Lavender Love: The Purple Golden State

Ojai, and a number of ranches, will spotlight the fragrant favorite in the weeks ahead.

LAVENDER IN THE AIR: What are the signs, as you amble through a new neighborhood, that there's a patch of lavender nearby? Maybe it is that singular fragrance, which can only be described as "lavender-like." Maybe you spy a bee, or three, buzzing by on their way to clocking in for the day at the nearest lavender bush. Or perhaps you spy a streak of purple, through some shrubs, and you know that while there are a host of purple-pretty flowers in this world, the purple of lavender is, well, to say it again, lavender-like and incredibly singular. But you don't need to wait for a chance lavender encounter on your next visit to a never-visited-before street; California ups its lavender game each May and June, with a full-on Ojai festival indulging in all things herb-a-licious. The 2017 festival is on...

SUNDAY, JUNE 24... at Ojai's Libbey Park, and it will boast "over 100 vendors" on the grounds. And if you're just betting that loads of those vendors'll be purveying in lavender soaps and bath oils and pot pourris and wearables and beverages, you're as right as a bee buzzing in sunshine. (Which is a pretty right thing, as right things go, all told.) The only course of action, if you're in love with lavender, is to pay the fest a visit, or make a plan to make a pilgrimage to a ranch or farm that is open to lavender-obsessed lookie-loos. One such spot, not far from Chico, in Biggs, is the aptly named Lavender Ranch. Look also to Keys Creek Lavender Farm, in Valley Center, Pageo Lavender Farm, in Turlock, and Clairmont Farms in Los Olivos for more purple majesty. One note before setting off on your lav daydream? Check dates and hours for the farm you're hoping to visit.

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