Lawrence Holiday Farmers Market Coming EVEN Soon! Plus a look at the open house in November!
December 7, 2013
Just got the link for this so we thought we would share. Jack has his voice back but still has a touch of the cold left. It is -5 on the farm today. Happy Holidays! http://www.6newslawrence.com/news/local-news/7844-back-by-popular-demand-lawrence-lavender-farm-holds-open-house
More to come...
December 6, 2013
Just a quick reminder that the Lawrence Holiday Farmers Market is one week from tomorrow, December 14th. A question we get asked all the time is "What does it cost to get in?" The answer is.......There is no admission charge, it is FREE. Lots of great gifts for the holidays from your local farmers. We hope to see you there.
More to come...
December 1, 2013
The holiday season has begun! We had our open house and the Pendleton's had theirs. A great time at both events. There is another big one left and that is the Lawrence Farmers Holiday Market.
Only 13 days left until the market. You are certain to find that unique gift for that special someone. Nearly 60 market vendors will be selling their wares, many with items made just for this market. We hope you can make it! We look forward to seeing you there!
More to come...
November 22, 2013
Even though the weather outside is frightful, inside it's so delightful(sounds like a great song lyric--hum) at the Pendleton's Open House, Saturday & Sunday, November 23 & 24 from 9-5. We will be there with loads of lavender products for the holidays. Please stop by and see us. The address is 1446 E. 1850 Rd., Lawrence. KS.
More to come next week...
November 14, 2013
A big thank you to all that were able to come to our open house this past weekend. Everyone seemed to enjoy walking in the fields and shopping in our new barn gift shop. The weather was terrific(except for Friday night when the wind blew off two of our hoop house doors. Quite a breeze!).
We will now be open by appointment only so if you would still like to come out and see the plants please call us at 785-748-0678. Also, please come by and see us at the Pendleton's Country Market on Saturday & Sunday November 23-24 and November 30 & December 1 for their Holiday Open House! Also, there is the Lawrence Farmers Holiday Market on December 14th at the Holiday Inn, 200 McDonald Drive in Lawrence from 9-5.
And finally, we will be happy to ship holiday orders and put a hand written note in the package(be assured Kathy will write the note and not Jack. We are sure you want people to be able to read it!). To hopefully guarantee they will make it to their destination in time for the holidays we ask that we receive all orders by December 18th.
More to come...
Just a quick reminder that we will be having our Open House this coming Saturday and Sunday, November 9 & 10 from 10-4:30 each day. We hope you will be able to come by and walk in the lavender fields before the plants got to sleep for the winter. They are not blooming now but they are still beautiful.
Also, this past weekend at the City Market in Kansas City the 100th person came by and told us they had been using our dryer sheets for more than a year. We had decided that if this happened(we had been counting) we would give that person a gift bag of many of our products. It happened, and Katherine Lee of Kansas City, Kansas and her lovely family were #100. We thank them for there kind words!
And so again, we look forward to seeing you this next weekend for some hot cider and a walk in the lavender fields at our open house!
More to come...
October 27, 2013
Please join us Saturday November 9 or Sunday November 10 from 10-4:30 for our open house and tour of the lavender fields before they go to sleep for the winter! A great opportunity to see the fields and to select from the new handmade lavender products for that special gift for the holidays! Hot cider and cookies will help to make the fall day even better!
Also, we will be at the City Market in Kansas City on Saturday November 2.
More to come...
October 17, 2013
This Saturday we will be at The City Market in Kansas City, and Saturday and Sunday we will be at the Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin. We look forward to seeing our old friends and making new ones.
Also, this coming week we will be working in the fields getting them ready for winter, and we will be stripping the lavender that is still hanging in the drying barn. Our barn shop will be open during this time from 9-3!
More to come...
October 10, 2013
After nearly two months of not being able to go to the City Market we will be there this Saturday, October 12, 2013. Jack had emergency eye surgery and has been unable to read, drive or lift anything heavy. It is amazing what a detached retna will do. But that is close to being history. He has to be careful; however, he can drive and a full recovery looks(no pun intended) to be just around the corner. And so, we hope to see all our friends this weekend at the City Market in Kansas City.
More to come...
October 1, 2013
Much has happened since our last update and more about that later. Coming up this weekend is the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. We urge everyone to visit the farms on the tour and support local agriculture. This past spring we did not think we would be ready for the tour so we are not on it; however, we will be open with our new shop and a harvested and weeded(almost) lavender field for you to visit. So again, we urge you to go to the farms on the tour and if you have a spare few minutes please come and say hello. We are located at 858 East 800 Rd in Lawrence.Just 800 yards south of the Lone Star Church.
More to come...
August 9, 2013
Two important things happened back in early June(seems so long ago). The organic certifier was here and we are pleased to say that once again we have been certified organic!
