WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) — Welcome to a world of purple, or shall we say lavender? Perfectly planted rows of the flowering plant fill the fields of Elam’s Lavender & Honey Bee Farm just west of Winfield, Kansas.
The farm is a family affair dating back five generations. However, the lavender didn’t start sprouting until 2020.
“My mom and my stepdad Jim Morford and Wanda Morford gifted me 280 plants as a retirement gift.
That took on a life of its own. We got those planted, and then shortly after that, they gave us another approximately 300 plants,” said Elam Lavender and Honey Bee Farm Owner Rick Elam.
The farm now boasts 28 varieties, which Elam never imagined just a few years ago.
“I was in sales for a medical supply company up until 2020 when COVID hit,” Elam explained. “I was out working the other day in the field cutting lavender and getting it ready for the drying racks we have inside, and it was about 60 degrees [Farehnheit] that morning, the wind was blowing, and the air was coming across the lavender plant, and I thought, ‘This isn’t too bad. I could do other things that could be a whole lot more work and a lot more stressful,'”
Elam has his stepdad and mom to thank for the new adventure. The Morfords are lavender experts, having worked their own lavender farm for about a decade in Ellsworth County before retiring to the Winfield area in 2021.
“It is a great, great herb that just has so many possibilities in terms of its medicinal uses, its aromatic uses,” said Jim Worford. “What we hope is that when people come out here. First, they are overwhelmed at the beauty, and second that they go back with an even deeper appreciation than they ever had from buying stuff in the store that is a lavender scent or whatever. This is the real deal.”
The real deal takes a lot of work and working hands to grow. Elam, his wife, their children, and their grandchildren all help with chores on the farm doing everything from planting, weeding, propagation, maintenance, and event sales.
“Definitely a family thing. We enjoy being together. We enjoy spending time together and doing new, fun things together,” said Elam’s daughter Amanda Murphy.
In the summer of 2022, the farm opened up its lavender fields to the public. It hosted several “you pick” days where people could cut and buy their own lavender.
“We just charged $5 a bundle. They went out with a pair of scissors and cut a bundle, and we wrapped it for them, and they went away with a bundle. It was pretty amazing,” Elam said.
“You pick” events are a small portion of the farm’s profits. Seventy-five percent of the business is wholesale to other new lavender growers around the United States, while the other 25% is retail.
Elam and his family hope they can share his retirement gift and a newfound love for lavender with the public for years to come.
“We want them to take a deep breath and relax and enjoy the smells and the beauty of the moment and just take a time out. It’s worth it,” Elam said.
The farm sells bundles of lavender, lavender-infused products, and more at farmer’s markets and other events. To find out where the crew will be selling next, visit their Facebook page: Elam Lavender & Honey Bee Farm | Facebook