Spotlight on Bluestone Meadow
It’s right there in the name; the Apple Hill Growers are probably best known for their mouthwatering apples. However, there’s more to the area farms than that signature crop. In fact, summer is a great time to see the rolling fields of purple lavender flowers at Bluestone Meadow. Not only is the farm home to the annual Lavender Blue Festival in June, but the event is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
The history of the property goes earlier than the 20th century. The ranch site was originally occupied in the late 1860s and was known as the “Oak Grove Ranch.” The Pony Express used the old ranch house as a relay stop given its prime location two miles from Placerville. Bluestone was named after the blue rock that is found on the property. It is believed to be the rock deposits from the “Deep Blue Lead” goldmine, which was one of the richest gold strikes in the area.
The farmers who managed the land in the 1950s ran a large pear orchard and distribution center, but a bad pear blight destroyed most of the crop. Parcels of land were sold off and varieties of apples, grapes and pumpkins continue to grow on those plots today. In 2010, John and Carolyn Havicon established Bluestone Meadow from a portion of the original Madden Ranch.
Focusing on lavender makes Bluestone Meadow a unique farm in the area. Their lavender’s delightful scent has been linked to health benefits like managing migraines, soothing anxiety and improving sleep. Plus, the flowers are simply beautiful!
Inspired by lavender farms around the world, the Havicons began celebrating the flowers with their first Lavender Festival in 2012. The inaugural event didn’t generate as much interest as they had hoped, but they stuck with it, growing the festival to the fun and popular event it is today.
Part of that success is their partnership with Rainbow Orchards, whose blueberries give the festival the “blue” in its name. The festival is a great example of the camaraderie between the Apple Hill Growers. They aren’t all competitors – they want each other to grow and succeed. The event has gone from the Havicons selling six lavender bouquets at the first festival to more than 700 bouquets last year.
“We love being an active part of the Apple Hill Grower community and are so grateful for the friendships that we have made along the way,” Carolyn said. “John and I are thrilled to be celebrating our 10th anniversary in our lavender farm adventure. We are looking forward to another great festival and seeing long time customers and first-time visitors.”
This year’s Lavender Blue Festival will be held on June 18 and 19 and June 25 and 26. Visit www.bluestonemeadow.com for more details and reservations and stay tuned to the Apple Hill Blog for updates on all the fun planned for this year’s festival – including additional participating farms, special offers and more.