01 August 2009

Provence in Texas: A Giveaway!!!

 

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Lavender growing at Darlene Marwitz’s farm - Villa Texas Lavender Farm - on the banks of the legendary Texas river, the Pedernales.   Marwitz also owns the charming Fredericksburg shop - Lavender Market

 

It’s hard to believe but this picture was actually taken in the Texas Hill Country – outside of Fredericksburg off the banks of the Pedernales River.  Just saying those words – Fredericksburg, Pedernales, Hill Country – does something to Texans.   The words conjure up Willie Nelson and Longhorns and Shiner Bock beer and football in the fall  and mesquite trees and Highway 16 and tubing down the river all rolled into one.    Lately though, it includes visions of lavender too.  Blanco, a tiny town in the Hill Country, is considered the capitol of Texas Lavender.  Texas lavender?    The purple plant is relatively new to Texas – the first lavender farm, Blanco’s own Hill Country Lavender, was only recently founded in 1999 after a few Texans thought the terrain resembled Provence.   But the lavender farming idea took off and many small-to-large farms now dot the back roads with fields of beautiful purple plants blooming from May to July.    At the several different lavender festivals that go on during the season, including one that’s held in the fall, you can pick your own lavender, listen to lectures about the virtues of the plant, even eat meals cooked with lavender.   Taking its cue from the Texas Wine Trail there is also now a Texas Lavender Trail where you go from farm to farm to farm and just enjoy the visionary delights of the blooming purple fields. 

 

 

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Cheese, bread and grapes in the lavender fields at Villa Texas Lavender Farm

 

Farming the beautiful fields is not an easy task and tales of droughts and floods that ruined this year’s or that year’s crops are legendary.  But, the lavender business is thriving in the Hill Country judging just by the number of new farms that keep cropping up here and there.  One farm owner,  Darlene Marwitz has a field of her own dreams, Villa Texas,  somewhere between Fredericksburg and Kerrville, on the banks of the Pedernales River.      Fredericksburg is a small town smack in the middle of the Hill Country (though it is weirdly flat in town) and is a quaint shopping destination popular with antique seekers.   Darlene and her husband David spend weekdays in Austin but weekends are spent at Villa Texas, and Darlene also owns a delightful little shop in Fredericksburg.         A lover of all things Italian and an expert on architecture, Darlene opened Lavender Market where she sells a variety of items besides the purple stuff, such as Dash and Albert Rugs and  the Baggallini line.  There is also an online web site to order product from.  The majority of the lavender products that Marwitz sells  is produced in the Texas Hill Country, of course, at the nearby Hummingbird Farms.

 

 

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Villa Texas Lavender Farm

 

My love of the Hill Country is as deep and wide as Texas, so I was thrilled when the Lavender Market contacted me with an offer of a giveaway for my readers!    The giveaway products the Lavender Market chose are from Hummingbird Farms which grows and distills its own nine varieties of lavender on site – while the products are made in Dallas.    Debi and Jack Williams own Hummingbird Farms, located on Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fred.  Besides their five acres of lavender, they tend to longhorns, dogs, horses and other assorted farm animals.  Debi writes the delightful Lavender Chick, where she blogs about the trials and tribulations of being a lavender farmer’s wife.    Hummingbird Farms, though new to lavender, is an old famous Texas farm, where the pioneering Seguin family first tilled its land in 1897, followed by another legendary Texan family – the Schaefers.   Today the Williams carry on that tradition.  The Lavender Market proudly sells  Hummingbird Farms product because it is some of the finest in Texas and their lavender is distilled right on the property – a rarity for most Texas lavender farms.    In fact, it was easy for the Lavender Market to choose the  giveaway – Hummingbird Farms products are their favorite:

 

image The Giveaway

Hummingbird Farms:   Aromatherapy Body Wash in a 12 oz bottle.

Hummingbird Farms:  Aromatherapy Body Lotion in an 8oz bottle.

Hummingbird Farms:  Liquid Hand Soap – lavender essence, aloe and shea butter, 12 fl. oz.

And Lavender Market will include lavender Earl Gray tea packets, and lavender towelettes!

