By BRENNA GRITEMAN
CAREY — The Little Lavender Farm started as a curiosity.
Tammy Boyce was living in Arcadia, with just a few lavender plants blooming in her yard. She had read a magazine article about a woman who ran a big lavender farm in Oregon state, and not long after, Boyce became frustrated in her attempts at replacing some lavender-infused body projects she’d received as a gift. All of these elements began swirling around in her head, and an idea began to sprout: “I bet I can make that.”
Fast forward 10 years, and Boyce is the proud owner of northwest Ohio’s only lavender farm, located on a sprawling, secluded slice of land in rural Carey. She has perfected the recipe for handmade soaps and other lavender products, which are popular among customers at the Gray Mare artisan marketplace in downtown Carey. And she’s a proud member of the U.S. Lavender Association, which conveniently came into being around the same time she put her plants in the ground at the farm, back in 2012.
The Little Lavender Farm opened to the public for the first time this summer. Inside a quaint shed that serves as her aromatic gift shop, Boyce serves up lavender lemonade and sells packaged tea, along with candles, sachets, lotions, facial scrubs, room spray, eye pillows and household items printed with lavender stalks.
Behind the shed, 100 lavender plants bloom in brilliant shades of purple, pink and white. The sweet-smelling varieties like English lavender mix with the more medicinal smells emanating from the plants with higher levels of camphor. Visitors are welcome to wander the rows and assemble their own perfect bundles, or they can purchase prepacked bouquets or seedlings to take home and plant.
Boyce plans to double the farm’s size by next summer and laments having lost her “biggest, baddest row” to an overly wet spring.
“The one thing that lavender really does not tolerate is wet roots,” she says, noting the clay soil on her property tends to hold onto moisture.
Some of her prized plants, reaching above knee-high and measuring wider than her wingspan, never came back from last winter. Other plants have small signs of life but have not returned to their full potential.
Lavender blooms from mid-June through July. After the season, growers typically cut off the buds, bundle them and hang them upside-down to dry out. Buds can also be used for body products or craft projects, or are sometimes sold to couples to use as wedding decor.
The Little Lavender Farm is located at 3101 Township Highway 107 and welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The farm is also hosting a series of paint and sip parties this summer. Check its Facebook page for more information or call 419-722-3317.