Lynda Dowling's Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm is a stop on the Farm Tour 2013 hosted by Sooke Region Food Community Healthy Initiative Society

Hop on the farm tour starting in Langford

The self-guided farm tour is on Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Lynda Dowling is happy to open her farm to the public and help teach people about farming and how they can get involved.

The Langford farmer harvested her lavender crop for the season, but will have chocolate lavender zucchini loaf for visitors and will show how she processes the lavender by hand for cooking and other household uses including making bath salts.

“I’ll be rubbing the lavender leaves off from the harvest and showing people what they can do. We’ll have loose lavender and we’ll be screening it,” said Dowling.

Aside from lavender, Dowling is growing an assortment of vegetables that have “exploded” over the summer.

“There is always a big push for people to get involved in growing food in the spring, but now is the time when you can eat out of the garden,” said Dowling. “I want people to think beyond growing tomatoes and lettuce.”

Her tour is more of a “show and tell” to inspire others to grow food.

“I will explain that not all flowers on a zucchini plant will grow a zucchini. Some are male and some are female,” said Dowling adding she likes to fry the male flowers for a meal.

This year, the tour no longer includes large gardens, focusing on eight farms spanning from Langford to Sooke.

“From end to end the tour is about 50 kilometres,” Keeley Nixon, a board member of Sooke Region Food Community Health Initiative Society. “This tour is for anyone who wants to support local food producers and get an idea where our food comes from.”

This year, the tour no longer includes large gardens, focusing on eight farms spanning from Langford to Sooke.

“From end to end the tour is about 50 kilometres,” Keeley Nixon, a board member of Sooke Region Food Community Health Initiative Society. “This tour is for anyone who wants to support local food producers and get an idea where our food comes from.”

Many of the farms will offer farm stands with fruits, vegetables, honey, meat and seeds.

The self-guided farm tour is on Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available at several locations. Visit sookefoodchi.ca for details.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com