From Coffee Beans to Lavender Dreams

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By Catherine Royka

When Charlotte Crawford and her family moved from out west to their twenty-acre property in Nolensville, they knew they needed to make use of their abundance of land. Although originally from south Alabama, Charlotte and her family spent a number of years in Washington and Oregon in the espresso business, forming an espresso catering business and working as espresso machine distributors. Ten years ago, they moved back to the south to be closer to family and for her husband Mark’s job, who at the time was handling national sales for an espresso machine company. Moving here, they brought their mobile coffee shop, The Proverbial Cup, and dreams to expand on other ventures.

The Proverbial Cup was born because many of the goals and guidelines for the company comes from the Book of Proverbs. “One of the main ones is ‘For the happy heart, life is a continual feast.’ We can serve great coffee, but it’s so much better when it’s served with a genuine smile! And if my heart’s NOT in the right place, or stressed, that verse reminds me to assess and figure out what is the problem, deal with it, and get back to enjoying life. Life’s too short to spend it with a bad attitude,” exclaims Charlotte.

With their coffee business in full-swing, and knowing their twenty-acre property still had ample space left for use (they also roast their coffee beans there too), Charlotte looked for the next adventure. She has always been a fan of gardening and experimenting with growing different plants and herbs.

“It seemed like we should do something with the property other than mowing, so I looked into growing blueberries,” says Charlotte. Unfortunately, situated out in a wooded area, they are surrounded by deer, which prove to be quite the garden destructors. After an extensive search on determining what plants or herbs would grow in Tennessee and wouldn’t be dinner for deer, she decided on lavender. It thrived out west with the cooler climate, and she decided to see if the south could sustain the purple plant. Charlotte began with thirty plants just four years ago and has expanded to 600 plants today.

Although the lavender farm is on private property, you can still enjoy the lavender and additional products at some of the local farmer’s markets next year like the Nolensville Farmer’s Market, Nashville Farmer’s Market and Crieve Hall.

Charlotte would love to make her lavender farm public one day for all to enjoy. “My dream is that we could have a few weekends in June when people could come out to see it – to me it is magical,” says Charlotte. “I am stunned at how beautiful it is, and it is so fun to stand in the midst of it, breathing in the incredible scent, watching the sunset. It’s like a childhood carefree moment – who wouldn’t want to share that?” she says.


Benefits & Uses

Lavender has been attributed as having multiple benefits – aside from the beauty of this purple plant, it has calming factors that can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, assist in alleviating headaches, stomachaches and other ailments.

It doesn’t stop there with this powerful plant! You can even use lavender for culinary purposes too. Flowers and leaves can be used fresh and both buds and stems can be used dried. Charlotte is working on some lavender infused recipes. Currently, she is making (and consuming) lavender jelly, experimenting with lavender scones, various cobblers, as cobbler pairs well with certain fruits like peaches, blackberries, orange and lemon.

Growing

Want to try growing lavender yourself? The southern climate requires a bit of work when the lavender is initially planted. Here are some tips Charlotte wants to share to those looking to plant lavender in the south!

Lavender do not like “wet feet” so make sure they are in well-drained soil. At Nolensville Lavender Farm, they make one-foot high mounds and then mix in pea gravel.

• The soil pH needs to be between 7-7.5. If you don’t have that naturally, increase the pH by adding lime to the soil.

• Once the lavender is established, it will not need a lot of water. Once a week deep watering is best.

To learn more about Nolensville Lavender Farm and the Nolensville Farm to Table Dinner they will be hosting on September 22nd, follow them on Instagram at
@tnlavender.

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