Fans of Lavender Wind Farm just off West Beach Road will soon have a new place to shop for the farm’s selection of lavender-infused goods.
Sarah Richards, owner and founder of Lavender Wind Farm, is expanding her operation to include a manufacturing plant and commercial kitchen in downtown Coupeville, at the corner of N.W. Coveland and N.W. Alexander streets. But this will be a manufacturing plant unlike what most people would picture.
Richards purchased the Cushman family home, a Craftsman-style wood-frame house built in 1916, to house her commercial kitchen, manufacturing operation and retail shop. The house has been used for various purposes over the years, including housing a gift shop.
“It’s never been a full commercial-use property until now,” said Richards, who is pleased her contractors have been able to keep the historic footprint while upgrading the property to meet her needs.
Among the first things to go was the dense thicket of juniper that had overgrown the retaining walls above the sidewalk, soon to be replaced by a showpiece garden.
Richards is hoping that local farmers will rent her kitchen to make value-added items they can sell for a good return.
“It will be unusual in that we’ll have dry food-packaging equipment along with the commercial kitchen,” she said.
Equipment for making preserves, jams and jellies will be added in the near future and Richards is hiring a baker to create fresh-baked lavender goodies to sell along with her food items, soaps, lotions and other personal-care items as well as other lavender products. Although the shop and kitchen – along with a demonstration garden planned for the yard – are still a work in progress, it’s easy to picture how the inside of the business will look.
The walls of the retail area are painted a warm, inviting yellow that compliments the building’s natural wood floors.
The kitchen area is a bright, clean white with stainless-steel appliances. The big open space will soon be filled with cabinets, work surfaces and the remaining appliances. A window imported from New Zealand opens up the space between the retail shop and the kitchen, which Richards hopes will also be filled with students in the future.
“We’re really ramping up our classes,” she said. “We will be offering lots of cooking classes, but we’ll keep offering the soap- and candle-making classes. I hope eventually to have some sort of class every weekend.”
The giant piles of rock and gravel in front of the house along Coveland Street are being transformed into terraced rock walls, housing gardens that will be a perfect to stroll and relax.
“There will be walkways all through the garden, so people will be able to see lavender and herbs in action,” Richards said. “There will also be a rain garden to look at.”
Although construction has taken about three months longer than Richards anticipated, she said she’s very happy with the quality of the work. When completed, there will be two patio areas where people can relax. One, on the front side of the house, will have a view of downtown Coupeville with Penn Cove and Mount Baker in the distance, while the other will be an enclosed garden patio area in the back.
“People will have their choice of a charming sitting area with a nice view or a spot that’s more secluded,” Richards said.
The expansion of her business is necessary because manufacturing at her farm just can’t keep up with the demand for her products any longer, Richards said – a nice problem for a business to have. She said she thinks her success has come because people enjoy little, simple things.
She said she’s enjoyed a growing business ever since she put her first lavender plants in the ground 12 years ago. The good reception continues today.
“The community’s reaction has been unfailingly positive,” she said. “Everybody’s excited about it.”