Going to a lavender farm isn’t an everyday experience for me, and I’m guessing for most of you too. I visited Loess Hills Lavender Farm near Missouri Valley, Iowa, and can report back that it’s a relaxing experience. Not, like, a relaxing soak in a lavender bath, but relaxing none the less.
Disclosure: This post originally appeared on Oh My! Omaha, and is republished here with permission. This post may contain affiliate links.
Where is Loess Hills Lavender Farm
I’d first heard about Loess Hills Lavender Farm from the now-defunct (or hopefully just paused) Living Loess, a self-guided tour of attractions scattered in the Loess Hills in Southwest Iowa. I never made it to the lavender farm the day we did the tour (instead, we visited an artist’s studio and made some messy botanical art). Long story short, the lavender farm is in the Loess Hills of Souhwest Iowa.
While technically the address says Loess Hills Lavender Farm is in Missouri Valley, it’s about a 9-mile drive outside of the town, just north of the town, actually. The farm’s address is 2278 Loess Hills Trail, Missouri Valley, Iowa. You can’t miss it on the route. There’s a sign for the farm, and the purple fish mailbox is unmissable.
What to expect at a lavender farm
My visit with my son was pretty much a “We’ll see what happens” kind of thing. I thought maybe we could walk around the grounds, and most likely, browse the gift shop.
Luckily our visit was in July, and the farm had lavender in full bloom, so guests could grab a basket and scissors and take off collecting a bunch. The price at our visit was $10 for a bunch. Get your gear at the cashier in the gift shop (you’ll pay when you are finished).
They give you directions on where o snip the stem, so don’t worry about messing up. Or do worry. I’ve had a few gardening incidents in my past, though I did not over trim a thing on this trip. Thankyouverymuch.
Once we had our basket and now knew what to do, my son and I set off. There were a few clusters of people already out snipping lavender, and there was more than enough for all of us. The farm has more than 10 varietals of lavender.
It’s hot with the midday sun bearing down one us, and it’s not shaded at the lavender farm…obviously a necessity for growing lavender. There is a seating area between a few sections of the garden, and you can rest there, for a spell. I’d recommend just heading back to the air-conditioned gift shop if you need to cool off, though.
We stopped to take a few pictures at the photo opps, like the big chair. Overall, we spent about 20 minutes cutting our lavender. There’s a sandbox with kids toys in the field, which could occupy your younger kids. It’s not shaded, though.
Afterward, you return to the gift shop with your bounty and either checkout or give into temptation and browse. There are dozens of products from 40+ vendors, all made from lavender there. And you can sample some of the edible ones (we tried lavender fudge, lavender short bread cookies, and lavender ice cream).
If you plan ahead, you can make a longer experience of things, bringing a small group for a tea party. Or time your visit for the annual LavenderStock Festival (held in mid-July; in 2022, it’s on July 16 and 17).
What do you do with the lavender afterwards?
You’ll receive a helpful sheet of instructions when you purchase the bunch of freshly snipped lavender you just collected at the farm. You can opt to put the stems in water (a short-term solution) or dry the stems for a couple weeks.
I’m in the process of drying my stems right now. I’ve checked out a book from the library, “The Lavender Lover’s Handbook” by Sarah Berringer Bader, and have selected a few recipes to try once my lavender is dry. If you’re feeling crafty, most likely your little bunch is not going to be enough to make a wreath or anything. You’ll need to collect several bunches and dry them for a substantial wreath.
When is peak lavender season?
In Southwest Iowa, lavender starts to bloom in two periods: Late June to mid-July and a secondary bloom in September. The peak time to go to a lavender farm is mid-July, which is conveniently when Loess Hills Lavender Farm is having their LavenderStock Festival.
More about LavenderStock in Iowa
LavenderStock is the big summer event at the Loess Hills Lavender Farm. It’s held over a weekend in mid-July (in 2023, it will be held July 15 and 16). Activities include live music, craft classes, face painting, and demonstrations. Vendors will be set up in the field for shopping, and the gift shop will be open.
Loess Hills Lavender Farm has other events throughout the year, as well as tea parties. Tea parties have to be reserved ahead of time and include an assortment of finger sandwiches as well as lavender tea, lavender lemonade, and lavender cookies.