"If you’ve never come to our lavender festival, this is the year to come," said Tracy Ketts, owner of Blue Willow Lavender Farm on Wright-Bliss Road in Vaughn.
This is the eighth and final year of the festival July 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival includes food by Ribtickler, lavender craft classes, music by local groups—including the popular Bluegrass Minstrels—U-pick lavender bouquets, and many lavender products in the country store.
"And lavender ice cream!" said Ketts.
The lavender season ends on Aug. 27, and although she plans to host the Key Peninsula Farm Tour on Oct. 1, she’ll be moving out and moving on with her life soon after, including getting married and making her home in California.
Ketts and her late husband, Bill, came to Washington to start a "house church" in friend Mike Walsh’s home in 2008. It took them four years of prayer, study and consideration to make the leap to become church organizers and lavender farm growers.
Ketts wanted to name the farm Blue Willow, but Bill said she needed to find and grow such a plant if they were to use that name. She did, and planted the farm's sign near the roadside lavender beds.
"You never know what the tide will bring in," said Ketts about this new chapter of her life. Bill died two years ago after an unexpected diagnosis of leukemia. An apparently strong healthy man succumbed to the rare disease in a few short months.
Ketts knew she didn’t want to spend the rest of her days as a single woman, but felt she was trying to work a puzzle with a missing piece. She prayed, she said, but had no clue what her future held. Meanwhile, she took care of her lavender business.
She visited family in California last January and took another trip down in April. Before Ketts arrived that time, her sister called with the news their mom had died. The trip was extended to take care of a funeral and other business.
Ketts always borrowed a car to use there from longtime friend Wayne Biller. In what seemed a brief time, friendship turned to love, and they became engaged.
"I’ve learned, but have to keep relearning, to not calculate without pushing the God button," she said, meaning she shouldn’t make plans without "checking with God."
Ketts will sell individual lavender plants on a "you dig" basis for $2 each beginning July 15. She is willing to sell the business, but not the name of Blue Willow. The property belongs to Walsh.
Pictures of lavender fields, products and crafts may be seen at bluewillowlavenderfarm.com
The church organized by Bill Ketts, Grace Church of Key Peninsula, now meets in Wauna. For more information, call 225-9030.
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