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Lavender fields forever in Escalon

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Lavender fields forever in Escalon

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POSTED May 26, 2012 1:19 a.m.

ESCALON - You don’t have to cross the pond by plane and travel miles to France to “experience the allure of lavender.”

From Manteca, you need only drive about 20 miles east on East Highway 120 or River Road in Ripon to get to the expansive garden of 44 varieties of lavender in rural Escalon called “Lavender Hollow Farm.” By the time you reach McBride Avenue where you continue the short drive along a meandering narrow two-lane country road, you can practically smell the entrancing fragrance of lavenders wafting from in the breeze. A nondescript sign along the road directs you to enter into a narrow unpaved driveway and into a breathtaking view of lavender fields below. There’s a reason why the word Hollow is part of the name given to this oversized version of the fictional Secret Garden. From a vantage point just inside the entrance, you have an almost bird’s-eye view of the hollowed fields of lavender blossoms, with a glimpse of a picturesque garden in front of a French chateau-like two-story manor with three prominent dormers, and a rustic barn that is actually home to the farm’s boutique.

The only bad news, if you can call it that, lies in the fact this bit of France’s allure is not open year-round. Owners Bill and Alice Taylor, who labored for years creating this magical garden in the shadow of Sierra foothills, open the gates of their lavender farm for only a few weeks in the spring when the lavenders are in their peak blooming season. And that’s not every day; only from Friday to Sunday. This year, Lavender Hollow Farm opened to the public on May 25. You can enjoy the sun-kissed lavenders, meander through the rows of sweet-smelling lavender blossoms, not to mention shopping in person inside the Farm’s boutique filled with everything lavender – from bunches of dried fresh lavenders and potted lavenders to bring home and plant in your home garden, to a host of handcrafted lavender products and gifts and palate-pleasing treats such as lavender butter cookies.

Business hours at Lavender Hollow Farm are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission is free.

Online, the lavender farm’s electronic gates are open 24/7 the rest of the year. Log on to www.lavenderhollowfarm.com for more information including various classes offered on everything lavender.

Rose Albano Risso

209 staff reporter

 

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