The lavender farm
I'm crazy about lavender, but I don't get to see much of it in eastern Montana. So one of my first stops when I arrived for my visit in the Seattle area was the Woodinville Lavender farm.
I've been following them on Facebook and reading about the lavender ice cream bars, the calls for volunteers to help cut lavender, and various activities that make me smell lavender all the way over in Montana. It's a sweet smell, but one better savored near an actual lavender plant.
Unfortunately for me, September is past the lavender season, but I enjoyed walking in the rain among the trimmed plants. They are pretty even after they lose their blossoms.
And of course, this being Western Washington, there were a few plants that did still bloom.
Inside the shop is where you find the full fragrance of lavender. You can also buy dried buds, essential oil, cookbooks and how-to books on growing lavender, and of course the longed-for lavender ice cream bars.
If you're in the area, be sure to stop in!
The French bakery
Down the road is The Vineyard, a fully stocked French bakery, although you might have to slow down to see it. It's nestled among tractors, which I didn't find odd at all since I see big machinery everywhere in Montana.
Marilyn, my hostess, says her husband cannot see the bakery. He has a kind of male blindness that only allows him to focus on the tractors. So just a warning: do not send a man to pick up the brioche for your fancy French dinner. He might come home with farm equipment instead.
And anyway, why wouldn't you go yourself? The brioche is fantastic, making outstanding toast and French toast. I found tasty Opera Cake, which you just don't see all that often. (Note that I have included a link to a recipe. But having made this myself, I can only warn that it is far easier to buy the cake and with much better-looking results.) Coconut cream tarts, cookies, eclairs . . . all the usual goodies in delightful display and good taste.