In the small rural Hill Country town of Blanco, Texas (population: 1,505), Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market was discovered by Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Almost two years ago, Jill Hunter, a co-owner of Texas Lavender Hills, received an email from an out-of-state freelance writer, upon admiring their website, wanting to know about their lavender farm and home. After a year of correspondence and a visit from one of the Martha Stewart assistant editors, a photo shoot was scheduled to appear in the Thanksgiving 2007 issue.
“We never dreamed our lavender farm would be picked up for a story in Martha Stewart Living. After two years in the planning, you begin to think it won’t really ever happen, but it did,” says Jill Hunter, co-owner of Texas Lavender Hills.
Jill and Doak Hunter, owners of Texas Lavender Hills Farm & Market, started their lavender farm three years ago, after learning more about growing lavender from one of the other local lavender growers.
After discovering that lavender needs great drainage and full sun, they knew that they had the perfect place to plant it -- a gently sloped, limestone-derived hillside nestled among their 26 acres.
Over 1,000 Provence lavender plants were put in concentric circles around the hillside the first year. “We now have over 4,500 lavender plants of various varieties around the hill.” says Jill.
Texas Lavender Hills uses their lavender oil and water to create their own locally-made lavender bath and body products. All of the products are available on their website, www.texaslavenderhills.com and in downtown Blanco at their store, The Vintage Cottage.
The farm is open for visitors to come out and cut their own lavender throughout the bloom season in the summer (check website or call for times open) and sometimes again in the fall (depending on the timing of the blooms). Their beautiful hillside offers distant 360-degree views of the Hill Country area filled with the fragrance of lavender.
With the right growing conditions and other local people interested in starting their own lavender farms, it brought a new regional crop to the Blanco area, as well as a festival.
Blanco, named the “Lavender Capital of Texas” and “Lavender Festival of Texas,” hosts an annual lavender festival each year the second weekend of June. During the festival, all of the farms are open for touring and downtown Blanco features lavender events and a host of vendors on their square.
“We hope that the national exposure in the Martha Stewart article will create awareness that lavender is now growing here in the Texas Hill Country.” says Jill.