Why would you not grow lavender?! For me and my husband Greg, it was a no brainer. It is gorgeous, it is relatively hardy - even through grueling Michigan winters - and it smells heavenly. From the day we started planting in 2015, people have stopped to stare and ask us about our lavender. We have 23 acres of rolling hillside in Imlay City, MI, known as the Gateway to the Thumb (it’s a Michigan thing). We are approximately 60 miles north of Detroit between Port Huron and Flint on I-69.
We planted about 3,500 plants in 2015 including Munstead, Rosea, Hidcote, Melissa, Provence, Edelweiss, Royal Velvet, Grosso and Phenomenal. In 2016, we planted 5,000 Grosso and Phenomenal, and in 2017 we added 1,500 Big Time Blue and 5,100 more Phenomenal. My dad and I maintain the farm with help from my kids (10 & 12 yrs old this year - “work” is a loose term for them!) plus we hire local high school and college kids throughout the Spring, Summer and early Fall. Greg and I also maintain about two dozen honey bee hives on the Farm and offer delicious light yellow honey made from the lavender pollen.
We love learning about the bees and the lavender and teaching our kids about farming. It is truly a family farm! In 2017 we applied for and were granted Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program certification for our lavender cropping system and proudly post the sign on the farm.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, we went to a whole bunch of farmer’s markets, bridal expos, craft fairs, and antiques festivals getting the word out and talking to folks about the farm. We also entered several retail establishments in the surrounding area that have been great partners and marketing superstars for us. On Father’s Day 2018 we opened the farm for U-Pick and were amazed at the interest and enthusiasm we received. We had visitors from France (they live in Detroit now and had never visited a lavender farm in France!), the UK, South Africa, China and many other Asian countries.
Not to leave out all our friends and neighbors in Imlay City, surrounding towns and tons of Michiganders that came out to cheer our efforts and to relax in the fields. We also gave a lot of farm tours and lavender presentations to Master Gardner’s clubs, Red Hat groups, Herb Guilds, and other groups that share a love and interest in lavender and my mom and dad and I have enjoyed every one of those talks.
We sell our Lavender Honey, lip balms and lip glosses, body scrubs, linen sprays, talc-free body powder, soaps, lotions, Herbs de Provence, and Chamomile Lavender teas, wreaths and home decor items from our tiny garden shed store May - December and at our retail partners and on Etsy. I make all of our products by hand (with a lot of help from my mom!) and use as much as possible organic or naturally grown ingredients to add to our lavender, honey and beeswax. In early 2019 we applied for and were granted Certified Naturally Grown certification for our lavender (transitional status) and our apiaries (honey).
For the 2019 season, we are purchasing another 3 acres with a building suitable for a retail store (with power and a/c - yay!) with room for production and shipping areas plus an office for me. We are super busy getting ready for the new season. We are planning to repeat our successful season kick-off event called “A Midsommer Nights Dreame” on June 21st with a live band and food trucks and, if some of our early bloomers are ready, U-Pick. Then we will officially open the Farm July 5th through the 27th for the U-Pick season. We will have Thursday night Twilight Upick sessions, and a “July Saturday Night” concert series - all with local bands and food trucks. We will again offer Yoga on the Farm with a local yoga instructor throughout June, July and August. We are also busy booking photo sessions with local photographers and photography classes. We look forward to more farm tours and presentations, too.
Finally, and most exciting of all, we will be joining the Michigan Lavender Festival in their 17th year on July 11-13. It will be hosted at the nearby Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds with shuttle service to the Farm. We are way excited and a whole lot overwhelmed to welcome so many people to see our farm! I will be giving a presentation at the Festival on Friday and Saturday and we will also be offering lavender wands and wreath craft booths and a culinary table for people to make and take and sample right at the farm. And I can’t forget we offer fresh made honey lavender lemonade to sample every day we are open.
We love our new lives on the farm and we love sharing all of it through tours, presentations, events, our products, and our store. We could not be happier with the support we have received not only from our friends and neighbors, but throughout the lavender and beekeeping communities. We attended the Great Lakes Lavender Growers Conference last March 2018 and the USLGA Conference this past January and went back to the 2019 GLGG Conference and saw quite a few familiar faces. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to be lavender growers and to share our experiences with others that love lavender.