“Before I knew it, the lavender was flourishing!”
Marie Voorhees smiles as she relates the success of the fledgling lavender plants she put into the ground four years ago on her family farm.
Located at 890 County Road 601 in Skilllman (down the road past the Montgomery High School), Hidden Spring Lavender Farm & Shoppe has become a popular destination for scores of customers who have discovered the many uses of lavender.
“Lavender goes back to Roman times,” says Ms. Voorhees. “It not only has a lovely fragrance but has soothing and relaxing properties that people enjoy, and they also appreciate the homemade aspect of everything we have. I make everything myself. These are not products made across the ocean.”
It all began when Ms. Voorhees left her corporate job, and decided to go in a very different direction. She and her husband had purchased her parents’ farm, and it was the perfect spot for a new career.
“I had always loved gardening,” she explains, “but I had no experience with lavender. I thought I’d like to try it — it’s such a lovely scent. I started with 1000 plants, and I really did it to have something nice for myself.”
Once the lavender began to bloom, people started stopping at the farm, asking to purchase it, says Ms. Voorhees.
“Strangers came by in the driveway, and wanted the lavender. They said the farm was a hidden treasure, and we decided to call it Hidden Spring Lavender Farm & Shoppe.”
The 1000 plants soon became 2000, and now she has 4000 (with 2000 more coming next spring) as well as 12 different kinds of lavender.
“I was particular about including different species and fragrances, and all have an individual character. We combine several different varieties to get our own distinctive lavender scent.”
With the lavender flourishing, Ms. Voorhees next step was to open a shop, offering a variety of products, which she would make herself. “My plan was to have sachets, neck rolls, dream pillows, and eye pillows. The shop building was the original cow barn and chicken coop. My husband built cabinets, and we put in new windows and new Dutch doors.”
The result is a charming showcase for the 200 products Ms. Voorhees provides, among them soaps, lotions, bath products, shampoo, dusting powder, heat wraps, even deodorants and pet products. The fact that everything is natural is very important, she adds. With many people concerned about the numerous chemicals in so many products today, the availability of all-natural lavender choices is a definite plus.
“Everything is completely natural, made from essential oils, and lavender has anti-bacterial qualities,” explains Ms. Voorhees. “Our deodorants are all natural and include only lavender and baking soda. They are very popular and very effective. The foaming hand soap, lotions, and our lavender tea are all especially popular.
“I started with aromatherapy, including soaps and lotions, and people started coming in for gifts. Now, we have a steady group of customers who really know what they want. They are from all over, and people find us online too. We once had a rock star come in from New York, and also people from the South, even from Canada. And lots of regulars from the area, including Princeton.
The customers seem to like everything in the shop, including the wide price range, which extends from $3 to $70. And they are often amazed by the variety of products.
Dried lavender branches and wreaths are favorite decorative gifts. Lavender “linen water” sprays for sheets and pillows are wonderful air fresheners, and also have a soothing, calming effect that may help people sleep. The lavender bath tea bag is filled with lavender and herbs, and when put in the bath tub, it can induce relaxation.
The “Pampering Hand Set” includes massage oil, cuticle cream, lavender exfoliant scrub, and nail brush. The “Gentleman’s Gift Set” with shaving soap, shaving brush, after-shave, and “mechanic’s” soap comes in a treasure chest-style box and will be sure to please a special guy in your life.
A wonderfully soft plush teddy bear is filled with lavender, offering a very long-lasting scent, and is irresistible to all ages. It is available at $33.
Wedding and baby shower favors include little boxes of lavender soap, and at various holiday times, Ms. Voorhees offers a number of seasonal gift items. Gift baskets are another highlight, and these are available ready-made or customized.
Your four-legged friends will also appreciate the range of lavender pet products. “These can help pets relax, and help them feel and smell good,” reports Ms. Voorhees. “We also have shampoo that can help repel fleas.”
Culinary lavender for cooking is another popular product, and is available for fish, poultry, and baked goods. Sipping lavender tea is a favorite with many customers, adds Ms. Voorhees. She notes that she has a specific recipe for every item, and also offers a recipe book.
The response to all her lavender products has been beyond her expectations and the growing demand keeps her very busy, says Ms. Voorhees. “I love what I make, and I take pride in what I’ve done. I never envisioned this happening. I thought it would be nice to have my own business, but the success is more than I ever imagined. It’s wonderful! I think the most enjoyment I have is being creative and seeing people love the products. I am also so pleased that many people who have received our products as gifts have now become our customers.”
An added attraction of shopping at Hidden Spring Lavender Farm is its lovely rural setting. The farm’s location invites customers to another world, filled with natural beauty and a relaxed atmosphere.
Hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop will be open on Saturday only in January through March, so that Ms. Voorhees has time to add to the supply of products to keep up with the increasing demand, and also to get ready for the June harvest.
For more information, call (609) 558-7034 or visit the website at www.hiddenspringlavender.com.