June Blooms with Spring KP Farm and Garden Tour

An opportunity that cross-pollinates farming on the peninsula with the community.


It could not have been a more beautiful day for the first-ever “June Blooms” spring farm tour event June 8. Each of the eight farms featured was clothed in bright, beautiful shades of green, bursting with life, and ready to engage families who came ready for adventure.

The Bill Family Farm of Wauna is home to Nigerian dwarf milk goats, a pack of corgis, a whole host of farm animals, and Leona Lisa, the force behind the Key Peninsula Farm Council’s farm tours. She and her husband, Jonathan Bill, operate the small family farm, selling handcrafted soaps, farm meats, and eggs, while also mentoring others trying to find their niche in the KP farming community. They sent every visitor off with a free plant start and a new appreciation for the many possibilities for farming.

Astrid’s Lavender Farm near Glencove has its roots in Astrid Graham’s childhood chasing butterflies through fields of flowers in El Salvador, and it grew in tandem with a love story between her and her husband, Don Graham. They chose the KP for a retirement relocation because of Don’s familiarity growing up in the area. Once settled, they began looking for a new endeavor. They found a mentor in Victor Gonzalez from Sequim, who provided their first plants. Six years later, they have grown to include seven varieties and three thousand plants spread over 10 acres.

A tour through the farm and the manicured planting on a terraced, sun-drenched slope above the gift shop showcased their distillates, crafts, and lavender products, including samplings of lavender scones and strawberry and rhubarb jam with lavender slathered on fresh homemade bread. Plant starts were available, and a play area for the kids made this a popular stop on the tour circuit. The best time for catching the plants in bloom will be mid-July.

The Red Barn Youth Center in Key Center offered a budget-friendly selection of veggie and herb starts ready for transplanting. The youth garden is a great spot to grow farmers of the future. Each visitor was given a soup kit: a recipe and ingredients for a farm-hearty bean and barley soup.

Grand Farm & Haunted Forest of Vaughn, with its 26 acres of equine trails for riders of all abilities and interests, drew visitors with an exhibition of horse jumping in their outdoor arena. The highlight was a tour of the haunted forest led by the owner’s young son, Carter, whose theatrical bent, smiling face, and delight in scaring guests make visiting again in October a must.

Two Fox Winery in Home provided a calm respite from frolicking goats, jumping horses, and the cuteness of baby farm animals by providing snacks and a sampling of their wines in a cozy setting.

Zaida Woodworth, executive director of Food Backpacks 4 Kids, is working with Creviston Farm in Longbranch to showcase the development and resurrection of this family farm while creating a resource center for FB4K’s Food 4 All program. With an organizational staff gathered from the community they serve, Woodworth’s goal is to build symbiosis by teaching families and kids the skills to find passion in farming, growing, cooking, and preserving food to share with the community. Her cadre of volunteers is working toward a cooperative farm stand, possibly as soon as this summer.

Life-size Jenga games, sidewalk chalk, and music from The Improvement Club kept young and old entertained. Tables were set up in the barn where vendors shared their crafts, providing a cool spot when the afternoon turned warm. Face painting, a ladybug release, seed-planting instructions for the kids, children’s games, and activities throughout the day made this stop feel, as Woodworth said, “like a big family barbeque.”

The Barn Marche at Faraway Flower Farm, situated on Filucy Bay with its 100-plus-year-old barn restored and transformed into a floral shop, demonstration kitchen, and light-filled open loft, offered an elegant experience. Inspirational flower arrangements decorated every niche of the barn, along with a chromatically arranged collection of vintage vases. Stellar views of flower beds, outbuildings, and animal enclosures caught the eye at every turn. Flower seeds, seedlings, distinctive magnificent potted peonies, as well as cut flower arrangements, were quickly snapped up.

This stop on the circuit also included plant starts from Honeywood Farm CSA, Alaina Seyssel’s creative art made with recycled fibers, and treats for sale from 3 Clouds Bakery, Mount Virginia Pies, and Purdy Organics. However, the highlight may well have been the photo ops with mini horses, Itsy and Bitsy, who also showed up as models for this year’s poster artwork.

The 100 acres of Sound View Camp overlooking the southeast end of the peninsula are now a setting for a brand new outdoor environmental education program teaching sustainable living. Programs for kids to learn to plant and harvest their own food began with converting the former horse stable and corral area into a miniature farm populated with rescued goats, sheep, chickens, and a llama. Visitors were able to interact with the animals and learn about their care. Many also enjoyed a guided nature walk through the wooded forest trails and along its sandy beach, currently home to nesting plovers.

The Key Peninsula Farm Council’s mission is to promote farms, farming, and environmental educational opportunities on the Key Peninsula. This was the first spring version of the established fall event in what Leona Lisa is hoping can become seasonal opportunities to showcase local farms more often.

As Don Graham of Astrid’s Lavender Farm said, “Farm tours are the connection, events that cross-pollinate farming on the peninsula with the community.”