Sharing their love of lavender
A view of purple rows overlooking the pond and the smell of lavender in the air greets visitors of Lakeview Lavender Farm in Elmore City, Oklahoma.
Lakeview Lavender Farm started in 2016 by Bill and Marilou Munn. Both are retired educators from Pauls Valley, who were looking for a project to keep them busy during their retirement. They both grew up on a farm and working the land and knew they wanted something to keep them connected to their roots. While neither knew anything about lavender, they were excited about the possibilities and learning something new.
“We didn’t know anything about lavender, I just knew it smelled good and I liked it,” Marilou jokes.
With a direction on what they wanted to do; they began to learn.
“Each year we learn something new,” Marilou adds. “It takes about three years for a lavender plant to mature and this coming year will be our first year to not have to plant new plants. We had several plans in helping students in the area learn more about lavender, however this year with the pandemic our plans changed."
Currently, Lakeview Lavender Farm offers rosemary and 11 different varieties of lavender for customers to walk through and pick. In addition to the rosemary and lavender they also have wildflowers and a gift shop with lavender products and lavender plants for sale.
“We would like to narrow down our lavender varieties to about three and just focus on those,” Marilou says. “We are starting to figure out which varieties are best for us.”
The Munns are part of the Texas Lavender Growers Association and the United States Lavender Growers Association, which has allowed them to meet other growers and learn from their experiences.
“Lavender is a versatile plant and almost the entire plant can be used,” Marilou adds. “Almost all of our lavender is culinary grade. After the lavender is picked and customers are done with the fresh plant, they can pick the buds and use them for baking.”
The Munns will start their lavender cuttings in their greenhouse and start planting in April. By late spring through early summer is an ideal time to visit Lakeview Lavender Farm for fresh lavender. However, Marilou takes the dried lavender and makes many products throughout the year to sell. Typically, they will harvest 750 bundles of lavender a year.
“Fresh lavender can last seven days in water as long as the water is changed daily,” explains Marilou. “It normally takes seven to 10 days for the lavender to dry and I will store them in boxes to use later throughout the year.”
Marilou makes lavender honey, lavender simply syrup, pound cakes and cookies with lavender, smudge sticks, soaps and sachets. Marilou and Bill have several ideas of how to grow and expand in the future including hosting craft-making classes and lavender festivals. To learn more about the future plans of Lakeview Lavender Farm visit their Facebook page.
“We encourage everyone to come out, relax and enjoy the farm while picking baskets full of lavender,” Marilou concludes.