You may have noticed the enchanting lavender fields at Capay Valley Lavender, located in the western part of Yolo County, CA. Sherri Wood, a “FarmHer” in Capay Valley has a 28-acre organic farm with five acres of lavender fields. This ambitious San Francisco transplant also has plans for another two acres of lavender and 14 acres of olives within the next 18 months.
Moving from San Francisco, Sherri first bought her dream property, an acre in a rural area, and next bought the surrounding acreage to complete her farm. After researching several crops including almonds, fruit and olives, Sherri attended a three-day Lavender Conference and knew after the first day she had found her new passion and calling.
Sherri also has a great love for Capay Valley, “It’s an agricultural oasis filled with people who care about the land, care about the impact of their farming, care about their families. I feel blessed to have come across this valley, and with its Mediterranean climate. Lavender grows well and uses very little water.”
More than just growing her farm, Sherri has felt a lot of personal growth too. “I have learned a lot about myself during the past five years; I have had to learn patience and acceptance.” She’s learned she has to order the lavender plants four months in advance as they are “grown to contact.”
Sherri grows three different varieties at Capay Valley Lavender. One is strictly to showcase Landscape Lavender, which many folks have in their yards. It’s grown mainly for its color and has no other uses. The second variety is Intermedia Lavender, also known as French Lavender. It’s grown for bundles, buds and essential oil. Capay Valley Lavender’s English Lavender is their culinary lavender, used for food products and cosmetic grade essential oil.
Not only does Capay Valley Lavender grow and harvest their lavender, they also distill the essential oil in their own copper stills and dry the buds. From the oil and buds, they make a number of products and they’re always inventing. “I’m having so much fun creating new products – almost monthly – as we learn what people want to buy,” explains Sherri.
Another project Sherri is working on is a Monarch butterfly sanctuary. “I was shocked to read that the most recent count of Western Monarch Butterfly is down to 1% of its known population,” explained Sherri. Last November, her team put in a hedgerow of 300 native California plants with a focus on pollinator and butterfly habitat and food. They’re very excited to see if the Monarchs will come this summer.
Guests are welcome to drop in for a self-guided tour and enjoy about a 30-minute walk through the fields. Sherri serves lavender scones in the morning, lavender brownies in the afternoon and lavender lemonade towards the evening.
Photographers are welcome as well. Photographers are available for about $100 an hour and Sherri provides a bathroom and changing room for about 3-4 guests to use. Many guests also enjoy a picnic while there.
The season runs from February with a full bloom in May and a harvest in June. They even host a Lavender Festival there the last weekend in May over Memorial Day Weekend, where you can get your own lavender bundle. They sell their handmade lavender products too, a sugar scrub being their most popular product.
Capay Valley Lavender focuses on supporting locals as most of their employees are Yolo County residents and they also partner with other local businesses. For example, they get their olive oil from Grumpy Goat Olive Oil in Yolo County. You can buy their products in their online store or on event days at the farm.
If you have a great love for lavender like Sherri, then visiting Capay Valley Lavender needs to be at the top of your things to do in Capay Valley, CA. It’s just 26 minutes to the farm from Winters. It’s about an hour from Clarksburg, CA, so put it on your list for things to do in Clarksburg, CA, too.
When you travel in the area, she also recommends enjoying a scenic drive. “The Valley is stunning – it is narrow as 2.5 miles at some points and wide open at others,” offered Sherri. If you have time to drive past Cache Creek Casino Resort you will be in for a treat. For something fun to do nearby in Yolo County, there’s a cute café called Commons Farm Kitchen, sometimes known as Rustic BBQ, mid-way in the Valley in Guinda that was built in 1928.
What’s left on Sherri’s Yolo County bucket list? She confessed that she’d love to take a hot air balloon ride perhaps for her 70thbirthday. She has been enamored with hot air balloons since seeing them in France.
Pack your bags and leave a little room in your suitcase for some lavender products. Capay Valley Lavender awaits along with a number of easy and relaxing lodging options for your next adventure.
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