By Amy M. Pine
The marriage of lavender and cherries is truly a beautiful thing. On a swooping curve nestled near Lover’s Lane, Aron and Laura McReynolds and their children Gabriel, Micah and Gracia believe in new beginnings.
New Life Lavender & Cherry Farm, E10766 Cty Rd. W, was “born out of a place of brokenness for our family,” Laura told me over a coffee. After selling their business of 12 years in Kansas, they relocated back to Laura’s roots in Wisconsin near family. A photo of a brilliant lavender field was their inspiration. They fell in love with the idea of growing this beautiful flower as a family project and a point of healing for their marriage.
Both Aron and Laura grew up on farms and wanted their children to have a family farm upbringing. Aron shared, “Even on a bad day, you are still outside, working with beautiful creation all around you, this plant that smells heavenly, and your family by your side.” They followed this thread of hope-filled inspiration, visiting Midwestern lavender farms as part of the research process.
Laura was so grateful for support and mentorship found among these other farmers and local businesses, even finding inspiration as far as the Door County cherry farms.
“The cool thing about this process has been seeing the developing journey from lavender to cherries and so on,” Laura smiled, mulling over the two-year process. Even their original, homemade lavender cherry pie was a process born out of growth and newness. As I listened to their story, gazing on the simple beauty all around me, I relaxed into the space. “We are finding that everyone has a story to tell, we want everyone to feel a sense of peace when they come through.”
As we walked through the calming lavender Knot Garden, I gazed at the Baraboo Bluffs all around me, soaking in the quietness. We talked about how they wanted to start small, beginning with the journey of reconnecting and restoring their own family and faith.
“We want to create a space for people to reconnect with each other,” said Laura, who along with Aron will be 40 this year. When they purchased the Cummings farm in 2014, they felt a kinship with the land, old buildings and property, building something new out of the old. The foundation of the old barn serves as their Secret Garden, supplying the farm-to-table kitchen with herbs for their treats, cold-brew coffees and specialty drinks. I stepped into it, a breeze teasing my face, and learned about the observation bee hive that Gabriel cares for, the bees floating lazily through the lavender behind me.
The old silo foundation is the fire pit for future sunset bonfires and relaxing with a lavender hot chocolate. They have incorporated old pieces found in the original abandoned farm house, which was torn down to birth their farm store, Laura restoring an old table that is in use. Aron is working on a thresher for wheat, seeing how he could repurpose it for cleaning the lavender. The children are involved with every aspect as well, caring for the bees, sheep and the land. Aron and Gabriel talked to me about how many of the areas attractions are “high-energy, and it’s nice to be at a place of peace.” Although Gabriel, laughing, shared that, “Weeds and tarps aren’t my favorite.”
They dream of lavender ice cream, high teas, private events, sunset rides through the property, u-pick cherry groups, all hopefully bringing a lovely resting spot near Devil’s Lake, Pewit’s Nest and downtown Baraboo living.
“I think ultimately we want people to walk away with hope. Peace without hope doesn’t last,” Aron said, his apron flapping in the wind. As Laura and I sat on their deck overlooking the lavender, the sun sinking behind us, reflecting on the afternoon shared together, I felt just that. Hope for tomorrow. And that is a beautiful thing.
Amy M. Pine lives in Wonewoc and enjoys exploring the connections between faith, relationships and nature, and reading and writing while sipping dark coffee. She is grateful for each day, and for flashes of beauty that spur her on her way. Join her at ampine-hearthridgereflections.com.