Julie Haushalter might be the calmest person in the Shenandoah Valley. She and her husband Rick operate White Oak Lavender Farm with 5500 plants, a distillery, a petting farm (with goats, horses & giant rabbits), a duck pond, gift shop, wedding venue and gathering place that attracts visitors year round.
Why lavender? As an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, I have always been interested in ways to help others find peace in their lives and reduce stress. Lavender contributes to this cause with its calming fragrance and its natural beauty. When people visit the farm and watch the ducks swimming in their pond, they relax. Many of the visitors return each summer.
How do you attract people to your farm? It helps to be located near a large and popular resort. We are about 12 miles from Massanuttan, a year round resort. We participate in “meet and greets” and invite people to come see the lavender, pet our animals and sip lavender lemonade. We also reach out to our local community inviting moms groups to visit the farm. In the summer, we offer tastes of lavender lemonade and in the fall and winter, we serve hot cider. We have a large white tent where I talk about lavender, especially the history of lavender and how to use it in cooking.
What products do you sell? Visitors can buy lavender sugar, aromatherapy mist, meditation oil, bath salts or soap at our gift shop. All our products are made from lavender oil we grow and distill on this farm.
What other ways are your products used? We provide lavender sachets, mists and soap to Rockingham Memorial Women’s Center. When a woman gets a mammogram, she can squeeze our lavender stress balls and she goes home with a sachet. During biopsies, a lavender mist may be used and if cancer is diagnosed, a woman often takes home soap or bath salts. We prepare these items at special times with reverence knowing that they will be used for healing.
How did you come to be interested in cancer survivors? My sister died at a young age of breast cancer and my mother is a survivor. My mother, the farm’s seamstress, makes many of the sachets with these special ladies in mind. The women are invited to visit the farm and tell their stores. We offer retreats at the farm to help women of all faiths discover inner resources for finding strength in their journey with cancer.
What do you personally like best about growing lavender? For me it goes back to the healing properties. Lavender has been used throughout time for cleansing and healing. The word lavender comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash’. It is a natural antiseptic, antibiotic and insect repellant. Used in aromatherapy, lavender induces calmness and relaxation. The fragrance of lavender helps people sleep, too.
* Part 2 will be posted on Monday, October 11th. Julie offers advice for people considering growing lavender.