It’s a quiet morning in Hawesville, Kentucky. So quiet that I can only hear the chirp of spring’s newest batch of robins and the faint buzz of honey bees at Big Roots Lavender Farm. There is no breeze, just the stagnant Kentucky summer air that forms beads of sweat on my face and arms.
If you get the idea that I am an avid outdoor gal, you would be wrong. I am anything but. But on this particular day, I’m hoping to change that.
In the distance, I see a tall figure coming down the hillside towards the farm. Flanking both sides of it, the shadow of two large dogs. They spot me and run excitedly to scope me out, as if I am there to see them and only them.
The figure in the distance is Erin Ramsey, a sought after inspirational speaker and owner of Big Roots. Today, I am here to pick lavender for the first time, but also to hear about Erin’s journey in combining her life as a loving wife and mother with that of a “grower of peace.”
The “Big” Journey to Big Roots Lavender Farm
The story of Big Roots Lavender Farm began on September 10, 2016. Erin and her husband were living in Evansville, Indiana in a gorgeous, newly renovated historical home. Life was good, and Erin was happy. But she had dreams of something even bigger…literally.
After a family meeting with her four children, daughter in law, and grandchildren (and numerous dreams where she watched the name “Big Roots” flash across a computer screen), they collectively agreed to dive into lavender farming.
After three-and-a-half months of farm and house hunting, the family settled on Hawesville. They quickly packed up their belongings in Evansville, sold their historical home, and took what Erin refers to as “inspired action”. Here, they would all live under the same roof in a comfortably-sized house right next to the farm’s property.
Nearly four years after the initial brainstorm, Big Roots Lavender Farm still serves as a popular gathering for locals and visitors from states across the U.S. And it’s not just because of the lavender.
Picking the Lavender
Nearest to the main building, sits Erin’s prized French Grosso lavender. This hybrid is large, scentful, and blooms in a deep blueish purple hue. In the back, nearest the barn, lies the English Folgate blooms. Though smaller than its French counterparts, they bloom in neat, erect bushes omitting a beautiful bright violet hue.
I grab a pair of scissors from a tin bucket and throw them in a wicker basket a bought at a flee market. Erin explains that it’s best to cut each strand of lavender an inch or two above the bottom stem or “the brown part”. Flowers are a lot like people — they need to be shown love and affection, too, in order to grow.
The act of picking lavender is not as easy as it looks. I get tired after bending over to pick strand after strand, and decide to sit down in the grass to finish filling my basket. Soon after, a lady bug finds a perch on the end of a blade of grass to join me.
At least seven different varieties of butterflies (I counted), flutter past, quickly hopping from flower to flower. I try to capture the moment, but they are camera shy.
Attractions at Big Roots
Aside from its two types of lavender, the farm has other noteworthy attractions. A bright purple poe barn lies parallel to the farm’s main building across the lavender fields. On the front, a logo with three flower buds represents the family’s three generations of farmers.
At the heart of the farm, lies one of Erin’s most prized creations: the labyrinth. Here, visitors can create their own memorable spiritual experience. Surrounded by bushes of Folgate lavender, participants partake in walking meditation.
How it works: Entering the labyrinth, the mind is cleared to only focus on thoughts, emotions, and material items that need to be left behind. Once reaching the center, many leave small tokens to symbolise the thing or things that no longer serve their lives. After a short prayer or meditation, they walk back out the way they entered.
Erin allows visitors to leave any item they wish. However, she also provides small stones for those who want to participate yet have nothing on hand. These items are respected and never touched or removed.
I myself take a deep a breath and step into the labyrinth. I hold a heart-shaped stone that I picked out of Erin’s flower pot. Making my way to the center, I focus on the one thing that no longer serves me in my life: doubt. I carefully set the stone down amidst the pile of other belongings people before me left. These items include wedding rings, makeup, keys, and stones. I say a short prayer, and slowly walk back out the way I came. I instantly feel weight melt away and a sense of renewed peace.
Inside the farm’s main building, Erin offers yoga and meditation sessions, lavender wreath building classes, full moon ceremonies, women’s retreats, professional facilitation classes, and butterfly classes. She also sells handmade lavender bath and beauty products made offsite. These items include lavender scented body mist, body butter, essential oil, goat milk’s soap, and linen spray, among other items.
Offerings and Hours During COVID
Though times have certainly changed in recent months, the spirit of Big Roots Lavender Farm remains as steady as the hands that built it.
While Big Root’s yoga and meditation classes are on hold due to social distancing guidelines, the “U pick” option is still available through June and July. Interested guests can reserve a time slot online to visit the farm and pick a bundle during a private session. The cost is $25 per session.
Handmade beauty products are also still available for sale on Erin’s online shop for those who can’t visit in person. Full pricing and details of gift packages and individual items can be found here.
A place nothing short of magical, Big Roots Lavender Farm is an experience not to be missed if you find yourself traveling through the Bluegrass State.
Have you visited a lavender farm yet? If so, tell me about your experience in the comments below!
To learn more about Erin’s work or to place an order for one of her inspirational books, visit her website here.
Don’t forget to join my Pinterest Group Boards here.