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FEATURE - August 2018

The Lavender Fields of Washington Island, Wisconsin

 By Jill Dutton


When Martine and Edgar Anderson moved to Washington Island as young retirees, they looked for a business in which to invest, but nothing seemed to suit.    


Martine, born in France, dreamed of one day owning a lavender farm. She felt that Washington Island shared similar characteristics with Provence, so Edgar did weather studies, took soil samples, and planted a test garden at their home. The test was successful and the dream of creating lavender business and contributing to the economic growth of Washington Island became a reality.


Today, Fragrant Isle is proud to be the Midwest's largest lavender farm and Washington Island’s first. To celebrate its 6th anniversary on Washington Island, Edgar and Martine expanded their fields with the addition of 6,000 lavender plants and more rose gardens. Fragrant Isle’s grand total is now 20,000 fragrant lavender plants for visitors to experience and enjoy. 


Fragrant Isle is Washington Island’s true, working lavender farm where visitors can learn first-hand from the expert grower and knowledgeable staff about lavender. The gardens at Fragrant Isle are open daily to visitors during the growing and harvest season. Their goal is to educate people about the many benefits and uses of this unique herb. They use the latest in farming technology to cultivate their plants in an all-natural environment. No chemicals are used—ever. Plants are harvested both by hand and by machine, but always with the greatest concern for maintaining the strength and stability of the growth stock.  


If you’re planning a visit to Door County, you’ll want to explore Door County’s largest selection of luxurious lavender products at Fragrant Isle’s Shop on Washington Island and at the Fish Creek Shop located at The Top Of The Hill Shops. The Fragrant Isle line is proudly made in the USA with their sustainably grown and pesticide-free lavender. 


You can sample their selection of hundreds of lavender products made for use from head-to-toe and formulated to be both good for you and for the environment. The Shops also feature a select few lavender products from France, Italy, and Spain that represent the finest the world has to offer. 


Visitors to both shops are able to watch videos featuring Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm on Washington Island, the blooming lavender, and a glimpse of their biennial “All Things Lavender” festival, an overview of harvesting, processing and distillation demonstrations, and sites from scenic Washington Island.


New for 2018, Fragrant Isle’s restaurant, Le Petit Bistro offers a daily à la carte lunch menu (which changes weekly) in addition to its delectable selection of chocolates, candies, ice cream, and their famous macaroons. Enjoy mouth-watering food and a glass of wine on the terrace overlooking an unparalleled view of the lush lavender fields. 


Reserve your seat and enjoy fine dining and musical entertainment on the terrace where Chef Roxanne Boren will prepare gourmet dinners at Le Petit Bistro. The dinners will again delight your palate with a savory three-course gourmet meal. 


Or if you can’t visit the fields in person, visit Fragrant Isle’s website: for details. 


Fragrant Isle is proud to be a Discover Wisconsin 2018 Choice Destination and a 2018 Trip Advisor Award of Excellence recipient.


Plan your next trip to Door County and Washington Island, Wisconsin at


Fragrant Isle Recipes


Fragrant Isle Lavender Rub

1 Tablespoon Dried Lavender buds

1 Tablespoon Fine Salt

1 Tablespoon Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence 

1 Tablespoon Orange peels

1 Tablespoon Lemon peels


Grind all spices and rub the mixture on the meat before grilling.


Fragrant Isle Lavender Syrup


2 Cups water

4 Tablespoons Dried Lavender buds 

1  Cup Sugar

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

When the liquid turns a light yellow turn off the heat and allow it to infuse for 5 minutes, then pour through a strainer.

The syrup may be kept in the refrigerator for a week.

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Travel writer and publisher of Evolving Magazine, Jill Dutton enjoys traveling—and writing about—the U.S. and Canada by train (and plane). Follow her travels at


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