The second was that we had just about completed the weeding. Well we did and they are all back! With the good rain came the surplus of weeds. And so, we start over again on Sunday to weed; that is if we don't need an ark. We are not complaining as we needed the rain as it helped the "new kids" really begin to grow; however, it sure did help the weeds return. And so it goes...
Saturday the 10th Kathy will be at the Lawrence Farmers Market and Jack will be at The City Market in Kansas City. We have lots of new products so please come by and say hello!
We thank everyone for their continued support, guidance, and help as we move forward on this new(eight year) adventure. We are so fortunate to live in such a terrific community!
July 26, 2013
The harvest is finished and a big thank you to all who helped. It took more than a month but it is finally completed. We are now going to open the farm for the next couple of months by appoinment. So, if you would like to come by and see the plants all trimmed and see the status we are making on the "English Garden" give us a call at 785-748-0678. We would love to see you.
This Saturday, July 27, 2013 we will be at the Lawrence Farmers Market. We have some wonderful dried lavender bouquets highlighted with Kansas wheat. Really beautiful! Also, we are starting to get ready for the holidays. Yes, yes, we know it is way too early; however, before you know it we will all be shopping for holiday gifts. Consider lavender, it makes a super gift! And so, it is back to packing the truck for the market.
More to come...
July 18, 2013
Well today is a hot one and tomorrow they say will be hotter. We called the harvesters in from the fields at about 11AM. We have just about finished the harvest and it should be completed on Tuesday of next week. Here is a picture of the drying barn! We are going to close the farm tomorrow(Friday)and Saturday, and reopen on Sunday from 9-1.
On Saturday Kathy will be at the Lawrence Farmers Market(7-11) and Jack will be at The City Market in Kansas City from 6AM-3PM. Please stop by and say hello!
July 15, 2013
Again we say thank you to all the folks who came by this past week to walk in the fields and say hello. We greatly appreciate your interest in our farm!
And, as promised we have posted the links to the tv stories and newspaper article that ran last week. They are "hot-linked" and may be found by clicking on the word press at the top of this page. We thank Channel 6, Channel 41, KNST in Topeka and the Lawrence Journal World for the coverage of our efforts! There were 14 "harvesters" in the fields this morning and we have lots of Grosso Lavender hanging in the drying barn.
More to come...
We will be open this week(July 15-19) from 9-1; closed on Saturday so we may be at both the Lawrence Farmers Market and The City Market in Kansas City; and open on Sunday from 9-1. We hope you will be able to stop by and say hello!
July 9, 2013
The response to the farm has been super and we thank everyone that has come by to say hello and walk in the fields. We will continue our daily 9-1 hours for this week and possibly next week as the harvest continues. So please stay tuned! There are still thousands of plants in the field with beautiful purple and white(yes there is white lavender)flowers to see. The butterflys are everywhere! As it is getting very hot the best time to come is between 9 and 10 to beat the heat!
Kathy has been hard at work with the harvesters and at the same time developing new products. The fresh lavender this year is extremely long with stems nearly 24 inches! Great for bouquets. Lots of culinary lavender, both pink and purple is available. So, if you have time please steal a few hours, come by, and enjoy the beauty of lavender.
Also, we have been fortunate to be featured in a KSHB CH 41 news story out of Kansas City about our farm, and in a Lawrence Journal World story about agritourism in Kansas. We greatly appreciate the coverage! Links to follow! Again, thank you for your interest in our farm and stay cool and safe in this warm weather!
More to come...
WE ARE OPEN!
Yes, it has been three years in the making(road, barn, shop) but are finally open. Our hours for the rest of this week and "probably" next week are 9-1 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Closed on Saturday as we will be at both the Lawrence and Kansas City Farmers markets, and then open on Sunday from 9-1+. Also there has been some confusion as to our address. A small "bump in the road" but a bump none the less.
Our address is 858 East 800 Road, Lawrence Kansas 66047. The best way to find us using google or any of the map programs is to locate the Lone Star Church on 800 Road in Lawrence. Go south on 800 Road 800+ yards past the church, look to your left and there is a Washington Creek Sign. Come up the hill and you have found us!
We have lots of fresh lavender, pottery by two terrific Lawrence potters, and loads of the products you see here in our web store. Please come say hello and walk through the fields. Please remember that we are a working farm so we ask that you are careful in the fields. Take lots of pictures. We hope to see you soon. Hooray we are OPEN!!
More to come...
And so it has begun. We are harvesting and we have opened the shop! Our hours for the next two weeks will be Tuesday-Friday 9-1. Closed Saturday as we will be at both the Lawrence Farmers Market and the City Market in Kansas City! And open on Sundays from 9-1. We hope this makes sense. Our address is 858 East 800 Road, Lawrence, Kansas. Google seems to send people way out of the way. So, if you want to come out to the farm go to Lone Star and the Lone Star Church. Pass the church going south on 800 Road and when you have gone about 800-1,000 yards farther look on your left for a Washington Creek Lavender sign. Go up the road and you are there!!
