It might seem strange to realize that agriculture includes growing flowers, but our lavender farm is definitely a farm and we have a growing business (pun intended).
We (myself, son Bryan, and daughter-in-law Cindy) planted our first lavender plants in the fall of 2009, added about 950 more in the spring of 2010, and another 2,000 in 2011.
Our 120-acre farm is located on a limestone shelf above Black Canyon, which runs through Heber and borders our property on one side. We had to fence the other three sides with three fences: One for looks (built pre-lavender farm), one to keep the cattle out, and one to keep the rabbits out. Lavender loves the limestone, our 6000′ elevation, and our warm, dry climate.
Before planting, we had to remove juniper trees and rocks — lots of rocks, from small to humongous. Then we had to create furrows by hand with pick and shovel in order to place underground waterlines. We use solar power to pump the water from our well, and in fact, the electricity for our entire farm and home is generated by solar and wind power. So we are green, at least where we are not purple!
We farm organically and are Certified Naturally Grown. We use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and all our weeds are pulled by hand. It takes three years for a plant to mature, and they live for about 15 to 20 years; we plan to keep propagating and planting more until our goal of 10,000 plants is reached. This is the third year for many of our lavender plants and we are enjoying a great harvest.
We sell fresh and dried lavender, and many other products hand-crafted from lavender and other all-natural ingredients — sachets, soaps, lotions, deodorant sticks, lip balm, salves, candles, etc. We also package lavender teas and we are especially proud of our culinary lavender. Many people are surprised to learn that lavender is an herb used in cooking — everything from cookies to pork chops, lemonade to bischotti, and beyond.
So our farming encompasses everything from preparing the land to selling the finished products. We sell them online at www.windyhillslavender.com and in a retail shop in the little town of Heber. Look us up, and be sure to visit our Lavender Boutique” when you come up to Heber.
- Arizona Lavender Festival set to begin (azfamily.com)
- Interesting Information About Arizona Agriculture (fillyourplate.org)
- A Picture of Arizona Agriculture (fillyourplate.org)