Lavender is the perfect cash crop for New Mexico as it thrives in the arid West. As long as you care for it correctly, give it a lot of love, plenty of sun, a little bit of water, it will reward you regularly with fragrant blossoms. While it may not create as many jobs as the cannabis industry, it has been fueling small businesses in New Mexico for more than a decade.
For over 13 years the Lavender in the Village Festival, held on Sunday, July 23 in Los Ranchos, has been raising money to help support local farms, agricultural and educational programs. The one-day event attracts over 7,000 people celebrating the plant and its harvest.
“The Lavender in the Village Festival was formed to help support sustainability, local farms and the village of Los Ranchos,” Dean Strober, the festival’s event coordinator, said. “It is not uncommon that our vendors will sell out a product. So, the event definitely does a lot to directly support these small businesses and at the same time supporting the village of Los Ranchos.”
Strober said the event is the largest lavender festival in the Southwest. “We will have close to 110 lavender vendors; farms, lavender lotion, lavender drink, lavender plants, fine art and local artisans - all small businesses based here in New Mexico, many of which are based in Los Ranchos.”
Lavender has a long list of culinary and medicinal uses. Its essential oil is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to heal minor burns and bug bites. Current research, according to Medical News Today, suggests it’s useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness.
There will be three stages at the festival. One will offer nonstop live music, another has agricultural and culinary demonstrations, and seminars revolving around lavender and farming. The third stage will have a mix of yoga classes and more live music.
For the kids, Explora will be there with hands-on educational activities on sustainability and farming. “We also have llamas and hawks. We work to make sure that the experience at the festival is one that's educational, as well as entertaining,” said.
Eight different food trucks offer a mix of everything from vegan options to barbecue, lavender lemonade, lavender cocktails and lavender sangria. “A lot of food utilizes lavender in some creative form,” Strober said. “There’s lavender chocolate, lavender ice cream, lavender macarons and lavender jellies. And a lot of lavender soaps, lavender lotions and beauty products.”
If you’re really into lavender, there’s several other events to celebrate the purple plant that weekend. The festival hosts a Lavender from the Village 5k and 10k run in the morning on Saturday 22nd. There’s a fundraising salsa dance party and performance from 5pm to 8pm that night limited to 250 people. There’s an extensive Park and Ride if someone comes driving a car, as parking is very limited for the festival.
Check out the lavenderinthevillage.org website for more information on park and ride, maps and directions and the festival. If you go, we suggest you wear lavender.
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