It was the turn of the century, a new millennium, and Mary had new ideas. After all, Y2K was a success, it should be time to identify new and challenging goals. You must keep in mind that Mary is one of those individuals who feel “change is good”.
Now, Mary had given a lot of thought to a new adventure before she offered up her proposal. Finally, one day she approached me with the idea of growing “more” flowers. When growing up, her family always had a large vegetable and herb garden as well as large flower beds. I expected a couple more flower beds, probably along our quarter mile lane. Well, that wasn’t quite what she had in mind. No, Mary wanted to grow lavender as a commercial crop. She has always been partial to the color purple and her full name is Rose Mary. Lavender is a member of the Rosemary family, so it only seemed fitting that she would be partial to the Lavender plant. On the other hand, I had always adhered to traditional farming by raising cattle and hay. However, trying to keep an open mind, I agreed to “give up” a couple of acres, thus started the new endeavor.
We spent a considerable amount of time doing further research of Lavender, it’s properties and growing habits. It was apparent, this would be more than a two person undertaking. Mary decided it was time to convince our son and his family that this was an adventure of a lifetime. Thus the lavender farm became a family project and a true learning experience for all. Being a small family, this means that everyone shares in the work.
The initial agreement was that Mary would make the products and I would take care of the sales. The products we sell are primarily hand crafted on the farm. Mary and the grandchildren do the sewing. Mary’s grandmother taught her to sew at the age of 6, now she is attempting to pass that knowledge along to our grandchildren.
In the spring of 2005, we partnered with a local beekeeper. Bee hives have been placed close to the field for production of lavender honey. We also “infused” locally produced clover honey with our lavender buds.
Kansas Lavender / Ingwerson Farms is located eight miles west of Topeka, Kansas just off Interstate 70 and Valencia Rd, on the bluffs of the Kansas River basin. This area of Kansas is not a native climate for lavender. The soil had to be amended as Lavender does not grow well in good black soil. Special care is taken to accommodate the summer humidity and the winter cold. Currently there are twelve varieties grown on the farm, however, Grosso and Provence are the main crop. The plants had adapted quite well to Kansas life and the fragrance has been wonderful.
The farm was open for tours during June 2005 with fresh cut flowers and products available for purchase.
The fields will be opened again in June. See dates and times on the events page.
Visitors are encouraged to bring cameras or paints and easels to capture the views of the flowers, butterflies, birds, and bees.
If you have the chance, please visit our farm.
Jim Ingwerson & Family