There’s a secluded parcel of serenity tucked away along route BB, just east of the river town of Rocheport. From the road, you’d never guess this was so – you have to drive down a private lane, then walk a little further before catching sight of an old white and red trimmed farmhouse before the trees clear to the east.
There, you’ll gaze upon a rolling field of purple, blooming lavender from the exact spot where Kimie Grimm and Kelly Wisch first envisioned The Lookout Farm growing just two years ago. Today, the sisters, along with the help of their husbands, grow nearly 2,000 lavender plants on their property, harvesting the blooms and oils to create a medley of handcrafted products and food items.
Grimm and Wisch didn't even know lavender could grow in Missouri until a walk on a warm summer day through downtown Columbia. Kelly’s daughter, Rosie, pointed to lavender growing in their neighbor’s yard, and it sparked a thought – can you farm lavender in Missouri? After a bit of research, her answer was yes. “I had always thought of France,” Kelly says. “And even in the United States, I had heard a little about the Northwest, but not the Midwest.” Months after this initially discovery, the Wisch family found themselves as the new owners of 22 acres in Rocheport, and by the next spring had planted over 1,000 bulbs of lavender. They jumped right into creating a product line and an online store, and now you can find the ladies of The Lookout Farm at the Columbia Farmers Market, where they sell these items on Saturdays.
It’s been a great educational experience for them, and for their new customers. It’s widely known that lavender is revered for its calming qualities, and is often used for holistic medicinal purposes to reduce stress, insomnia and other ailments. But not everyone knows about one of its best qualities – it tastes delicious. “People will come up to us at the market and say, ‘You can eat lavender? I had no idea!’” Kimie says.
You’ll find lavender brownie mix, lemon-lavender lollipops and white chocolate-lavender popcorn at their booth, and if you’re looking to bake or make your own treats, you can buy fresh or dried bundles of blooms. Lotions, lip balm, soaps, linen spray and candles make up the current personal care product line, which the sisters hope to expand in the future. “We would love to have a store on the property where we sell our own stuff but also welcome in other artisans,” Kelly says. “We have a lot of talented friends and family that we’d love to showcase.” As of now, the farm offers school tours set up in advance, but is not yet open to the general public.
Need some lavender in your life? Pick some up from The Lookout Farm online or at the Columbia Farmers Market, and test out this recipe for lavender lemonade at home.
The Lookout Farm, Rocheport, Missouri, lavenderlookout.com