Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, in Arlington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, in Arlington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

ARLINGTON — Pick a bucket of blueberries, trim a bunch of lavender, or marvel at an eye-popping field of dahlias.

Those are just a few of the activities Arlington-area farms are offering for the first-ever Arlington Farm Tour Weekend which continues today and Sunday. It’s a new event to highlight the contributions of local farms.

At Arlington Lavender Farm, visitors can walk on a purple hillside abuzz with bees or stop by the farm store. It’s stocked with lavender soaps, lotions, lip balms, candles and more.

Owners Mike and Shantae Bobcock started the farm eight years ago. They offer U-Pick lavender and distill the plant for essential oils for their house-made lavender products.

“I use every part of the field,” Mike Babcock said.

The farm is only one of a few lavender operations in Snohomish County. The crop prefers the dry, sunny weather of the Sequim area, where a festival is held each year. Growers here have to innovate. For example, Arlington Lavender Farms planted lavender atop mounds to keep roots dry, Mike Babcock said.

The farm is open Mother’s Day through the end of August, with peak bloom in July. An online store offers products throughout the year. Visitors can also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy near the blooms.

“One of our favorite things is watching people enjoy the fields,” Shantae Babcock said.

This weekend, Arlington Lavender Farm has extended hours. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at 20129 Tveit Road.

Just down the street is the simply and accurately named Pretty Flower Farm. The fields are bursting with dahlias, a late summer flower with blooms from deep velvety red to orange and pink.

The farm grows more than 150 dahlia varieties using organic methods, said farmer Zhanna Andreyanov. In the spring, peonies and tulips are the stars.

“As far as flowers, I have very bad self control,” she said. “I plant, plant and plant.”

Andreyanov grew up in Russia where her father was a tulip farmer. She immigrated to the United States in 2000 at the age of 13.

“I pretty much grew up in a greenhouse,” she said.

Andreyanov started Pretty Flower Farm four years ago and has expanded to 1 1/2 acres. The business sells to local florists and in bulk quantities at a wholesale market in Seattle.

On Saturday, the farm will be open to visitors to walk the fields from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 20128 Tveit Road. Bouquets are available at the farm’s self-serve flower shed throughout the week.

At Hazel Blue Acres, the farm’s three varieties of blueberries (Draper, Liberty and Reka) are ripe for picking. You can pick your own or have a team of high-school employees do it for you.

In the rows of plants on Friday, John Allyn pulled a small wagon with his blueberry haul. He aimed to pick 10 to 15 pounds, planning to freeze most of the berries to eat later.

“It is less expensive (than the store) and it’s fun,” he said.

Hazel Blue Acres co-owner Karen Fuentes said this year’s crop is smaller due to a cold and rainy spring which disrupted pollination. The U-Pick has still been busy. She said some customers become blueberry converts after picking their own, which are more flavorful than the store-bought variety.

The farm is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays at 430 Hevly Road.

Find a full event schedule at stillyvalleychamber.com/arlington-farm-tour-weekend-august-11-14th.

Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; jacqueline.allison@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jacq_allison.

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