Wisconsin Lavender is a Specialty Crop Indeed
New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm in Baraboo opened my eyes, and my nose, to the wonder of lavender. In mid-July, I was able to visit the farm for a tour and learned so much about this pretty purple plant. Not only do humans enjoy lavender, but bees do as well. New Life Lavender was buzzing with life as they are home to multiple bee hives, fish, sheep, cows, and a family of five.
Lavender can be used in a variety of ways. Its first known use was in Egyptian culture being used medicinally and in the mummification process – who knew! In World War I, lavender essential oil was used as an antiseptic. Today, there are over 40 varieties, or cultivars, of lavender that each have their own unique aromas and properties. Different cultivars of lavender are used in making lotions, essential oils, and baked goods.
Lavender is a perennial plant and grows for about 10 years in Wisconsin. During the winter the plants are covered to protect them from the harsh winter cold. New Life Lavender uses the propagation method to make new plants. Propagation is the process of taking a cutting from an existing plant to make a ‘clone’ and allowing it to sprout roots.
Aron and Laura McReynolds own and operate New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm with their three children. The farm store is located on 40 acres of land that are full of plants, smells, and animals. In 2017 they had their first season open to the public and the business has continued to grow over the years. With over 25 varieties of lavender, 10,000 lavender plants, a five-acre pollinator habitat, livestock, a bakery, and more, there is always work to be done on this bustling farm.
The whole family takes part in making sure the farm runs smoothly. Laura is in charge of the farm store and events. She added her artistic touches inside the building, which stands out alongside the country backdrop. Aron manages the farm, leads wagon ride tours, and is the head baker…to name just a few of his responsibilities. I had the privilege of sampling their cherry and lavender pie – it was amazing! Riding through the farm on the wagon ride tour was truly an experience as Aron shared their farm to table story, current farm projects, and goals for the season.
Even Aron and Laura’s three children share their passion for Wisconsin agriculture. Gracia shared jokes and facts about the fish that are kept in a pond near the farm store. During the wagon ride we also stopped to see Micah, Aron and Laura’s second son, who cares for a herd of sheep and a couple of cows in a pasture near their pollinator field. Micah sells his lamb and beef sticks in the farm store. I couldn’t resist getting a package on my way out, and I’m glad I did – they were very tasty with a hint of spice.
Aron and Laura’s oldest son Gabriel also plays a big role in his family’s business. From managing multiple bee hives around the farm to running the lavender distillation equipment and even driving the tractor during my tour, Gabriel helps to keep New Life Lavender in motion (literally!).
New Life Lavender and Cherry Farm has an onsite store that is packed with essential oils, lotions, jams, cooking ingredients, and so much more. They also serve a variety of beverages (I recommend the lavender lemonade) and baked goods like cherry pie, lavender lemon poppy seed cupcakes, and even lavender ice cream! Purchasing Wisconsin’s high-quality, nutritious food products like these supports farmers and food processors, and contributes to the economic strength of Wisconsin communities like Baraboo.
New Life Lavender is a warm and inviting place perfect for relaxing, restoration, and reconnecting. Learn more at https://www.newlifelavender.com.