It also has been quite a week. We had NBC/Channel 41 from Kansas City out at the farm and they did a piece onm what we are doing. It can be found at http://www.kshb.com/subindex/videoand scroll down to Lawrence farmers or Lawrence couple. Quite a nice story.
The harvest is well underway with much more to do. Again, if you would like to harvest please call us at 785-748-0678. And so, here we go!!
More to come
June 18, 2013
A great week. Nine hundred new plants arrived and nearly 1/2 are in the ground. The barn shop is nearly completed and we hope to open by the end of the month. And the weeding is almost completed and we hope to start harvesting by late next week!
If you are interested in harvesting please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
More to come...
June 10, 2013
What a super weekend! With lots of help we have nearly 3/4s of the field weeded. This picture shows some of the progress. With another good week we should have the entire field weeded!
The organic certifier was here this week and all looked good for another year of being certified organic!
Our barn shop is almost completed and our road is coming along. We hope to have both completed before the end of the month. More than 1,000 new starter plants arrive this week and they will hopefully go right in the ground before the end of the weekend(wish they would just "jump right in" but it does not quite work that way--we are finding out!). Everything seems to be 2-3 weeks behind so we will probably start our major harvest sometime in late June; yet, with the heat expected this week stay tuned!!
This coming week we will be at two farmers markerts, the Clinton Parkway Nursery in Lawrence on Wednesday from 5-7 pm and, the Lawrence Farmers Market from 7-11am on Saturday.
More to come...
June 5, 2013
A rainy day but no complaints here; however, we do need a few days to get ready to plant our new starters. They are scheduled to arrive on June 13th and we hope to get them right in the ground and then begin to harvest the existing crop!
Our barn is just about completed and we are starting to load in the cabinets, tables, etc. in the lavender country store. Keeping our fingers crossed for a July date to open the store!
The organic certifier was here today and all seemed to go well. We walked the fields in the rain and reviewed logs, filled out paperwork, and talked about our plans for the future.
This past Saturday at the Lawrence Farmers Market the 85th customer came by and told us they have been using our lavender dryer sheets for more than a year. It is fun to receive this positive feedback. We thank everyone for their continued support and we look forward to a super summer.
More to come...
May 22, 2013
Much has happened in the past couple of weeks. Yes, the barn is "almost" completed. The solar power is working well and we are able to work early in the morning and late into the evening to get it finished. We are now in the trim/paint phase of the shop. One more week--we hope less--but probably it will take that long before we are able to move things in. Soon, we hope, soon.
Our new starter plants should arrive the first week in June and so we will be spending much of that week getting them in the ground. Once they are in we are going to take a "final" count to know exactly how many plants we have(between 6,000 and 7,000). The Clinton Parkway Farmers Market is up and running and we are there every Wednesday evening from 5-7(given good weather). A couple of folks have asked us why we are not at the markets(Lawrence, Kansas City or Clinton Parkway)when it rains? Our lavender products, sachets, eye pillows, trios, etc. all are fabric based. If they get wet they are ruined; so we don't take any chances when it is raining(even if, as in Kansas City we are "under roof)."
Speaking of "wet products" we had the 82nd customer tell us this past weekend that they had been using our dryer sheets for more than one year!! Two customers told us they had used other "paper" dryer sheets with lavender and ours last a lot longer and did not fall apart as the paper ones did. Thank you all for your kind words!!!!
More to come......
May 2, 2013
We sure did need the rain and all that comes is welcome; however, when it rains on Saturdays we can't go to the farmers markets as our products do not do well when they are wet. To this end, if rain is very likely we will have to miss the markets--both Lawrence and Kansas City. We REALLY want to be there but not much we can do. Damp and wet lavender just dosen't work. Speaking of "wet" lavender, at the last market we had the 78th person tell us they had been using our dryer sheets for more than a year. We started counting a couple of years ago when the first person told us and we are excited with the success of the product. We have had two couples tell us they have been using them for more than two years! Hard to believe but true.
Also, a number of folks have asked a few questions and we thought we would answer them here. First one is, "Where do you get your lavender?" We grow it on our farm in Lawrence; in fact we will be planting another 1,000-1,500 plants the end of this month which will give us approximately 7,000 in the ground.
Next one, "Who does your art work?" All of our products are hand-made and hand-painted. Kathy does all the painting(Jack tried and failed terribly!) She also does the majority of sewing as well.
Next question, "Do you give tours of the farm?" We hope to open the farm for folks to come and see the lavender fields later this summer. The new barn is nearly completed but given all the rain we are well behind on the road. Once that is finished we hope to open the gates! Also, both the sate of Kansas and Douglas county have approved Washington Creek Lavender as an agri-tourism site. More on this later.
