WASHINGTON ISLAND – If you think about products that grow well in Door County, people might say cherries or apples.
But a newcomer is cropping up.
Lavender farmers are finding success on Washington Island.
Twenty-one acres of freshly-planted lavender wisp in the Washington Island wind.
Edgar and Martine Anderson are two of the owners of the Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm.
“We both retired from corporate careers and decided that we wanted to stay busy. Martine, my wife, has always dreamed of growing lavender,” said Edgar Anderson.
“I don’t think I have known one person who doesn’t like lavender,” said Martine Anderson.
The couple experimented with growing lavender a year ago. Anderson says Washington Island’s sandy soil works well.
“Most plants won’t like it, but Lavender does,” he said.
A new store features everything lavender.
“It’s beautiful. I’ve never seen so many products with lavender,” said Ann Wambach visiting with friends from Evanston, Illinois.
Traditional aromatics are processed on site.
“I love the scent of lavender. To me it’s really relaxing. So yeah, that’s what I like and I like the color obviously,” said Kelly Marcelle of Evanston.
And did you know you can eat this stuff?
“I didn’t realize there was so many food products that you can have with lavender so that’s kind of interesting too,” said Wambach.
There is lavender jelly, candy and chocolate too.
“It’s chocolate with a lavender finish. I think it’s delicious. I didn’t think lavender went with anything,” said Melissa Thompson of Evanston.
Fragrant Isle is helping to fuel the island economy. In the past year, Anderson has hired ten people to work at this site.
“We’re trying to create opportunity and economic impact as well. Everything from the building itself, all the way through our branding, our labels, our website. People got involved, and got it done,” said Anderson.
In three years, Anderson plans to double the crop. He says 30,000 lavender plants will fill his field.
“Our goal is for our customers to come and experience the land, and experience the farm, and being able to get close to the lavender, and understand what it does, and how it looks. They can also just walk along around the lavender and really enjoy the beauty of the flower,” said Anderson.
The plants still have about two weeks of growing before they fully-bloom. Anderson says harvesting will begin in late July, and run through the end of the summer.