From the Old Sailor to the Newbies

This is a guest post from Mike Neustrom from Prairie Lavender Farm in Kansas – yes, there’s lavender in Kansas!  He calls me Kiddo.  – Mary B.

Buena Vista lavender at Prairie Lavender Farm

I first met Mary & Tim Bergstrom in Kerrville, TX at the Southwest Lavender Conference in February 2011.  She walked right up to me and introduced herself, and wanted to know if there was a national organization for lavender growers.  I told her no there wasn’t currently, but there had been work done in the past that had stalled due to a death of one of the major organizers of our early efforts.  I told her we were without a rudder at that point.  Mary volunteered to take the “helm” so to speak, and we entered into a journey of a year-and-a-half of gathering other lavender farmers to start the national organization.  We were able to launch the United States Lavender Growers Association in April 2012, which has grown into a member organization of over 200 lavender farms and growing.  Mary has served as our founding President and serves in that role to this day.

At that first meeting, both Tim and Mary were excited about all things lavender, and it’s been fun watching them gather data about lavender and planning for their own farm.  Last June they announced they had located their perfect “farm” site, and off they moved from Maryland to South Carolina.  Last week I got to spend time with them at the Northwest Lavender Conference in Portland, Oregon.  Knowing fully well they had one, I asked Tim if Mary had developed a plan.  He promptly told Mary and she hunted me down and whipped out a copy of the master plan they’d developed for their farm.  Were they excited?  Yeah, I’d say so.  You can see a copy of their compass (Master Plan) on this website.  I cannot say I’m surprised or disappointed that they’d done an outstanding job getting everything lined up.

I started my farm in 2002 with no plan and learned the hard way.  Their approach is something I definitely could have learned from, and I’m sure other new lavender farmers can learn from it now.  Best of luck to you two!

Mike Neustromprarie_lavender_farm
Owner, Prairie Lavender Farm
69 Alpine Ridge Ln
Bennington, KS 67422