And finally, "Where do you sell your products other than at farmers markets? We sell them on line(at this site), and at the Merc, Au Marche, HYVEE on 6th street, and at Pendletons Country Market, all located in Lawrence, KS.
And so, when the rain stops we hope to see folks at the farmers markets and remember to follow us on Facebook and on twitter, @wclavender.
More to come...
April 22, 2013
Thank you to all that we saw this past Saturday at both the Lawrence and Kansas City farmers markets. The weather turned out to be super and it was great to see old friends. This Saturday we will only be at the Lawrence Farmers Market.
To all who read these up dates we ask that you send us an email at email@example.com so we may put you on our mailing list for our newsletter. In this way we may better let you know about the activities on the farm. To this end, the barn is coming along and we should have electric by early next week and then we can move in, build the new drying racks and put together our new lavender store. It should be great fun. New starter plants should be here around the last week in May and we hope to put those right in the ground. Our road is coming along. The rain has put us back a bit; however, we sure do need it so no complaints from here.
More to come...
April 18, 2013
Finally spring is here; well almost. It's currently 35 degrees and raining(or sleeting depending on the moment!). The barn is up and the electric is being installed. We decided to use solar power and are really excited! Two-thirds of the barn will be used for drying and one-third will be a lavender store. So much to do so we are not sure when the store will open; but we will keep you posted.
In late May we will be planting another 1,000 - 2,000 lavender plants. The main variety will be Grosso with some Buena Vista as well. Then in late June, given the weather, we will start this year's harvest. This should take about two weeks, again depending on how the weather dealt with the plants; no rain last summer and lots the past two weeks!!
Up coming schedule: This Saturday Jack will be at the City Market in Kansas City from 7 AM until 3PM and Kathy will be at the Lawrence Farmers Market from 7 AM until 11 AM. Also, catch Jack on KLWN Friday morning at 7 AM with Kim and Good Day Lawrence with a Farmers Market Update.
And so, it's back to work! More to come...
March 24, 2013
We certainly did speak a bit too early about winter being almost over. Spring officially got here this past week and so did more snow; lots more snow. In some places we have close to eight inches with drifts well more than 12 inches. And it is still snowing. Don't think we are complaining, as we are not. The moisture is needed and we are glad to have it; enough of the weather report.
The barn has been started and really is looking like a barn. It will take a bit longer to complete given the snow; however, in a few weeks we should be working on the inside getting it ready for the summer. Two-thirds of the barn will be used for drying lavender and about one-third will be a small "lavender store" so when you come to visit our farm you may take home some lavender products.
We will be planting another 1,000+ plants later this spring, finishing the road and barn and getting ready for summer. We are not yet sure what our hours will be but we will let you know. As for farmers markets, the Lawrence Farmers Market starts on April 13th and we will be the there. We also hope to be at the City Market in Kansas City on Saturday, March 30if everything has melted!!).
More to come, and again thank you for your interest in our farm!
March 3, 2013
Well, winter is almost over but it sure does not feel like it. We probably have 10-15 inches of snow still left on the ground and that makes it real cold. We are not complaining as we sure did/do need the moisture. Just let this all soak in and we will have a nice start for 2013. It certainly will not get us caught up but it will help.
The new road and entrance is just about completed. Thanks to our neighbor Henry Nieder we made terrific strides. Once the snow melts we will put in a bit more gravel and give it a go.
Later this spring we will build a new drying barn with a small lavender shop. Not sure when this will be completed but we will let you know.
We have also been approved as an Agri-tourism site by the state and we are working on the final papers for the county. More about this when everything comes together.
Finally we hope to be at the City Market in Kansas City on March 30th to start off the new market season. The Lawrence Farmers Market opens on April 13th and we look forward to being there and seeing all our old friends.
Oops, one more finally. We will be planting an additional 1,000 new lavender plants this June and this should take us to more than 7,000 plants. We really have to count each one of the guys this spring so we have a real accurate number.
And so, more to come and hope you are having a super winter. Stay warm…
2013 New Year update
We wish you the happiest, healthiest, and most successful of new years! As we all turn the page, opportunities are endless, and everyone has so much to offer. So again, Happy New Year.
For us the last month and a half has been incredibly busy. Lawrence Farmers Market ending and then the Holiday Market in early December. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see us at the markets and to those who purchased our products.
We were on KLWN here in Lawrence all of November and much of December and we thank Kim, Jeremy and Hank for their terrific support. What a great group! Karen and John Pendleton had us out at their place—Pendleton’s Country Market-- to sell our products and we thank them for all of their help. What a great couple!!!
Our road is cut and and gravel has been laid and now we wait for it to mature over the winter. Snow has fallen a couple of times which seems to have given our lavender plants a nice coat for the winter. We needed the moisture for the road as well and we hope it is “hardening” as we speak.
