In 1924, the first Palser settled on a plot of land in Big Springs, Nebraska, laying the foundation for a successful four-generation farming operation. Grandfather Palser had a dream that, one day, the farm would become a place where people from all over the country could come for rest and relaxation. Decades later, his granddaughter Stephanie Anderson made that dream come to life when she stumbled upon lavender cultivation. Today, Our Lavender Co., founded by a mother-daughter trio, thrives as an agritourism destination with a popular product-line.
Getting Back to Her Roots
Stephanie, a self-described typical western Nebraska farmer's daughter, initially sought to escape the farm life. However, after starting a family and returning home, she faced the heavy weight of postpartum depression. Stephanie’s family rallied around her and supported her in rediscovering a passion for agriculture. They even built her a beautiful garden and converted a camper into a makeshift greenhouse.
“It was the dead of winter and I escaped to this little camper every day to tend to baby tomatoes. Through the process of growing these little tomato plants, God brought me back to life. This agriculture that I wanted so desperately to escape is what healed me,” Stephanie said.
As Stephanie’s passion for agriculture continued to grow, she began experimenting with all different kinds of plants. Her interest in lavender was eventually sparked by an article in The Reader’s Digest about a Lavender Farm in Sequim, Washington owned by a man named Victor.
“The article talked about seven acres, and I thought seven acres cannot raise a family and hire employees, that just doesn’t happen,” Stephanie said. “I thought, ‘if lavender has the potential to do what this article says it can do, I need to figure out how to grow it.’”
The first three criteria for growing lavender that popped up on Stephanie’s initial google search were: high PH, sandy soil and drought-like conditions. Stephanie may not have considered herself an expert farmer, but she knew that those three conditions were what her father had complained about her entire life while managing the corn farm.
When Stephanie approached her family with the idea, she could not have envisioned Our Lavender Co. would become all that it is today, but once again, her family supported her endeavors, joining in on the research.
“Mom started googling right alongside me, and with a lot more gumption than me, called Victor from the article and just asked him how to grow lavender,” Stephanie said.
The mother-daughter trio ended up on a flight to Sequim, Washington to learn first-hand from Victor about what it takes to start a lavender farm. Armed with knowledge and an acre of lavender plugs, Our Lavender Co. was born in 2019.
A Generational Dream Comes to Life
Stephanie's grandfather’s dream of a "vacation on the farm" found realization thanks to Our Lavender Co. Through an RV membership program that offers unique overnight locations called Harvest Hosts, Our Lavender Co. has attracted hundreds of visitors from all over the country who are looking for a relaxing and beautiful location to stay.
Moreover, their handcrafted product line, including bath bombs, skincare, essential oils, and more, garnered immense popularity and is shipped to all 50 states. Their online shop witnessed a surge in demand during the pandemic, thanks to recommendations by popular YouTubers.
On top of drawing visitors, photographers and videographers from all of over the country, Our Lavender Co. was voted Best Passport Stop of 2022 by Nebraska Tourism, will be featured in the next issue of Nebraska Life and will be part of a widely distributed subscription box.
Looking ahead, Our Lavender Co. aims to contribute to the U.S. lavender industry by helping to create a cooperative platform connecting growers with businesses. Stephanie envisions a future where lavender farming becomes more accessible in the U.S., bridging the gap between growers and end-users.
“One of our large-scale dreams is not to just have the product line, these fields and the agri-tourism, but to have that cooperative style of opportunity that helps connect growers in the U.S. with other U.S. businesses using lavender. There are many businesses that use lavender that have to buy internationally.”
The mission of Our Lavender Co. is that “the beauty of God would be seen in everything we grow, say and produce.” Their story showcases the power of perseverance, passion and innovation in creating a thriving agritourism destination and a lavender-based product line. 21st Century Equipment is proud to be a long-time partner with the Palser family!