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A blooming business

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Lavender farm is growing one small batch at a time

By Ashley Sutter

Tired of the same old drudgery of South Carolina cash-crop farming, Jason Walker-Woodlief, along with his husband Jason D. Woodlief, decided four years ago it was time for a change.

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They began researching alternative crops and one particular plant grasped their attention.

Now, at peak harvest time, vivid rows of lavender line the fields of a farm in Taylorsville and Shelby County is reaping the benefits of what is sewn.

Together the Woodlief’s own Little Mount Lavender Company, located in Sharecroppers Urban Co-op Market in the back of Bourbon Kitchen at 524 at 524 Main Street in Shelbyville.

From goats milk soaps to lavender honey to just a basic bundle of cut lavender, a multitude of products produced on the Woodlief’s farm can be purchased in the hidden gem of a store.

Though they just opened nine weeks ago, they have already built a regular customer base, with customers returning time and time again for their well-loved products.

The Woodlief’s passion for their products is evident.

Walker-Woodlief said they began researching lavender farming and the benefits of the crop four years ago. Because of its ideal soil, they came to Kentucky a year later in search of a farm and soon after purchased the farm on Little Mount Church Road

“We planted our first field, did our first harvest and then started producing and making all of our own lavender products,” Walker-Woodlief said, noting they were left with the decision of either selling their lavender to wholesalers or keeping it and producing a local product for their own customers.

“We decided we are going to keep it and produce local products here from our goats and our farm,” he said, noting for the first two years they spent time cultivating, producing and learning how to make their own products. They perfected recipes and styles, he said.

“Everything has been an arduous process to get to this store,” he said. “Everything is small batch.”

Walker-Woodlief said their products are unique because they contain no paraffins, perfumes, detergents or petroleum products.

“They are non-commercial,” he said, explaining many of the ingredients in mass-produced wholesale products can be unhealthy.

And that’s exactly why they want to feature their lavender – it’s a natural analgesic and antiseptic, it’s antibacterial, a calmer and helps with digestion.

And they continuously discover additional benefits, he said.

Hydrosol- what remains after the oil is distilled from the plant, for example, helps manage curly hair, keeping the curl tight while taking the frizz out, he said.

Inside the Little Mount Lavender Company customers can also find soy candles that are non-toxic and do not contain petroleum and have a cotton wick. Only essential oils and high-grade fragrance oils are used to scent them. In addition, there are no dyes and the soy wax is even produced locally by the Golden Wax Company in Louisville.

Their lavender honey is produced from beehives on their Little Mount farm, and the soaps and lotion are made from the milk of their own goats.

“Our soaps for our oil cold press soaps are all organic and vegan and can be kosher if I had the rabbi come and bless the oils and the kitchen they are being made in,” Walker-Woodlief said. “It’s that pure.”

They also produce their own bath bombs and the essential oils used to scent them are their own recipes.

“All of our essential oils are ours,” he said. “Our specialty mixes are mixed and scented on property. We don’t buy outside pre-mixed, pre-bottled, pre-labeled products at all.”

And they even do their own product labeling in-house, as well.

“We don’t have anything manufactured by any other company,” he said. “We are our own manufacturing. That’s why everything is in small batch, so we can handle the continuity 100 percent.”

Everything they offer is custom, right down to the lavender chi tea.

The store is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 until 3 p.m.

“We stay extremely busy,” Walker-Woodlief said, noting the customers enjoy coming back for their beloved products and sometimes just to talk with the owners.

“We are very friendly, we’ll give you any information you want about our products,” Walker-Woodlief said.

“We are very proud of our store so our customers are very excited about it.”