Kathy has been hard at work continuing to make new and exciting products and Jack is just beginning to look at “farm repairs!”
We have lots of exciting plans for 2013 and we look forward to sharing them as winter moves on and spring rolls in.
Again, Happy New Year!
More to come...
This has been an exciting fall. First the road to the lavender field has been started. Yes, after more than a year of planning, permitting(if there is such a word), and scheduling, it is now underway. We hope by Thanksgiving to have it completed.
Second, we are sponsoring Kim Murphree’s daily show and Jeremy Taylor’s About the House program both on KLWN, 1320 AM from now until sometime in December. These folks are just super and we hope you will be able to tune in(either on your radio or on the net. We are on with Kim on Tuesday’s from 7:30 to 8:00 AM and with Jeremy on Saturdays between 9:30 and 11 AM.
Coming up later this fall on November 17th we will be at the last Lawrence Farmers Market for the regular season, at Au Marche on Mass. st. in downtown Lawrence and at Pendleton’s Country Market on both the 17th and 18th. Plus we will be doing the Lawrence Farmers markets on October 27th, November 3rd and November 10th. We will throw in a couple of Kansas City Markets and of course the Lawrence Holiday Farmers Market on December 8th just to round things out. A busy, busy fall but great fun!
More to come...
September 26, update...
Summer is behind us. The fields are harvested. And now it is time to look at the beautiful color of the fall trees and get ready for the holidays; however, lots of things happening before we get to the holidays.
A quick update on the road. We hope to see dirt moved in early October. So, depending on when you are reading this update we may be well on our way to Lavender Way!
The Douglas County Farm Tour is the October 6th weekend and we are excited and pleased that John & Karen Pendleton of Pendleton’s Country Market have asked us to be at their farm during the Farm Tour weekend with our lavender products. We are honored and a big thank you to them!
The Lawrence Farmers Market will continue until November 17th and we will be there! Also, we will be at The City Market in Kansas City a number of times before the holiday season so please check our Facebook page for additional updates.
And coming up on December 8th is the Lawrence Farmers Holiday Market at the Holidome in Lawrence from 9 AM to 5 PM. More than 60 vendors will be there with great gifts for the holidays.
If you have an extra moment please take a look at our revamped lavender store. We hope when you are looking for that special holiday gift that you will consider one of our lavender products (Here comes the sales pitch). They are hand made, hand painted and we are certified organic. So please take a peak if you have time.
And finally, we are in the process of laying out our new drying barn that we hope to build in early spring. We have out grown our drying space and need much more room. What fun! A lot to do between now and next summer!
More to come and thank you for your continued support!...September 1, update...
The summer is almost over, even though it still is in the nineties; we have had some rain, the hoop house ground is ready for planting and we are ready to break ground for the new road. Whew, what a month!
All things seem to run in fits and starts and we hope we are now in the "starts" phase. With the help of some great folks, Ray, Henry, Bear, Tom, Jess and Jen to name just a few, the hoop house is ready for lavender plants. The folks gave of their time and expertise and we can not thank them enough! We will start planting in mid-October and it should be great fun and it gives us a jump on next spring(we hope).
Kathy has been stripping lavender and sewing lots of products to get ready for this fall. She has once again developed a new product...a "Dogdanna" a bandanna with a lavender insert for dogs. Pictures will be up soon!
We were not at the markets for the last two weeks of August due to rain. Yes, Rain! Our lavender products do not do well in the rain so we had to take a pass on going to the markets. The lavender in the fields however, love it!
Road construction looks like it will begin in mid-September. We are poised for the movement of the first bulldozer. We just can't wait.
And so, it is back to the fields for Jack and back to the sewing machine for Kathy!
More to come...
August 1, update...
We are surviving the drought, but just! For the first time we have had to put in a basic irrigation system. It will help a bit; however, we are not able to get it to all the plants. It is really a wait-and-see game.
As for the hoop house, we have made major progress. It does however seem like it is a "life-time" project; but no, we "will" have it completed by mid-August. We must!!
The road up the hill progresses. Well, it moves along through the final planning stages. We hope to have it started later this month and then completed a few weeks after that. It now is a race between the hoop house and the road!
We met with the folks at the state tourism department and the Lawrence Convention Center and they were super. Lots of tips, suggestions, and real worthwhile help. They are all a great resource.
Again, we hope you will consider our products for holiday gifts. Honest, it is not too early to think about that. In mere moments it will be.........
And so, it is back to the fields, finish the hoop house, and then drive up the road with our windshield wipers going. One can only wish. Until next time...
July 9th update...
The lavender harvest is complete! A big thank you to all the folks who worked to bring in our 2012 crop. Even with the extreme heat we have had a bumper crop with the drying room being filled more than twice.
