Cherry Valley

Lavender Season Starts Now (or Very, Very Soon)

The fragrant favorite will soon be popping around Cherry Valley, Ojai, and other spectacular SoCal spots.

Highland Springs Ranch & Inn

Somewhere after January's beautiful cactus flowers, the ones that bloom in the deserts soon after the new year begins, but before the mountains are lush with lupine loveliness, other blossoms make a spectacular showing around Southern California.

And while these specimens run the glorious gamut, from the Antelope Valley's April-bright poppy season to the cultivated colors of The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, May may be our most purple period of the year.

Gaze up, to the jacaranda trees around Los Angeles, and look to places like Cherry Valley and Ojai, which are gearing up for their large-scale lavender seasons.

Lavender, yes, is something of a June spectacle, but some of the festivities inspired by the fragrant superstar begin early, all to treat lavender lovers who just can't wait another moment for an herb-vacious adventure.

123 Farm at Highland Springs Ranch & Inn understands our lav-y love, making it one of the ultimate regional road-tripping spots themed to the powerful grower.

So get excited, if amethyst-hued expanses make your heart beat a bit faster: The Lavender Festival opens at the Cherry Valley agricultural center, "the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California," on Friday, May 6.

Important to know? May 6 to 22 is considered the "pre-bloom" period, meaning admission is free during this window (note that parking is additional).

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If you do choose to visit during the middle of May, you'll be able to enjoy the other lavender-themed delights, like food and shopping, but not the blooming fields.

Again, the fields will be rather lavender-less through the end of May 2022, if you want to wait, but stopping by through May 22? Again, totally free (though do show with funds for food and shopping, if you like.)

But get excited: The lavender blossoms will begin to bloom in late May, and by June and early July?

The photogenic flowers should be looking quite robust.

Guided tours, the chance to snack upon festive foodstuffs redolent with lavender, and shopping in the marketplace, which is festooned with lav-lovely finds, are part of the happening, which is open, on select days, through July 31, 2022.

You'll need to reserve a ticket before you go, even if you visit during the free period. Fridays and weekend days after May 22 will cost a few dollars more than entering on a weekday.

Do learn what to expect before booking your spot, and read up on the parking fee, too.

The site also features a menu full of lavender-centered dishes, including a Lavender-Braised Beef Brisket Sandwich, a Lavender Falafel Burger, and Strawberry Lavender Funnel Cake.

And perusing the organic shop? That, too, can be previewed on the 123 Farm site.

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