Flowers and friendships bloom on Eagle Creek farm
Engagements, a 90th birthday party and a meeting of a secret dining society are just a few of the moments that an Eagle Creek family has shared with visitors to their lavender farm.
Nancy and Dave Lowe opened Hope Lavender in 2015, with the initial plan of utilizing the space to create a community and workshop for people with developmental disabilities. Their daughter Whitney Hope — who the farm was named after — has special needs.
However, shortly after developing this idea, the Lowes learned that the state was not continuing the program that supported these kinds of workshops.
In spite of this, Dave, Nancy and their four grown children moved forward with the idea of bringing a lavender farm to their property at 28333 S.E. One Oak Lane. They've enjoyed meeting the visitors who stop by to see the plants.
This year, Hope Lavender opens for u-pick on Saturday, June 11. The farm will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through July 3, along with Monday, July 4. Admission is free. Along with u-pick, lavender soap, essential oil and hydrosol spray are available for purchase.
The Lowe family is looking forward to meeting new people and seeing familiar faces.
"It's been neat. There are so many stories of people who come out here," Nancy said.
One person came on the last day of the season to take photos. On opening day the following year, the photographer brought them three framed photos that they'd taken at the farm.
Another time, someone was driving by the property and stopped when they saw the lavender. They explained that their friend's partner had recently died, and her favorite flower was lavender.
"And I said, 'Have a bunch,'" Nancy said, adding that the person who received the lavender is now a friend of theirs.
The Lowes received a more unusual request when a visitor asked to spread some of a loved one's ashes at the farm. They let them do so, in a section of the flowers away from where the crowds were gathered.
One evening, the Portland Secret Dining Society held a dinner at the farm.
"There's a six course meal, and the chefs utilize what's at the location," Dave explained, noting that they cooked with the lavender. "People don't know where it's going to be. They know it's going to be somewhere near Portland, and then a week before they say it's within five miles of this town. And then the day before they give this address."
When the Lowes first embarked on the journey of starting a lavender farm, they didn't know they would experience medical hardships. Nancy was diagnosed with cancer, and Whitney was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called PANDAS, or Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.
While going through these difficulties, they want to be able to bring positivity to the community.
"One of our goals is to be the name of the farm," Dave said. "We want to encourage people and make it a really positive experience for them. We try to give people a little bit of a lift, and a little hope."
For Dave and Nancy, the best part of running the farm has been meeting new people and spending time with their children.
"Even if we didn't make any money I would still want to do this. It's a blast hanging out with our kids. We love to be with them, and how they each bring their own unique things they bring to the table," Dave said.
If you go
What: Hope Lavender
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays June 11 through July 3, and Monday, July 4
Where: 28333 S.E. One Oak Lane, Eagle Creek
More information: www.hopelavender.com
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