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ISSUE DATE: 07/28/2014

Purple reign: A splash of lavender in the heartland

By Doug Rich

Lavender was not their first choice, but it turned out to be the best choice for Jack and Kathy Wilson. They started the Washington Creek Lavender farm in 2005 after trying several other specialty crops on their hilltop acreage in rural Douglas County, Kansas.

In 2004 the Wilsons moved to Kansas from Chicago, where Jack was a TV producer and Kathy was a nationally recognized food photographer. Kathy is originally from nearby Lawrence, Kansas, but Jack is from New Jersey.

Jack said even now he will look out the window of their log home and ask his wife, “What is that out there?” and Kathy will say, “For the last time, Jack, that is a tree.”

The idea for moving to Kansas arose when Kathy inherited some land in the valley along Washington Creek. They purchased some land for their house and the top of the hill above their home, which is where they eventually planted lavender. Jack said they tried several crops before settling on this colorful crop.

They tried tomatoes first but a hailstorm wiped out their first crop. Next they planted organic basil. It grew well and a store in Lawrence agreed to buy their crop, but there were some problems. In order to deliver fresh basil, Kathy had to drive up the top of the hill at 4 a.m., shine lights from the truck on the basil to harvest it, clean it, and then deliver it to town.

“I didn’t realize that the weight we were paid on was mostly the stems,” Wilson said. “I took all the leafs off the stem and delivered nice, clean bags of basil leafs that weighed basically nothing.”


Aging Oklahoma dam infrastructure slated for upgrades
Attorney General Chris Koster backs Farming Rights Amendment
Black gold pumps green into economy
Conservation helps rare butterfly
Funding from USDA-NRCS available to assist with storm-damaged crops
How's the air out there on the farm?
LaPolice out to challenge incumbent
National park tourism in Kansas creates $4.1M in economic benefit
New method distinguishes yellow perch females from males
Nomination deadline nears for Farm Service Agency county committees
Oklahoma firefighters assisting in western wildfires
Quarter-scale tractor teams score high at international competition
Study finds commercial banks meeting needs of ag borrowers
USDA announces funding availability for Farm Labor Housing loans and grants
USDA awards funds to promote development of rural wood to energy projects
USDA continues farm bill implementation with provisions to help farmers manage risk


ASTA elects new leadership to move seed industry forward
Canola showcased at College Station field day
China makes its largest weekly purchase of U.S. sorghum
Climate change provides good growing conditions for charcoal rot in soybeans
Control honey locust trees in no-till crop fields
Corn earworm appearing in state
Drought and poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy
Ethanol sector wages outpace other Nebraska industries
Farm marketing meeting set Aug. 7 at Prairie Band Casino
Former WSU MBA director to lead Sedgwick County Extension Center
Grant-funded webcast tackles fungicide resistance in corn and soybean
Hoffman Harvesting: Where's the sun?
Kansas idea feeds 3 billion
K-State announces new agricultural economics department head
K-State Field Day to celebrate 25 years of subsurface drip irrigation research
K-State Research and Extension to host statewide events
Low levels of insects popping up in crop fields
Misener Family Harvesters: Home for harvest
Nebraska Manure Demonstration Day July 29 at Lexington
Nine local schools awarded $38,000 for Kansas Agriculture Skills & Competencies Certificates
Osowski Ag Services: Life in 'Sainty' was worth it
Pre-Plant Wheat School Aug. 6
Purple reign: A splash of lavender in the heartland
Roland Harvesting: A little bit of family fun
Scientists complete chromosome-based draft of the wheat genome
Soils workshop set for Columbia, Aug. 13-14
Sugarcane aphids found early in northeast Texas sorghum fields
To conserve water, look to drip
Two-day Farm Transition Workshop to take place in Stillwater
USDA announces results of soy checkoff request for referendum vote
USDA to invest in Red River Basin conservation effort
Use worms to help with organic composting
Wheat U set for Aug. 5 in Wichita
Z Crew: Sitting, sitting and more sitting


Animal Health Industry Insights Seminar: introduction to compounding
Champions named at 2014 National Junior Angus Show
Colorado Depart of Agriculture issues equine update
Council panel looks ahead to the future of livestock industry
Genomics enhance beef cattle breeding
Larson chosen Hereford National Junior Merit Scholar
Momentum remains strong for U.S. pork, beef exports
MU offers risk management programs for livestock producers
National Junior Red Angus Association elects officers
NJAA recognizes 2014 Advisors of the Year
Nordhausen to serve as Angus regional manager for Nebraska, Colorado
Pregnancy check time for cows bred in the spring
Red Angus members appointed to BIF board
Stars, cattle drive re-creation on tap in Dodge City
Study: Zilmax has no apparent detrimental effect on cattle health
Thorpe honored for beef industry achievements


Protecting politicians
Time to send a clear message to EPA
Vote YES on Amendment 1
Vote YES on Amendment 1


Bidding goodbye to a longtime friend
Company unveils catalog app for Apples, Androids
Distributor adds major tracker to its line
Eco friendly solution for sustainable ag
Head in the sand, not your hand in the air
The next generation of agricultural communicators: Ready to lead
Weather inflection
When will USDA offices be able to provide 'one-stop' shopping?


Amarillo livestock sales report
Apache livestock auction report
Dodge City livestock auction report
Georgia livestock auction summary
Grain market close
Hay trade and movement slow to moderate
High Plains direct slaughter cattle sales report
Joplin regional cattle sales report
Lighter demand for hay in most areas
OKC West livestock market report
Pratt 3 p.m. feeder cattle auction report
Pratt livestock auction report
Salina livestock auction report
South Central direct sheep sales report
Springfield dairy heifer sale
Wheat closes mostly higher
Woodward livestock sales report


Basic Prescribed Fire Training up and running online
Eastern Kansas grazing school to be held in Blaine
Hay situation good in east, southeast, iffy in others
June grass growth doubles May's low hay production
Managing phosphorus in pastures means saving fish, other water inhabitants
Nebraska Grazing Conference in Kearney to include live cattle handling demo
UW Extension bulletin explains using native plants, adapted seed sources for reclamation


4-H members reach 10,000-hour hunger service goal, keep going
Barton County 4-H teen leaders teach others about water quality
Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive
Eye-appealing Kentner has many features
Fall gardening season has arrived
Herbicide carryover a problem in garden mulch, manure
How low should you mow?
'Loving Lavender' program is Aug. 7 at Botanical Center
Patio-perfect suppers
Preserving the harvest
The graceful iris
Western athletes the stars of the arena

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