InApril 2016, Joseph Downs stood on his bare ten-acre property in East Wenatcheewith tiny lavender starts in his hands. The six-foot eight-inch tall formerbasketball player had some back-breaking work ahead of him with his newlavender farm to-be.

Now,in 2019, the Lavender Estates is a vast field of purple with forty-fivevariants of lavender nicely established. Altogether, there are one-hundred andseventy-five of variants of lavender in the world.

Thesoil in the Wenatchee area is optimal for growing lavender: the sandy loamoffers good drainage for the dry-loving plant. Downs grew up on a farm inQuincy and knows all there is to know about making things grow. Besides that,he did extensive research regarding lavender and the result is a thrivingplantation.

Peggy havesting lavendar

Downsselected two different types of lavender: culinary as well as health and beauty.That’s right: the edible kind. Most of us think of lavender as a scent, but itmakes a nice addition to herbal mixes, baked goods and much more. And it’s goodfor you.

“Justbecause lavender lends a light touch, it shouldn’t be used in profusion,” Downspointed out in an interview last year. “I encourage people to go easy with itso it remains a pleasant complement, not an overpowering main flavor.”

Growinglavender is no light task. Downs has had to work long hours planting, weeding,watering, harvesting and making the products – on his own initially, and now,with some help.

Lavender on drying rack

Oncethe Lavender Estates was nicely established, Downs bought another property nearQuincy, at Crescent Bar, overlooking the Columbia River from on top of a hill.The second plantation is called Lavender Ranch.

Downsis a community-minded person, always looking for ways to welcome visitors and tooffer a venue for a nice time. His Autumn Harvest and Christmas parties areannual events and he is adding more. This summer, Downs hosted the PoetryPodium group as well as the Urban Sketchers at the Lavender Estates in EastWenatchee.

Poetry in the Garden

 For the poetry session, he placed benches andtables in the shade of a tent and set up a refreshment stand. The evening waswell attended and enjoyed in the gentle breeze and with the views of thelavender and the hills beyond, all in shades of purple as the sun was setting.

A lavender basket

TheLavender Estates is an excellent location for most any event, be it a familygathering or a wedding. Downs will provide seats, tables, tablecloths and evena stereo for special occasions.  He requiresa two-week advance notice to make sure everything is just so. Currently the EastWenatchee Farm is more suitable for outdoor events until Downs completes thework on the large barn-like structure.

TheLavender Ranch at Crescent Bar, being the newer property, currently displaysthirty-five different varieties of lavender. Downs also created alabyrinth-style walking path to display the different types of the plant.

Thered barn-like building at the Ranch is air-conditioned and heated and can accommodateup to one hundred attendees. When outdoors, Downs can host up to one hundredand fifty people.

The view from Crescent Bar

Thevenues are available free of charge for community groups such as the Boy orGirl Scouts, art groups and other organizations. He is planning on creatingwalking paths on both properties to allow for pleasant strolls and ease ofenjoying the grounds.

Downswelcomes visitors by appointment as he is busy working on both properties. Manyof his products are available for purchase at the East Wenatchee Estates aswell as online at

Thisfall The Lavender Estates in East Wenatchee is going to be the venue for theannual Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 26. The day will includeactivities, crafts and treats.

OnSaturday, November 16, the public can visit the Crescent Bar Ranch at the “Meetthe Makers” event. It will be a day for the community to meet the people whouse Downs’ lavender in their products such as honey, baked goods and cider aswell as to purchase his lavender items.

Youcan find the Lavender Estates in East Wenatchee at 980 Webb Place South, threemiles east of the Pangborn Airport.

TheLavender Ranch at Crescent Bar if off Stuhmiller Rd off Highway 28, right atthe railroad bridge. Look for the large red barn up on the hill.

Youcan contact Joseph Downs via email at columbiabasin.culinary@gmail.comor call (509)797-3904.

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