Our plants from the recent planting seem to be surviving. We have lost a number but the vast majority is holding on. We will post pictures. The difference between lavender in full bloom and “bald” plants is amazing.
Our high tunnel/hoop house is more than two-thirds complete. All the steel work is up and now it’s the side curtains and then the top and ends and in another couple of weeks we should be finished(did not make June 30th!).
We are still on track to have our road put in before the end of the year so we may have The First Annual Lawrence Lavender Festival in June of 2013. If we don’t plan it won’t happen so we are moving forward and look forward to a super time.
And finally, it is not too early to start thinking about that special gift for the holidays. I can hear many of you saying, “Oh yes it is too early.” But why not get out ahead of the rush and give lavender for the holidays. Jack has “Deck the Halls” as his ring tone. Some people ask if he forgot to take it off and he tells them he is early for this year. The truth is he has it on there ALL the time.
June 11, 2012...Just had to call your attention to the article in the Lawrence Journal World this past Sunday, June 10, 2012. We think Jennifer Smith did a great job capturing our venture and we thank her for taking the time to come out to the farm. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jun/10/garden-calendar-lavender-farm-making-purple-waves/
On another note, harvesting starts in earnest this week so we will be up to our eye balls in Lavender...YES!! Hoop House construction is moving forward and we hope to have it completed by June 30!
More to come...
...And so Friday June 8 is here and we are getting reading for the Lawrence Farmers Market. The Grosso Lavender is in bloom and we will be taking many "bunches" to the market. Our hoop house is coming along. This weekend we should have the rest of the perlins up and much of the wood installed(operative word here is "should." This has turned out to be quite a task. Fun, but a real interesting challenge).We have just finished planting nearly 2,000 new plants--Grosso and Buena Vista. Both will have a beautiful hue and yet look very different. Grosso has an elegant long stem with tight buds while Buena Vista is much shorter and has a more open flower; both are beautiful and delightful. Our road to the top of the hill has not been started as of yet; however we are getting closer to the beginning of construction. We hope to have it completed for next year so we may start an annual Lavender Festival in Lawrence. We hope putting this at the top makes it easier to find and we thank you for your continued interest in Washington Creek Lavender.
More to come...
For more than 30 years, Kathy Sanders was one of the United States leading food photographers. With more than 100 covers on Better Homes and Gardens publications and having shot for nearly all the major food clients, she was at the top of her game in 2003. Jack Wilson, her husband, was a television producer with 11 national PBS specials under his belt and more than 70 business-to-business training DVDs for sale in the international marketplace. Living in a loft in Chicago life was good! Something however was missing. And that was the outdoors. Both Kathy and Jack liked being outside. Yes you certainly could be outside in Chicago but you couldn’t really get your hands dirty like they wanted to do.
So, in 2004 they moved to Lawrence Kansas, Kathy's hometown and bought some land. They built a log home and started growing vegetables. The gods did not shine down on this venture— rainstorms, hale and high winds stopped it very quickly. So what to do?
The land was tested and it seemed to be perfect for two things— grapes and lavender and after much reading and study lavender won out as the crop of choice. But what type of lavender and would it really grow in Kansas? Seven different lavender types were tested and one won out.
To be continued...
...And Grosso was chosen, a French lavender with a great fragrance and a beautiful flower. Others were selected as well to include Gros Blue, Edelweiss, Beuna Vista, and Melissa each with a different smell and look from pink to white to deep purple.
The first year nearly 2,000 plants were put in the ground. Make no small dreams seemed to be the motto. But what about deer and rabbits and hail and high winds, and, and, and? Well luck was there. Rabbits and deer don’t bother the lavender, and the plants are short enough so the high winds don’t seem to bother it. As for hail, well so far it too seems to be gentle to the lavender.
Lavender began growing and the field developed that beautiful purple glow that everyone thinks of when they picture lavender. That’s great but now that it’s growing what can be done with it? The old marketing theory of “have a market” before you build a product seemed to have been thrown out the window. Well yes and no. The land really had to prove that it would allow the lavender to grow, in quantity, before a major marketing plan could be developed. OK, so maybe that is not quite true but at least it was the idea. But what products to make? How to make them? And most of all who will make them!?
To be continued...
...We had the land and we knew the lavender would grow (hopefully) and now, what to do with it? Kathy again stepped up. She had a list of products she wanted to develop and was going to make them--herself! Yes, she planted and harvested and now was going to make the products as well.
The first product was a 1/2 oz sachet and then a full oz. To make them unique Kathy painted a sprig of lavender on each bag. A two-color job and all painted by hand--no printing or stamp here, all by hand.
In a weak moment Jack volunteered to paint as well. This was not a real success and after eight or nine bags Kathy suggested that he go have a soda (she has kept the bags just incase Jack wants to try it again!).
