Article and photographs courtesy of Jesse Knockaert, The Chronicle.
Reproduced with permission. http://www.thechronicle-online.com
Local agro-tourism may get a boost from a farm for lavender that’s getting started on Ash Line in Wallacetown.
Jesper and Pamela Andersen own and operate the farm, along with their son Adam. Planting had begun May 25. The business, which will be called Lavender Sense, should be ready for business in July, depending on weather. People will be able to pick their own lavender, and a shop will be open in the Andersen’s home with lavender products such as lavender oils, aromatherapy products, and scented soy candles. Pamela loves angels, so the shop will include angel themed products such as angel statues and other knick-knacks.
Jesper counts local food markets and the West Lorne Arts and Cookery Bank as attractions for agricultural tourism, and he wants to contribute with his own business.
“My intention is that I want to draw hundreds of thousands of people, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to do it,” said Jesper. “We have 3.3 million people within a hundred kilometers. We have nearly nine million within a three hour drive when you go to greater metropolitan Toronto, into Detroit and Toledo… this is a huge, huge crowd that can go through.”
Jesper said the inspiration to start this farm started over seven years ago. At the time, he and his wife lived in Asia, where lavender is very popular. The two thought going into the lavender business could be a fun idea.
“I think it's important to demonstrate there are other means to getting employment, interest and income to the area,” he said. “It goes without saying now that we have a challenging economy and a county that's based largely on the automotive industry, and that's not going in the right direction, then we should find other ways to do it, to recreate yourself.”
The Andersen’s property is 50 acres of land including forest trails. The Andersen’s hope people will come for the lavender, but also stay and enjoy the countryside. Jesper said they would use organic growing practices; no herbicides or pesticides.
The farm will employ part-time workers in the peak growing season, and may need full-time employees as it evolves. Learn more at their website, www.lavendersense.com