In addition, even if you don’t win the giveaway – during the month of August, all readers will receive 15% off all their purchases at the Lavender Market’s online shop HERE – plus any purchase over $24 gets free shipping!  Feel free to offer this discount to other family members and friends.      Just be sure you use the code:   cotetx7.     

TO ENTER THE GIVEWAY:    YOU MUST GO TO THE WEBSITE HERE AND CHOSE ONE PRODUCT THAT YOU WOULD GET IF YOU WERE GIVEN A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR ANY ITEM.  TELL ME THE ITEM YOU CHOSE IN A COMMENT.  THAT’S ALL!!!!

 

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Hanna, The Marwitz’s Dog and Lavender Market’s Weekend Shop Dog.  What a sweet, sweet face!

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image Hummingbird Farms’ main house on the road between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.  The Lavender Chick has written many times on her blog about her house that was inspired by A. Hays Town, Louisiana’s favorite architect.  Hummingbird Farms grows and distills the lavender for the aromatherapy products they sell at  Lavender Market.

 

imageRecently,  Hummingbird Farm’s Lavender Chick proudly showed off her new lantern hanging over her famous bathtub.  Love this!!!!

 

 

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The lavender fields at Darlene Marwitz’s Villa Texas Lavender Farm on the Pedernales.  Isn’t this just too gorgeous??!!!

 

 

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Harvest time at Villa Texas Lavender Farm on the Pedernales  River.

 

  image  Butterflies are strongly attracted to the lavender’s oils.  Photo taken at Villa Texas Lavender Farm.

 

 

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One of the original lavender farmers in Texas recently published her memoir. The plot:  author Jeannie Ralston, a NY magazine editor meets Texan Robb Kendrick, a National Geographic photographer, gives up big city life and becomes a lavender farmer.  After many years toiling in Texas – the Kendricks move to Mexico. 

Read the first chapter on Amazon here and I defy you not to buy it!

 

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If you are planning a trip to Fredericksburg,  please visit Ann, who writes Hill Country House from Fredericksburg.   Ann is the blogosphere’s resident spokesperson on all things FRED (and my ex sister-in-law!) – so be sure to email her with any questions you might have about a trip to that area or just visit her blog to read all about decor and architecture in FRED.  

 

 

image And My Notting Hill just visited Fredericksburg and stayed at this charming cottage, The White House.  Go here to read all about it.  It has to be the cutest place in FRED!   Maybe not, though – FRED is filled with darling B&B cottages to rent.  

 

image To read all about the history behind Darlene Marwitz’s Villa Texas and Lavender Market visit the main web site here.   There are lots of additional pictures of Villa Texas and a history of the inspiration behind the lavender farm and market.  Darlene’s interests are varied, a true Renaissance woman, who writes her own blog on her many travels to Italy.

 

In Fredericksburg, Lavender Market is located at:  

339 East Main (across from the Nimitz Museum) in Fredericksburg, TX.   The phone number is 830.997.1068.

To visit during peak growing times, the two main festivals are the way to go:

FREDERICKSBURG LAVENDER TRAIL:    www.beckervineyards.com, www.fredtexflavors.com and www.fredericksburg-texas.com

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BLANCO LAVENDER FESTIVAL:   www.blancolavenderfest.com.

 

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Be sure to sign up for the giveaway.  Just leave me a comment telling me what one product you would get if given a gift certificate and I will pick a winner on Wednesday!   Good luck!   The giveaway offer is open only to readers from the United States and Canada.   And remember that during August all Cote de Texas readers get 15% off all products found on the Lavender Market’s online shop here.  Free shipping for orders over $24.     Use the code Cotetx7. 

Thank you so much to Lavender Market for this giveaway, it is much appreciated!   And be sure to leave a comment – you have until Wednesday!   Good luck!!!!

 

 

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Just a reminder –  This week, The Skirted Roundtable welcomes Anna Spiro from Absolutely Beautiful Things.  To listen to the adorable Anna, go here.   You will enjoy every moment of it, I promise you!  She is even cuter than her pink and white interiors!!