New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm
So, what’s your story? How long have you been here in the Driftless, Were you born in the Driftless, What keeps you here in the Driftless?
Aron grew up on a cattle and wheat ranch in Kansas and Laura was born in Waupun, WI. We lived in Kansas after college where we owned a pharmacy in a small town. After we sold our business and moved to the Driftless area, we decided to start a lavender farm with our 3 children. We love the Driftless area and all the beauty it has!
Tell us about what you do for work or your business.
We are a family owned lavender & cherry farm. Each one of our family members plays a role to help make it all run smoothly. Lavender farming is a lot of physical labor. When we bought our property in 2016 it was an abandoned farm with a house and several outbuildings. It all needed to be torn down and the brush/trees needed to be cleaned up. We then started to build our farm store building in January 2017. In Spring of 2017 we planted over 600 cherry trees and by the end of May we had planted 4000 lavender plants. We all helped lay down the weed barrier, plant the trees & plants, while simultaneously working very long hours finishing up the inside of the farm store to get ready to open in June 2017.
This is what we each do on our farm:
Aron: Owner/Farm Manager Aron is no stranger in the agriculture community as he was raised on a ranch in Kansas. He has turned his love for farming and expertise/ knowledge he has gained from his father in his years growing up into a passion for growing lavender and helping taking care of the farm animals. He is the farm manager and leads our Farm to Table Wagon ride tours, as well as all other farm projects that come up! Aron is also our lead baker for our lavender cherry pies, and puts his chemistry background to work by developing many of the new products in our store. Aron and Laura make a good team as Laura does the design work and Aron carries them out through his long list of handy skills in carpentry and wood-working, hand building all the fixtures in the store and around the farm.
Laura: Owner/Store Manager/Event Coordinator As a child who was always drawn to the creative arts, Laura has made a dream come true through the expression of herself through painting, sewing, creative/interior design, baking, and product design. Enter into a peaceful space where the interior design and many of the lavender products in the farm store are uniquely designed by Laura. She is also in charge of organizing/scheduling all events, both private & public, speaking engagements, Afternoon Teas, and any projects detailing the farm store.
Gabriel: Beekeeper Ever since Gabriel was a young child, he has been Dad’s helper. As he grew into adolescence, he has taken a few of his parents adventurous characteristics and applied them to his own twist in life. He has developed a hunger for knowledge in many areas of life, one of them including beekeeping. He has read extensively for 2 years and talked with local beekeepers and learned the trade. He has experienced the ups and downs of starting a new hobby, the excitement and frustrations, how beekeeping affects our ecosystems, and learning entrepreneurship and speaking skills at the same time. He plays a role in our farm tours by speaking and teaching about beekeeping. He also gives demonstrations during the lavender festival in July and all class field trips, where he engages fellow students. He sells his own lavender honey in our farm store, which sells out quickly. So if you’d like to try this unique honey, you’d better be on your toes as it usually sells out within a week after extraction, which is done on site by Gabriel and Aron. Gabriel has also taken up a new hobby in computer programming and has proved to be quite useful as he problem solves business endeavors by making programs useful for our business.
Micah: Caretaker of farm animals/farm photographer When Micah was young, he was always drawn to animals. He has experienced the unconditional love and great connection that animals offer. So it made perfect sense to us that when Micah approached us about wanting animals, that a lavender farm should have animals also, and that quickly became part of our farm to table tours. Micah turned his focus on sheep and also researched for 2 years on how to take care of sheep, what kind of sheep to get and talked with local sheep farmers, and turned his passion and love for animals into a integral part of the farm tours by speaking about his animals, and letting you feed and pet them. He worked with Dad to set up the fence for his sheep.
Micah has also peaked another interest, and is learning the art of photography and applying it to taking pictures on the farm. Micah has always seen the world from a unique perspective and photography has given him a chance to showcase his perspective from a lens point of view. We are excited to display his photos, which will be available for purchase.
Gracia: Master of Playtime Gracia has a fun personality and loves to interact with all guests who visit our farm. She immediately becomes a child’s best friend by taking all the kids who come out to the playground. So for families who have small children, you’re always welcome! You’ll be greeted by a spunky girl who loves to play, and will invite your children to play outside with her! You’ll also see her on all the farm to table tours, as she LOVES to ride on the wagon and talk about her fish!
Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career with your business.
I think the most significant accomplishment is going for the lavender farm. We invested our life savings into our dream and we haven’t looked back. It is always a huge risk starting a business and a lavender farm is even more unconventional and requires taking many risks and thinking outside the box.
We’re constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. We leverage technology or improve processes. In other words, we strive to do more—with less. Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient, or less expensive.
Technology is really changing farming in general, however, Lavender farming just requires more hands on work with weeding, planting, drying…. Two big improvements for us is we had a Lavender Debudding Machine custom made that cuts weeks of work into hours. Another is our son, Gabriel, who writes computer programs to streamline our business. He understands our problems and looks to solve them. The most recent is a Farm Tour Reservation program that saves Laura about an hour every day.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve met, that stand apart from the rest, while here at your business or workplace.
We are so blessed to meet people not just from the United States; but from all over the world, in so many walks of life. We truly enjoy interacting and forming relationships from so many different people every day!
Tell us about someone who has influenced your decisions for yourself or your business.
Our business is greatly influenced by our faith in God, and love of nature. Also, Laura and I influence each other in every decision. We have different strengths and work really good together making decisions while looking at it through different perspectives.
What do you think will change about your business or business process over the next five years?
We hope our business continues to grow! Each year we expand our Lavender fields and we figure out more efficient processes in doing our work. We also expect to utilize technology in more ways in our retail store and in lavender processing.
What do you wish other people knew about you or your business?
We hope people know that we are a Welcoming Family Farm!
If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … what would you tell them?
Unexpected beauty in so many places.
How do you develop yourself outside of your work environment? Personal development can take all shapes and sizes. It can be found in a hobby, a purposeful pursuit, or in an appetite to explore.
As a small business owner almost every activity involves the business in some way. We don’t “get away” to much from it, but that is okay because we love our business. We are involved in our church and have purpose in our faith. We also enjoy many walks in our state parks (with our dog), we love to explore scenic areas, and helping our boys practice basketball!
What are some of your favorite places to go and have fun here in the Driftless?
We love the many miles of hiking trails at Devil’s Lake State Park, and especially climbing the bluffs.
What might our readers be surprised to know about you?
That we previously owned a Pharmacy before we started a Lavender Farm!
New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm
E10766 County Road W
Baraboo, WI 53913
Visit Website HERE
New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm