It Started with Just a Quarter of an Acre

This is where I first started growing in 1988 on a little quarter acre plot in Spokane, Washington. Where did the seeds come from? I brought the first seeds back from France in 1985, and I planted in 1987, 1988, and 1989. I just kept planting a little bit more each year and experimenting and growing.

It all started here in Spokane, Washington, on a quarter-acre plot where I planted  lavender seeds I  brought from France.

It all started here in Spokane, Washington, on a this small plot where I planted the lavender seeds I brought from France.

This was my first test plot of lavender in 1988 that we distilled in 1989. I sent the oil to Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, who has a PhD in biochemistry. He analyzed it and sent it back to me with a note on the bottom that says, “Gary, where did you get this oil? It’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

I called him on the phone and said, “Kurt, I distilled it right here.” I was so excited I couldn’t sit still. Can you imagine me getting excited over producing 1½ milliliters of lavender oil? We produce thousands of gallons of it now, but I got excited over 1½ milliliters.

He said, “What do you mean here? Where are you?”

I said, “Here in Washington.”

He said, “No, no, Gary; where did you really get it?”

I said, “Kurt, I grew the plants here, and I distilled it here.”

He said, “Gary, no, there’s no lavender growing in Washington.”

I replied, “Well, as a matter of fact, there is.”

Well, finally he said, “Golly, I didn’t have any idea. Gary, for real, you did this?”

And I said, “Yes.”

He said, “This is the finest lavender oil I’ve seen, the finest lavender oil I’ve ever analyzed.”

Well, it’s Kurt Schnaubelt’s fault that we are where we are today. If he had come back and said that my lavender was the poorest stuff he’d ever seen, I would have hung it up right there.