GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Lavender farming, a burgeoning sector of local agriculture, doesn't simply end with the harvest. Lavender is used in landscaping, aromatherapy, the culinary arts and more. And to better educate lavender farmers about marketing and product options, the SouthWest Lavender Conference will provide classes at Two Rivers Convention Center all weekend. The conference runs Sept. 28-30; however, registration for most aspects of it are currently closed.
According to Lavender Association of Western Colorado President Kathy Kimbrough, the conference serves lavender producers in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Oklahoma, and it moves to a different state each year.
"Because we have such a strong faction locally, we were asked to have the conference here," Kimbrough said. "(Such a conference) is important to lavender growers nationwide because it focuses on marketing and value-added products. It's beyond the basics."
Weekend-long classes will cover a variety of topics - aromatherapy, marketing ideas, cosmetics, cooking and even cocktails. Presenters come from around the nation, as well as locally.
"There will be approximately 50 participants at the conference and approximately 20 of those will be from out of the area," Kimbrough said.
Through all classes are fully registered at this point, Kimbrough added that interested locals may inquire about participating in a guided bus tour Sunday, Sept. 30, of area lavender farms. The tour will run from 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and a guided motorcoach will deliver participants around the area.
Local lavender farms included in the tour are: Colorado State University Orchard Mesa Research Center, Sage Creations Organic Farm, High Country Orchards, Sprigs and Sprouts of Western Colorado and Lamborn Mountain Farm.
"Lavender likes hot, dry and sunny conditions," Kimbrough said. "It's perfect to grow here."
For more information, visit www.coloradolavender.org.