meant “hearing stories from way back when from people who have grown up in the area for generations.” Walking amongst the lavender, I picked up on the Marrin’s respect for oral tradition, neighborliness and the land. Bucolic, so often hyperbole, is the perfect description.
Visitors to the farm will see two kinds of lavender: the dwarf culinary lavender bushes and the intermedia lavender that is grown for fragrance. For interested guests, Alice and Bill will explain the lavender growing process and the different uses of lavender. Those merely wanting to sprawl out on a blanket and be at peace are welcome to picnic. Lastly, those seeking in depth knowledge can take a Lavender 101 class. The farm does not offer cooking classes, but I was quickly reminded that now many trendy bars offer signature lavender drinks: lavender mimosas, clementine lavender spritzers, lavender Meyers lemonade and more.
On U-pick days tentatively set for June 8-19, visitors can pick bundles of lavender for $7 apiece; the staff shows visitors how to cut the lavender and provides scissors. Quite honestly, in the past I have found picking fruit to be only mediocre entertainment. I get hot and sticky in the sun, sweat runs down my back, kids whine, the fields can be crowded, and I get scratched. However, the Lavender Farm offers a different environment. As the fields are up on the mountain, partially shaded and off the tourist route, the experience is more akin to nostalgic descriptions in children’s books when there is a soft wind and everyone is happy.
The shop, which is open Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from spring to fall, offers reasonably priced products that go beyond the basic soaps, infusers and lotions.
While I’m a fan of the Chattanooga Market, the little farm store offers items I have never seen for sale in the area. Culinary products include mixes for focaccia skillet bread, Key lime lavender squares, lemon lavender scones, beer bread and more concoctions for the foodie. Local and unusual, many items would make great house gifts. While they can be ordered online, half the pleasure is going to the farm, meeting Alice and Bill and experiencing the calm.
Looking for an easy and quiet getaway, Lookout Lavender Farm might be my new go to spot. It took me back to days of fireflies, roasting marshmallows and kick-the-can in the backyard. Better than a massage, better than a day at a spa, better than schlepping all day to a crowded beach, Lookout Lavender Farm is a treasure. Find more information at lookoutlavender.com.
by Robin Howe