Lavender production growing across Ontario

Cathy Kirk presides over her beautiful purple fields near Teeswater, Ont.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous, and if I had to compare raising pigs to growing lavender, I’m going to pick lavender every time,” said Kirk.

Kirk and her husband moved to this rolling property from Cambridge in 2012. They knew they wanted to grow something and decided their sandy soil best suited lavender.

“It’s deer and rabbit resistant, which we have a lot of out here, it’s a perennial so we don’t have to plant it every year, and it’s a super versatile plant. It can be used for so many different things,” she said.

Along with tours of her purple fields, Kirk uses the lavender’s natural essential oils to make soaps, lotions, balms, bug spray and even deodorant, which she sells from her on-farm gift shop.

“Lavender farms in Ontario range in size from people with 100 plants to the largest, which I think is pushing 50,000. Huge difference. Everyone has a different emphasis on what they want to use it for and why they do it,” said Kirk.

‘Essentially Lavender’ has 7,000 lavender plants, making them a small to medium-sized operation in the quickly growing industry.

“When we first joined the Ontario Lavender Association, I think there were 33 members. Now, we’re between 80 and 90 members. It is definitely a growing industry in Ontario,” Kirk added.