This past month, I hit the road for a three-hour drive to Blake’s Farm in Armada, Michigan for the 2018 Michigan Lavender Festival! Last year was my first attending and I was thankful for knowing what to expect this time around.
I left GR at about 8 am and grabbed breakfast on the way out of town. I’ve been LIVING for McDonald’s iced coffees in the morning, and a biscuit with jam. I’m trash, I know. The drive across the state was easy peasy, and the weather was beautiful with clear, blue skies. I made it to Blake’s by the open of the day and was able to pull easily into their field parking knowing it would be an easy out when I decided to leave. Parking is one of my number one fears when going out – even in town, I need to know where I’m going to park before I leave or I’m filled with anxiety!
Blake’s Farm has such a neat layout. They have the main market where there is a deli, produce, and gift shopping, which I hit up before hopping in line for the day. Thankfully there were also normal bathrooms on site, versus port-o-potties, which were a godsend after my huge iced coffee!
I made my way to Lovey’s, which is a repurposed house on site that is now a boutique gift shop. They had plenty of lavender and purple goodies on site. Thankfully I was able to stave off temptation in the shop and head over to the Maker’s Market.
The first booth I popped in on was Ovella Wool Balls. I’m very skeptical of handmade wool balls because some I’ve seen have not been felted very well and are prone to unraveling. This was not the case! I didn’t snap too many pics inside their booth, however, I was able to chat with the young daughter of the owner and was able to be her first sale of the day! I purchased a sachet of soap nuts, which I have never seen in the wild but have wanted to sample since learning of them last year.
I’ve been really digging artisan soaps lately and was happy to see a few vendors there with bath products like Blue Lagoon Soaps. I think its a great low-waste alternative to plastic bottled body wash, however, I also tend to be more sensitive to synthetic fragrances since switching to non-toxic products and scents two years ago. I enjoy being able to talk to shop owners about their products from an informed perspective and find that people like being able to talk about their craft.
I then rounded the corner and found heaven – a mobile yarn shop.
Labor of Love Yarn shop was a brick-and-mortar store that recently turned into a wool-on-wheels operation! Inside, they were a bounty of beautiful artisan wools in blues and purples.
The Madeline Tosh unicorn tails are some of my favorite finds. I love Tosh, and it took a ton of restraint to not buy them all! I have so much wool left from 2013/2014 binges that I can’t bear to buy another skein that will sit in a drawer unloved and unmade.
Speaking of wool! There was a booth selling handmade woven and knit goods from their Alpaca farm and they brought along a few of their animals!
In the back corner of the market, Blake’s has a tent classroom and performance area that they keep busy with classes like Urban Beekeeping from Bees in the D, and Gardening from the MSU Extension program. They also had a harpist there, and my was her music beautiful!
There was a beautiful display of outdoor goods and plants, including so many potted lavender plants and succulents! If I had any semblance of a green thumb, I’d buy more, but I’ve already killed the succulent I got from the Junior Chamber for my birthday.
My favorite booth in the market is from the brand Relax with Flax, which has pounds and pounds of lavender available in bags or bundles. I still have plenty left over from the two pounds I purchased last year, however, I did pick up a pound of lavender buds for my pal Sara who is the fantastic soapmaker behind Curly Tail Commodities.
During my wandering, I picked up a few goodies from Motown Soup, a nonprofit that makes and sells food mixes to raise money for soup kitchens, shelters, and food banks. They’ve raised almost $1 million since their start 14 years ago!
After roaming around the market for a few hours, I made my way to their deli to grab a quick lunch of hot dog, chips, and a coke. I found a seat in the shade, which I was so thankful for. It was nearing 90 degrees, and I was feeling almost faint from the heat. I enjoyed my lunch and a lavender lemonade I grabbed on my way out.
After three or four hours, I made my way back home. So glad I’ve started this mid-summer tradition for myself to relax and enjoy some of my favorite flowers.