Frogholler Lavender Farm recently held their first public harvest of fresh cut lavender and invited the community to enjoy a day on their sprawling 18-acres in Madison.
Three years ago Dorothy Phoenix purchased land on Joe Joyce Road, where she planted 900 lavender plants. In 2017, the family added a high tunnel greenhouse and expanded their production to include vegetable plants, herbs, flowers and blueberries.
“I propagate everything. I take cuttings and root them and when they’re mature enough, I plant them out in the field. I know each of my little plants out there,” Phoenix said with a smile.
She was introduced to the fragrant purple plant when a friend asked her to help harvest a field of lavender and in return was given cuttings.
“I went home and knew I wanted to start my own farm. I spent a lot of time getting to know the plant and the different varieties. I started on a small commercial lot in Salisbury, but I was limited there as far as expanding, so this has been a great place to be.”
Today, Frogholler offers nine varieties of lavender, which include Grosso, a hearty plant with a dark purple hue that provides the highest oil content. Each shrub produces 300 to 500 stems.
“People have the option to come to the farm and pick it themselves or we can do it. We sell it by the stem and of course, the more you buy, the less you pay. I also teach people what they can do with the plant so nothing goes to waste.”
On her farm, Phoenix provides demonstrations of how to take the buds off, rub them back and forth, to make fire starters which smell of lavender. She also shows customers how to make flower arrangements, popular lavender wands and handmade lavender products.
As the only lavender farm in Stokes County, Phoenix said she enjoys sharing what she’s learned through trial and error.
“It’s taken years to get this far and I’m still learning,” she said. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of people through our farm and I always encourage them to call or text me if they have questions about their plant. I’m very appreciative to farmers who share their knowledge of what they know. I believe it’s important that we work together to provide great quality products.”
While lavender farms in other counties lost a number of plants this winter, Phoenix said their crop fared well.
“We had such a harsh winter, but I had a little favor because we didn’t lose anything, but others were hit very hard. I’ve had other farms send me their customers.”
Phoenix said lavender is best grown in dry, arid climate and it can’t tolerate a lot of moisture in the air.
“You don’t have to irrigate, but you have to be careful because of our humidity. It’s a unique combination of a few things, but it’s definitely worth it once you figure it out.”
Phoenix and her family have chosen to live simply on their farm.
“Life is short and I think we’ve decided to do the things that we enjoy and give back in our own way. One day when I’m gone there’s going to be a plant somewhere blooming that I put in the ground. Maybe someone will smile and remember where it came from.”
Frogholler Lavender Farm is a vender at the King Farmer’s Market each Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and at Stokes Future Farmers held at Hanging Rock State Park each Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.