Picking your own flowers, like picking your own mate, ensures that you grab the most attractive specimen with the least amount of bug damage. Drive your aromatic destiny with today's Groupon: for $10, you get five U-Pick bouquets of lavender at Mountainside Lavender in Hillsboro. This Groupon expires on August 14.
Mountainside Lavender, a family-run farm on the slopes of Chehalem Mountain, flows with idyllic fields of pastel blossoms ripe for the gathering under the distant shadows of Mount Hood. Aromatic adventurers, toting kids and friends or striking out solo, can glean five tricolor bouquets of more than 100 stems each by selectively plucking blooms from more than 20 varieties of pink, white, and purple shades of lavender populating the farm’s hills. The floral stems can be used in fragrant potpourri, woven into a wreath, or simply stuffed up the nose for permanent aromatherapy. Lay out a blanket amid the fields for a picnic, or set up an easel to paint a Creature from the Purple Lagoon illustration inspired by the lush tableau of gently waving flowers and mountainous countryside beyond.
When not plucking the bounty of the verdant and violet hills, lavender gatherers can observe floral transformation at work by peering in at the farm’s oil distillation process or investigating the creation of wreaths and wands. Mountainside Lavender also transforms its crops into products bursting with potent pops of aroma, from soporific eye pillows to peacefully perfumed beauty products to bottles of skunk repellant.
Come late July, plumes of lavender-scented steam arise from Mountainside Lavender’s still and drift through the cool mountain air. As the season winds down, the farm’s experts set to work extracting the essential oils from their crop via the millennia-old practice of steam distillation. With more than 20 varieties of french and english lavender dotting the side of Chehalem Mountain, farmers have more than enough buds to choose from for their small batches of oil, which many prize for its calming effects. What doesn’t end up bottled may debut in the farm’s selection of handmade soaps, massage oils, and eye pillows.
In addition to incorporating the potent herb into therapeutic goods, farmers open their fields to visitors, who can gather bunches of english and french lavender varietals that burst into purple, pink, and white blooms. They also welcome guests to pause from plucking, smelling, or explaining the concept of private property to bumblebees so they can savor a picnic lunch while soaking up views of Mount Hood and Saint Helens.