Lavender has been a sensory, culinary and decorative herb for thousands of years.
But for Betsy and Davin Reichard, an idea to grow it spawned approximatley ten years ago when they first visited a lavender farm.
They had purchased a property in 2008.
The Reichard’s talked the idea over with family members, and in 2009 did research on the subject and visited other lavender farms, Betsy said
In 2010 the Reichard’s planted their first plants in the ground, half of which died.
Experimenting they planted 800 plants in 2012, 300 of which were mounded, which is planting the lavender in hills.
“The 300 that were mounded, died,” she said.
In 2013 they planted 1000 plants in a different spot and “they all died,” Reichard said.
The Reichard’s enlisted the help of Kansas State University, who told them this loss was due to weather conditions.
The Tri-Valley Developmental Services Horticulture Therapy Program propagates the lavender for the Reichards.
In 2014 they moved to a different pasture.
“It’s been a heck-of-a-lot more work than we imagined,” she said.
But finally, success in 2014.
That year they started making lavender products: lotions, soaps, bath salts, sachets, and spritzes.
“It takes lavender three years to mature, and it’s very labor intensive,” she said. “It’s a Mediterranean plant.”
“People have said lavender is a natural antiseptic, some say it’s a natural flea and tick repellant,” Reichard said of the products made on the farm.
The Reichards children: Jacob, Andrew, Joseph and wife, Tori, Rebecah and Aaron Houser and Levi, have helped through the years with the farm, as have other family and friends, Betsy said.
“For so many years we’ve had many troubles, so it’s finally good to see results,” Betsy said.
In their other lives, Betsy is a teacher in Nevada, Missouri, and Davin is a comptroller at SEKAN Printing Company, she said.
The Lavender Patch Festival
This Saturday is the first lavender festival that the Reichard’s are hosting at their Lavender Patch Farm at 2376 Locust, just east of Fort Scott.
The Lavender Patch Festival is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $5 admission. Children under five years old are free.
Parking will be at 2396 Locust, with signs to designate.
“Bring a lawn chair and comfortable walking shoes, this is a working farm,” Betsy said.
There will be tours, demonstrations, vendors, games, and live music by Bob (Pavey) Lovett and Red Letter Edition playing throughout the day.
You can pick your own bundle of lavender from several varieties for $5, or purchase a lavender plant for $7.
They have converted their garage into a gift shop and will be selling their lavender products.
Lunch will be sold with some lavender recipes featured.
Martha Scott will demonstrate how to make lavender wands and presentations will be by Reichard on lavender products, how to plant lavender, and how to make lavender wreaths.
Vendors will be Bobbie Kemna, featuring her pottery; Black Dog Farms featuring their honey; and Jean Strader spinning wool.
Bourbon County Conservation will give a presentation on wildlife pollinators at the festival.
“It will be a relaxing day so come out with family and friends, listen to some wonderful music, enjoy the craftsmanship of our vendors, smell and touch the lavender,” Betsy said.
The Reichard’s can be contacted at 620-223-1364, www.lavenderpatchfarm.com, TheLavenderPatch@gmail.com or on Facebook, The Lavender Patch.