indigo crop, okan arts farm 2022

indigo 2022: the end of the story

By Patricia Belyea

WAUCONDA WA  My original hope for last summer’s indigo crop was to harvest twice for dye extraction. With such a late start to the growing season, only one harvest seemed possible. 

Then I pivoted with my goals.

Indigo crop, Okan Arts Farm 2022

Since I still had lots of indigo dye from 2021, I decided to grow my plants for seed.

Wow! I would have so much seed that I could share the joy of growing indigo with everyone! 

I hatched a grand plan to package my indigo seeds and give them to customers in the new year. But my plan got slammed by Jack Frost.

Indigo crop damaged by frost, Okan Arts Farm 2022Indigo crop damaged by frost, Okan Arts Farm 2022

Wait! I had a banner season for Italian basil. In August, I tucked countless containers of pesto into the freezer. Then in early September, I gathered the remaining basil and hung it up to dry.

Drying basil, Okan Arts Farm 2022Dried basil, Okan Arts Farm 2022

I had fun making stickers for food-safe baggies—using fusible interfacing to adhere basil leaf art to a scrap of old indigo-dyed cotton. Then I stitched all around, with Aurifil Floss, to make the design pop. 

Basil label art, Okan Arts Farm 2022Basil label art, Okan Arts Farm 2022

So instead of indigo seeds, Victoria will be including a petite pack of basil in new orders—for as long as they last. 

Don’t think of the basil as an incentive. It’s completely the opposite—just a little gift. Because Victoria and I are truly grateful for our thoughtful and generous quilting friends.

Gifts of dried basil, Okan Arts Farm 2022

As the Year of the Rabbit dawns, we wish you a happy new year!