Katie and Jason Lockwood discovered the joys of farming lavender in 1999. They began harvesting lavender to sell as a new business, Battlefield Lavender, in 2019. The business has now become a family affair.
“Our three children, plus our parents, all help with some facet of the business,” Katie said. “Whether in the field or finishing products, everyone is a part of it. On occasion, we employ local high school students to help as well.”
Since 2019, their dried lavender bundles have been a hit at the market. The bundles can be used in home decor as well as sachets, eye masks, and some finished lavender food products.
“We also grow the blackberries and elderberries we use in our lavender jellies,” Katie said. “We also keep beehives, and the honeybees feed on the lavender, creating an amazing, light, flavorful honey. We also grow luffa.”
Katie and Jason grow lavender, a perennial, in raised beds, water with drip irrigation, and hand-weed the plants as needed. Luckily, lavender doesn't attract pests, so their plants are always herbicide and pesticide free. The stems are harvested by hand and dried in a barn.
“I love working in our field, being around the plants, giving them TLC, and sharing my love of growing and gardening with others,” Katie said. “I also love turning our lavender into something even more beautiful and amazing. It brings me joy and contentment.
“If I don’t have dirt on my fingers (or smudged on my face at the end of the day), then I didn’t do my day right,” Katie shared. She is content to “sit in the rows, smell the smells, feel the sun and wind, and watch the butterflies and honeybees. It doesn’t get much better.”
The Lockwoods enjoy the energy, community, and experience of the outdoor farmers market.
“It’s fun to see familiar faces, and meet people visiting our town or those who have recently moved here,” Katie said. “We are excited about the growth of the market, new facilities, and the upcoming expansions are a wonderful benefit.”
Katie and Jason both work at the University of Missouri full-time. Therefore, all of their farm time is spent after work and on the weekends. “During the summer, the family each probably spends 25 to 35 hours a week on something related to the farm, and our kids help 10 to 20 hours a week or more if we are planting or harvesting. If it’s raining, there’s always things to do in the greenhouse or barn,” Katie said.
After moving to Centralia in 2010, the family familiarized themselves with the history of the city, including Civil War times. Down the road from their farm, the Centralia Battlefield memorial honors those who died in a battle between the Union army and Confederate guerrillas on Sept. 27, 1864.
“Jason is a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, and our fathers and grandfathers all served in wartime (Air Force, Marines, Army, and Navy),” Katie said. “We have a deep respect for those who serve in our military. We thought planting a beautiful field of lavender could be a means of bringing healing and tranquility to the land. That’s why we decided on the name of Battlefield Lavender for our farm.”