My dear friends, Lloyd and Candy Traven are the owners of Peace Tree Farm, a haven of professional environmentally-friendly greenhouses on a historic 25-acre farm, based in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania. They have an amazing wholesale operation – plants from Peace Tree Farm have been seen at the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Show, Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer, New York Botanical Garden, Winterthur Museum, Washington National Cathedral, the Smithsonian Institution, and hundreds of independent garden centers. While they grow many herbs, begonias, and starter plants, Peace Tree is truly known for their world famous lavender – “Phenomenal” (see right photo credit Peace Tree).
Last time I visited their Pennsylvania home, Candy toured me around their extensive flower and herb gardens (see Candy above). Lloyd gave me a tour of their wholesale nurseries – brimming with thousands of plants and flowers – pointing out every plant and telling the story of how his operation recycles water and uses environmentally friendly practices to make a difference for the earth (see Lloyd below).
Then they swept me off my feet by preparing a to-die-for dinner featuring a lavender salmon rub recipe (below). Lloyd and Candy always have dried lavender around the kitchen and wanted to show me something special you can do with culinary lavender. This is a unique recipe which originally came from our fellow horticultural friend, Christina Salwitz . Lloyd prepared the rub recipe, then added his own touch by drizzling a bit of maple syrup hand collected from our friend Kylee Baumle’s maple trees. While I sat at their counter drinking vodka and wondering at how we are all connected in the world with friendship, plants, and food; I watched Lloyd put together this delightful salmon dish and delighted in how he incorporated lavender. While we tend to think of lavender as only a scent, Lloyd showed how it needs to be used in cooking more often because it adds a delicious aromatic flavor to your dishes.
- 1 part Grains of Paradise
- 1 part Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
- 1 part Brown Sugar
- ⅓ part Lavender
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Maple syrup for drizzling
- Salmon fillets, sliced in portions and deskinned
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Coat both sides of salmon fillets with dry rub.
- Drizzle with maple syrup
- Oil pan.
- Bake fillets in pan for 10 to 12 minutes or until done.
Growing lavender is surprisingly easy in the home garden because lavender thrives in Mediterranean conditions – hot, dry, with challenging soil conditions. If you would like to grow lavender seek a hot and dry location, then link to this previous post featuring growing instructions – https://shawnacoronado.com/how-to-grow-lavender. Meanwhile, plan to grow Phenomenal Lavender in your garden this year as a culinary lavender because it is known as exceptionally hardy in zones 5 – 10 and overwinters very well. Search online to find many places to purchase the plant in it’s vegetative form enabling you to plop it right into your garden bed or container garden.
To harvest lavender, wait until the flowers are at their absolute height of color and scent, then cut the flower stems near their base and tie together with rubber bands in bunches. Hang upside down to dry in a warm spot out of the way of direct sunlight. You can keep the dried lavender stems in this for or after several weeks of drying, rub the flower buds onto a tray, then gather and store in a dry glass jar. Use this dried culinary lavender for crafts and adding to culinary dishes like Christina Salwitz’s Lavender Dry Rub Salmon recipe .