While our lavender plants have been fast asleep in the fields, we’ve been hard at work getting ready for the new season.
Thousands of new lavender plants that started out this winter as tiny cuttings in our greenhouse and high tunnel will be ready for planting next month. Propagation is going well and this initiative should help us meet our goal of planting 80,000 new plants this year.
Through the winter and early spring, our crews have weeded, built rock walls, and improved drainage. We’ve cleared additional acres and used a bulldozer to build the windrows (mounds) where we’ll starting planting the lavender in mid-May. Under the guidance of beekeeper extraordinaire Eric Grandon, we’re installing 10 beehives, which will be great for the bees and for our lavender.
Meanwhile, the plants that we planted last year are starting to wake up and they are looking good – even the plants that the deer nibbled when they got really hungry this winter (normally deer don’t like to eat lavender).
We are grateful for our workers who have been able to keep working this spring, and we are employing good social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting practices.
And while we are unsure of COVID-19’s impact on where we will be selling our essential oils and hydrosols this year, we do know that we will have products for sale—so stay tuned for more information on where and how you can buy them!
The R2WIB and ABCo each focus on to reducing or eliminating the barriers to economic development and barriers that separate skilled and unskilled workers.
The partnership began last summer when the R2WIB hosted job fairs in Logan and Nellis. ABCo staff interviewed people and soon hired them to work at its Ashford lavender operation. Several ABCo employees are now enrolled in the R2WIB’s Youth On-the-Job Training Program, which offers important job skills and life skills training (along with financial incentives to participate).
Being able to keep a job is just as important as getting one in the first place. Through the R2WIB, ABCo has leveraged additional resources to support employees who are facing financial and other challenges that can sometimes make it hard to keep and succeed in a job.
Financial support from the R2WIB enabled ABCo to keep employees on the payroll beyond the end of the growing season, which will help us get a bigger jump on the 2020 season.
According to ABCo President Jocelyn Sheppard, the engraved mantel clock will serve as a reminder of what the company accomplished in 2019—and an inspiration for hiring more Southern West Virginia workers in 2020.