By Laura Weisskopf Bleill
If you’re like me, when you think of lavender, you have some fantasy of France and lavender fields for miles and miles. And if you google lavender fields, that’s generally what you will find and see.
Central Illinois is not France, of course. But there’s still something quite breathtaking about seeing a field of lavender. It is a peaceful, calming beauty, especially when you are used to seeing nothing but corn and beans.
Recently we picked our own lavender at Two Sisters Farm in LeRoy.
It wasn’t a very long outing – there’s no frills on that farm, no games or gimmicks – but it was a fun outdoor family bonding activity.
We also had prepared ahead of time by researching ways we might use what we picked. (Ultimately we put it in vases around the house and called it a victory.) Think about how much lavender you really need and what you will do with it. There are many crafts you can do with kids and lavender, and you can even get ahead on your holiday gift making if that’s your jam.
Picking lavender isn’t the same as picking fruit. It doesn’t have that immediate benefit of being able to eat it right away. And many lavender related projects often require it to be dried; it takes about 7-10 days to dry it.
As it turns out, picking lavender is a bit like gardening in someone else’s yard, except we didn’t have to worry about weeding. We remembered to bring our own clippers; the kind folks at Two Sisters will provide some. If you have multiple kids, I recommend bringing your own especially as they might not have enough to lend.
The barn at the farm is old and weathered, yet charmingly quaint and old-school. We spent some time looking around at the lavender items for sale, and drinking lavender lemonade.
A few tips if you go:
— Like with any u-pick experience, be prepared to GET HOT. You are in the middle of a field, in the summer, in Central Illinois, for goodness sake. Bring plenty of water, have everyone wear a hat, and put on that sunscreen.
— Closed toe shoes are recommended.
— Where there are plants, there are bugs. And bees. Be aware.
— There are no bathrooms on site. Go ahead of time, and be ready to stop at one when you leave.
— Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash.
— Most You-picks prefer cash and checks, and Two Sisters Lavender is no different.
Check out the Two Sisters Lavender Facebook page for more info on You-Pick days and times. They offer this only on very specific days. The farm is located at 30990 East 100 North Road, Leroy, IL, just off Route 150, between Leroy and Farmer City. Look for the sign on Route 150, and then watch for the white barn (and rows of lavender.
If you want to make a day of it in the LeRoy/Farmer City area, here are some other ideas:
– Go to Moraine View State Recreation Area.
– Go to Dewey’s Drive-in in Farmer’s City for food or ice cream. A local favorite.
– Check out the wind farms. They fascinate kids!
Want to pick your own strawberries? There still might be opportunities to do that in Central Illinois.
Check out our listings of where to pick your own blueberries within a reasonable distance of Champaign-Urbana.