We started our lavender adventure (and it has been an adventure) in 2005. We started small, grew our business and our field, and have made several products shipped all over the country.
Other businesses have asked to wholesale our products, but our inventory and our prices are not set up to reasonably wholesale. Mainly because we never wanted to become a big business. We have wanted to stay small all along--only us doing the growing, only us making the products, only us packaging, and only us marketing.
We do it all from plant to product and everything in between; and by our standards, we have been more successful than we could have hoped for.
We opened our gift shop for its 17th season the beginning of June. You may have noticed that we have not shared many pictures of the lavender this year.
That's because we again had weather damage to our plants. We do not believe it was winter damage but more spring damage from the cold, wet months of April and May. We know that our tall French lavender is more easily damaged by weather than our English; however, we actually lost several of our English lavender plants. That is very unusual.
We didn't completely go without blooms, though. The variety bed next to the gift shop started out very slowly, but it finally showed signs of life, and it has given us several blooms to photograph and harvest.
Our lavender patch that came out so pretty for pictures last year is extremely spotty. We have seen several other lavender farms post Facebook pictures of their plants, and ours look the same. We have allowed the plants to bloom so as to have a harvest; but after harvest, we will be removing several plants. The question then becomes, "Do we replace with lavender again? Or do we plant something else?"
Apparently, my parents do not age. I, however, do. After 17 years and several hundred plantings, our business plan is in the process of being updated for that very reason. We, of course, will replace our lavender!
But we hope to also be able to offer some new experiences at our farm. Stay tuned. I've already made one purchase for this fall!
We have also noticed this year a decrease in our weekend visitors. We continue to have lots of engagement on our Facebook page and online orders, but people just out for a beautiful drive on the weekends have declined. People have shared that gas prices and overall prices in general have played a role in why they are not out and about. Those that have dropped by are also in the area to visit Augusta, Maysville, or other local attractions; basically, trying to do everything in one trip. I live an hour from the farm, so I am feeling the pain at the pump as well.
We are a family business that me and my mom mainly handle by ourselves with additional family help as needed, and we still like it that way. We enjoy working together and making new products each year to add to our shop. This year includes loofah soap sets, sugar scrub bars, and our seasonal BLUEberry lavender jam.
Our lavender luncheons are still very popular. We could accommodate more people with a larger building, but we enjoy utilizing The Farmhouse. Both Farmhouse Luncheons have sold out this season, and we continue to schedule luncheons for groups. Although our lavender is now in the harvest stage, we will book luncheons and workshops through September.
So, what's happening at the farm? As I said, we are updating our business plan. We hope to start providing wholesale products to local businesses, replace those lavender plants that did not fare well this season, add new products, and add more experiences for visitors to the farm. Lavender may no longer be our only herb.
One idea that has been floating around for several years is having an Italian night. My husband is a New York Italian, and my family loves his food. I, for one, would love to either be able to stop and eat or pick up to take home for an easy weeknight meal. Everyone seems to love to eat! And we really enjoy cooking.
Did you see our recent post about our new lavender mustard? It's delish!!