Then came the neck comforters. Kathy kept testing and talking to customers and came up with lots of innovations; the comforter was segmented so all the lavender would not run to the bottom. Finger “grips” were put on each end to make them easier to grasp. And finally, the outer cover was removable for easy cleaning. When selling them we explain that they may be put in the microwave oven and heated for 30 to 40 seconds to make them work even better. One customer tried to put theirs in for 6 minutes and said it smelled like popcorn. Oops!! Not a good idea!!
Next were the eye pillows. Smooth on one side and and rougher on the other. These too may be placed in the microwave for a very short period of time or placed in the refrigerator to cool them down. Our customers tell us they are great sleep aids and really help relieve headaches.
Dryer sheets came next, three in a pack, and as of this writing 39 customers have told us they have been using them in their dryers for more than a year (two have told us more than two years!). Again, a Kathy design and a neat product. They also may be put in pillows, since they are flat, as a sleep aide.
Now we had the products (and more to come about our new ones) but where to sell them.
Again. To be continued...
Yes, there are more new products. Kathy was at it again and designed a set of coasters in all sorts of colors, each with a lavender insert. So, when you set your hot mug of coffee, tea or hot chocolate on them, they release the scent of lavender. And, she even designed one for coffee or tea pots to do the same thing! Again, Jack was happy to be out in the fields when Kathy came up with this idea.
Oh yes, there is still another new product, “A yard of lavender.” Thirty-six inches of lavender divided into three inch squares. All in a long line and double stitched between each square so they may be cut and used in drawers or put in your pillow as a sleep aide.
And finally there are the fire starters to use in your fire place. When the lavender is stripped from the stems the stems are saved and bundled together to use in your fireplace. The bottoms have been cut square so they may also be used as a decoration (no sense seeing money go up in flames!).
Then came the question: “Where to sell the products?” First came the Lawrence Farmers Market. What a terrific group of vendors and customers. Every vendor has been so helpful in showing us the ropes and helping us set up in the dark. Jack still has trouble getting the picture centered that hangs on the booth so Jill of Moon on the Meadow (the vendor next to us) has to stand there every Saturday (if Kathy is coming later) and direct the hanging. It becomes even more funny every week. Then there is Don Flory with his hot cups of coffee that gets us all through the early hours. John and Karen Pendleton have been just incredible with their help, and there is Tom and Stephanie (they got married on our land this summer), Emu Annie, Kathy Hagen, Mike and Kitty Glass, Jozie and Brian and so, so many more. Again, what a great group!
The summer of 2010 found us with our own permanent space (we were floaters for three years— up at 4 am to make sure we got a spot-now we can sleep in on Saturdays until 4:30, wheee!).
The next big selling event will be the Holiday Market at the Holiday Inn Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive in Lawrence on December 11 from 9 am to 5 pm. Should be great fun and nearly all the vendors will be there.
To be continued...
Well the Holiday Market was a success and we have made it through one of the coldest and snowy winters we can remember. Or, are we just getting older and "each" winter seems worse than the last one?
Now it is spring and we are gearing up for the Farmers Market and getting ready to plant another 2,500 lavender plants. This will give us a total of nearly 6,000 plants. The land was tilled in late fall and should be ready to receive the little organic starters in late May to early June. The tractor has been serviced or should we say tractors. We now have a small John Deere and an old (don't let it hear us call it old) 1949 Ford 8N.
Kathy is busy working on product and getting ready to plant. Jack has been up on the hill doing some additional tilling. The land is just about ready; however, each time it rains it sets back the tilling schedule.
Our products are now available at The Merc and at Pendleton's Country Market, at the HyVee on 23rd when the construction is completed, and here on our web site.
To be continued...
Much has happened in the last few months. Our starter plants arrived all perky and ready to go in the ground. As we have mentioned before we get the starters from Oregon and they are all organic. Speaking of organic we are now officially certified organic. We have always grown our plants organically but never went through the "official" process--soil testing, visit by the certifier, etc. They loved the land and so we are OFFICIAL; but, we digress.
The plants arrived after surviving one of he coldest winters/early springs they have had in Oregon. They came into one of the hottest springs we have had in Lawrence. And so, the plants were shocked. Shocked so much that more than 1/2 of them died before we had a chance to get them in the ground. They were shocked and so were we! Many that were planted survived and now we hope they will survive the winter(they had less of a deep root growth than in the past as a result of the cold spring in Oregon so this may be a problem).
We are now back at the Lawrence Farmers Market after taking a few weeks off for a family emergency. All seems to be well and we are looking forward to a super fall!
Kathy is working on some new products. One is a holiday ornament for the Christmas tree-- a ginger bread man filled with lavender. What a great combination of fragrances--pine and lavender. We will have pictures up in a week or so. We also will have some new video up as well!
We have some great plans for 2012 but we will keep those secret until they are finalized. What fun.
To be continued....
