Live, Lav, Love

U-pick lavender farm in Upper Ojai celebrates 10th anniversary

Bucolic. Charming. Pastoral. These are the types of adjectives that make Ojai locals cringe when we see them used to describe our town. But even we can’t resist the occasional cliché — not after the wild amount of rain we’ve had over the last couple of years! The valley has transformed from semi-arid to a lush, green paradise, with long-dry creeks still flowing well into the warmer months.

In the Upper Ojai Valley, this is especially true. Its quiet farms and dramatic views of the Topa Topa Mountains are, dare I say, downright charismatic.

One of my favorite stops up here in the early weeks of summer is Frog Creek Farm. This small U-pick lavender farm is owned and operated by mom-and-pop duo Christel and Larry Rogero, who live next door to the farm and lovingly maintain it organically.

For about a month at the start of each summer — the exact dates are dictated by the lavender’s bloom cycle — they invite the public to Frog Creek Farm to harvest their own lavender bundles, directly from the field. The air is infused with the heady scent of three varietals of lavender: English Hidcote, French Provence, and French Grosso. You bring your wide-brimmed hat, closed-toe shoes and some friends, and the Rogeros provide the rest.

Wander through the fields with a cute wicker basket and cut yourself some fresh bundles, then rest in the shade of the tall trees that line the creek. Freshen up with some lavender lemonade and grab some locally made lavender products in the shop before you head out.

This year, Frog Creek is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and in recognition of that, they’ve expanding their offerings. This year they’ve planted a second lavender field, as well as several other types of flowers to cut (think zinnias and dahlias), rows of raspberries, olallieberries, onions, garlic, and more.

They’re also staying open from 6 to 8 pm on Saturday evenings this season, allowing visitors to enjoy sunset at the farm. Bring a picnic basket and blanket to soak in Ojai’s famous Pink Moment skies, as lavender-drunk bees lazily get in one last sip before calling it a night.

Even the local-est of locals would call this an idyllic way to spend a day.

Frog Creek Farm is located at 10924 Ojai Santa Paula Rd, in Upper Ojai. For hours and updates, visit frogcreekfarmojai.com and follow them on Instagram@frogcreekfarmojai.

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