Thursday, September 29, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 31
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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on August 10th, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 23, Issue 24

Santa Rita Hills Lavender Farm in Lompoc is about family and sustainability

By TAYLOR O'CONNOR

Mother-and-son duo Denise and Lucas Neumann traded Los Angeles city living for more open spaces to pursue Denise’s dreams of running a farm. During her time in the city, she became a master gardener and taught people how to make edible gardens in their backyards, but she wanted something more, Lucas said. 

“We were always coming up to the Santa Rita Hills area because [my mom] loved the wine country and agricultural places,” he said. “We came up here and found a beautiful 8.5 acre piece of property with no drip line, basically just weeds. [But] we thought it had good bones and tried to do something here.” 


SEA OF PURPLE
At the Santa Rita Hills Lavender Farm, guests can take classes in wreath-making, essential oil distillation, and painting while visiting the site. The farm also offers tours of its grounds.
PHOTO COURTESY OF EXPLORE LOMPOC

The two started planting lavender for essential oils, and now have more than 3,000 plants.

“We have an acre of lavender for essential oil and then another acre for culinary lavender. We decided on that because my mom loves lavender and it’s great for the Mediterranean climate,” he said. 

After creating a stronger infrastructure and better harvesting system, the family began a soft launch of the Santa Rita Hills Lavender Farm where people can take tours of the property and buy essential oils and lavender bundles to take home. The grand opening is scheduled for July 2023, but because of the plants’ rapid growth, they decided to open early, Lucas explained. 

“It’s pretty amazing, and we couldn’t not let people come out and see the lavender,” he said. “We had such a great full bloom, so we upped our schedule but we still felt it was appropriate to say our grand opening will still be July 2023. So far, people have enjoyed it immensely.” 

The tour starts in the front of the farm with the field meant for essential oils, then loops through the pomegranate hedge where there are 50 pomegranate trees with five varieties—which will eventually be used for pomegranate juice and kombucha. A hedge line of rosemary is for essential oil and herb bundles, and there are also crab apple trees for jams, vinegars, and kombuchas, he explained. 

“I then take people through a more in-depth tour of the upper field because of the 65 different varieties of dahlias, three different varieties of culinary lavender, and then the last one is three different types of sunflowers,” Neumann said. 

At the end, people can visit the animal pen where they can feed the goats and sheep—which also play a role in weeding the property and creating natural fertilizers for the plants. He tells groups that the farm is completely sustainable and regenerative through all its methods with every plant or animal having a purpose. 

“For my mom, it’s always been a part of how she’s been a gardener or farmer. She’s always been interested in using the minimum of resources. When she did edible gardens, she learned about waste beds, and recycling water, harvesting water in the easiest, and the most effective ways of growing. ... She doesn’t know how to do it another way,” he added. 

Eventually, the farm will include beehives to harvest lavender honey and sell more products on-site, but for now Lucas said he hopes people come visit the farm and explore its website to find class opportunities and other on-site events. 

“I think our farm in and of itself is a very relaxing place. It’s secluded off the freeway, outside the hustle and bustle of cars driving by. Lavender adds a calming, soothing aroma to the property as a whole,” he said. “As we are here longer and trees get more established and plants get more acclimated, we hope to have the entire field covered in flowers, almost to the point where there isn’t a place you can walk without something beautiful just blooming.” 

The farm is located at 1900 Tularosa Road. Tours cost $10, and people can visit the front area of the farm for free. Visit goldenstateapothecary.com, or explorelompoc.com for more information. 

Highlight 

• Tri-County Regional Energy Network (3C-REN)—a partnership between Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties that delivers energy-saving programs—is partnering with participating Santa Barbara and Ventura county libraries to provide electric-powered magnetic induction cooktops that local residents can check out and use at home. Included with the portable cooktop is an induction-compatible cooking pan and information in both English and Spanish about cooking with induction. Induction cooking benefits include faster, more precise heating and easier to control temperature, and it eliminates indoor air pollution from gas appliances. Residents can use the cooktop to test a variety of recipes and return it to the library when finished. To learn more about the cooktops, other energy-saving tools, and find a participating library, visit 3C-REN’s Home Energy Savings online at 3c-ren.org/diy-toolkit.

Reach Staff Writer Taylor O’Connor at toconnor@santamariasun.com.










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