2018 Has Been Amazing!
Oh my goodness 2018 has been an exceptionally amazing year here at Shades of Lavender Farm! This is 100% due to the support of our friends, families, community and local businesses. We thank you all.
Our farm is now MAEAP verified, we passed the GAAMPS review and we are working towards our organic certification. These recognitions from the State of Michigan show that we take stewardship of this land seriously.
We moved forward this year with our plan to open the lavender farm to the public. The township gave us the go ahead to build our agritourism building. It means so much to us that the township sees the value in our farm and how we will enhance the community.
We have been flooded with positivity coming through our purple front door! It is almost as if the people in this area have been waiting for a place that they can bring their friends and families. People return time and again with new friends to show off the “little gem” in their community. Some of their guests have come from other states and as far away as Germany. It is such a wonderful feeling knowing that a person loves your products and the idea of your farm so much, that they purchase items to take back to their home as memories of their visit to the area.
The open concept of our shop allows visitors to view us making products with our lavender. Our mission is to share everything that we have learned about lavender and create a passion in others. The addition of a certified kitchen gives us the ability to show the versatility of cooking with lavender. The smells when you enter our building are indescribably delicious.
The lavender fields, oh they are so pretty and fragrant. You can smell the lavender as you pull up to our building during high season. What a warm welcome! We added about 400 lavender plants in 2018. This gives us a total of around 1200 lavender plants and 11 different varieties that are chosen depending on the end use. We use ours for culinary, essential oils, bundles, u-pick and buds for product making.
2018 also marked the first year for u-pick on the farm. This has been a treat for us to see. We strive to educate people while they are out in the field. There is so much to learn. Such as what conditions are best for lavender, how do you care for lavender, and does the lavender need bees to pollinate? Our lavender field is a beautiful way to educate people about pollinators and what we can do to protect them.
We began to distill our lavender into essential oil in 2018 and it has been so fun to share this experience with our customers. We have a beautiful copper still made in Portugal. In the high season we had distillation demonstrations going on so that visitors can watch the process of making essential oils.
We have had visits from Van Buren County students who come to learn about the benefits and uses of lavender and the need for farming. The excitement and curiosity they had surprised me. I expected a group of young people would think a lavender farm was lame and boring, but on the contrary, they asked a bazillion questions and were enthralled with what our farm had to offer. It was one of my best days. The lavender wasn’t even blooming!
This is what it’s all about folks. Creating a learning atmosphere for all ages so that their interest is peaked and they ask questions. It gives them knowledge and helps them understand why they should care about this earth and should protect it. We have created a green space for not only our community, but also those who are passing through, to learn, explore, spend time in nature and see how they fit into the greater picture of our world.
I want to take a moment to send a shout out to our community business partners. Without them, we would not be where we are. We were so honored to receive the “Unity and Community” recognition from the Mattawan Business Association. We are working with numerous businesses such as Vintage Inspired, East Egg/Tavern on McGillen, Water Street Coffee, Paw Paw Village Pharmacy, LeDuc Blueberries, Feed the World Café, Almena Pines, Styles Ahead, and St. Julian Winery. Thank you all for your amazing support!
As we close out the year of 2018, one thing is blatantly clear. We are blessed beyond measure thanks to all of you. Scott and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!!!!
We hope that you have a fun and safe New Years Eve!