Fall is nearly over and winter is fast approaching. The trees are almost bare and the lavender plants seem to be tucking their little heads down to face the tough Kansas winter winds. Still, given all of this it is a beautiful and breath taking sight to look out over he lavender fields and know that we have made this happen! Only a few weeks until the new year and we are all now in the middle of the holiday season; good meals, presents, and great friendships rekindled.
We are so excited to be "doing what we are doing"---raising lavender and making all of our own products right here in America! People are talking on television about how important it is to buy American made products and we agree. To this end for our local friends we will be at the Lawrence Farmers Holiday Market Saturday, December 10th at the Lawrence Holiday Inn. We hope you can come by and say hello and maybe pick up that gift for that "special" person.
To you and yours we wish you the happiest of holidays and a terrific New Year!
To be continued...
And so a new year is upon us! Can you believe the winter; less than 3" of snow for the entire season(as of today). We hope this is not confusing the lavender. It certainly has the Daffys messed up. They are nearly 5" tall and just about ready to bloom. Hope it does not freeze for a while.
When last we were here we said their were some surprizes and we would let you know later if they were going to happen. Well it seems like they will. We are planning to increase the number of lavender plants we have in the ground from about 4,500 to upwards of 10,000. And, we are in the process of putting in a new road to increase access to the lavender fields and hopefully make it easier for you to come and share the beauty and fragrance of our lavender. This will take a while but we look forward to having the road in and working by harvest time in late June. If this works we hope to have a mini lavender festival some time in mid summer. "Hope" is the operative word. The festival will depend on weather, the road and our ability to pull it together. So, along with us please keep your fingers crossed.
We again will be at the Lawrence Farmers Market this summer in our same location(we have applied and hope to hear soon).
Once again, we thank you for your continued interest in Washington Creek Lavender and we look forward to seeing many of you this summer.
To be continued...
Well, as we said when last we were here “stay tuned” for what is coming next. We have good news and news that is not as good as we would like it; yet, good anyway. Make sense? We hope so!
First, the real good news. Our plants are on schedule and we look to plant another 2,500 lavender plants in late May/early June. We are excited and will give you an accurate count on how many we have in the ground as the planting is completed(between six and seven thousand).
And more real good news, our Hoop House was delivered and we will have that up and completed by June 30. It comes in pieces and we have to assemble it. A real task but we are really looking forward to doing it. A couple of weeks ago we helped put one up at Red Tractor Farm. Jess and Jen were terrific to work with and they had nearly 30 poeple helping. A great experience! Having the Hoop House is really exciting as it will give us a chance to propagate our own plants. If you wish to help us put it up please give us a shout!
Now the not nearly as good news as we had hoped but still good news anyway! We have been approved for our road and new entrance; however, this took a “bit” more time than we had anticipated so we are going to have to hold off on the Lavender Festival until next year. We are disappointed; however, pleased that we have made the progress toward completing the road.
And finally, more good news, we will be back at the Lawrence Farmers Market beginning April 14th. We have the same stall so when you walk in the west entrance walk straight forward to the westend of the east lot(next to Moon Over the Meadow) and there we are.
More to come later on our new products and where else we will be selling them. Talk with you soon...
May 1, 2012...
Spring is here and so summer may be as well. The lavender plants don’t seem to know what to make of the early warm weather so they have decided that it IS summer and they are going to bloom. Many of the plants may be as much as a month early. Wow, who would have guessed? This means that within the next few weeks we will probably be harvesting some of the “early bloomers!”
Other news...Our Hoop House arrived(in parts of course) and we have begun the construction process. We helped Jess and Jen at Red Tractor Farm with theirs so we learned a ton(also learned about muscles we did not know we had).
And finally the Lawrence Farmers Market is open. We have been in a “soft” opening, whatever that is for the first three weeks and on May 5 all begins(or began depending upon when you are reading this). We look forward to seeing our old friends and making new ones at this year’s market.
Another, “and!” We had the 57th customer come by the booth at the market on April 28th and tell us they have been using our Organic Lavender Dryer Sheets for more than a year. They really do work!!!
Until next time...
May 28, 2012...
What a month May has been! First, we have gained momentum on building our 96’ x 20’ High Tunnel/Hoop House. We have all the posts and the hoops up! Our great thanks to Henry Nieder for all of his help. The wood arrived this past weekend and so you can see how we are spending our holiday!
New starter plants have been ordered(2,500) and we will plant them the first week in June. A number of new varieties but more about that as they get in the ground.
We have begun to harvest some of the “early birds, ' the Buena Vista and Melissa (both of which may be used for culinary purposes) and we will be taking them to the Lawrence Farmers Market. We are excited about this summer and look forward to seeing all of our old friends and making new ones.
Our major harvest will probably be the first two weeks of June. Very early this year as weather has been so warm.
More to come...