An unlikely crop
The sweet smell of success drifts through the
air northwest of Apache as blooming season
begins at Lavender Valley. In shades of pink
purple ranging from light to dark, the lavender
blossoms are thriving—a feat some said could not be
accomplished in Oklahoma’s climate and soil. Jag
and Lynda Sodhi, members of Caddo Electric Cooperative,
decided they were up to the challenge.
While traveling in Washington state several years
ago, the couple saw rows of bushy purple flowers
covering the rolling acres. After conversations with
lavender growers, they were discouraged to learn
that the plants might not grow in the Oklahoma’s
climate and soil, but they were willing to give it a
“I was after Jag to get some type of hobby,” Lynda
says, adding that growing lavender seemed like a
good fit for the family.
In 2004, on acreage that has been in Lynda’s family
since 1926, they planted a few hundred lavender
plants with the help of their son Thomas, hoping
to determine which varieties would grow best in the
area. Some of the plants survived, while others did
not. Jag Sodhi describes this first crop as a “learning
Eventually they found 10 varieties that grow
well in their area, and they expanded their crop to
include thousands of plants.
Most lavender plants take about three years to
reach full maturity, and they can grow from two to
four feet tall in shades of purple, pink, blue and even
white. While their color is appealing, their real value
lies in the oil inside their stems and buds.
It is this oil that the family harvests and turns into
lavender soaps, lotions, sachets and scented oils.
Lavender potpourri, dried lavender, bath salts and
candles are also available, as well as culinary lavender
products. The Sodhi family makes all of the
products themselves in their own commercial-sized
They not only sell their products in a shop on
their property, but also through their website, www.
lavendervalleyacres.com. In addition, they have a
greenhouse, from which they sell young lavender
plants—all varieties they have tested and found to
be the best for Oklahoma.
Lavender has been used for centuries for a number
of purposes, Jag explains. It is probably bestknown
as a calming scent, but it is also an antiseptic
for insect bites, burns and wounds, and it even helps
keep away bugs and mosquitoes.
Lynda uses lavender oil in cooking. She says it can
be used in basically all of her cooking, noting that it
has numerous health benefits. One of her favorite
recipes is lavender cookies.
“Soldiers once used lavender during wars to rub
on battle wounds,” Jag notes.
Spreading the word
Completely intrigued with lavender, Jag would like
to help others become involved in growing
in Oklahoma. He even carries a bottle of lavender
oil in his pocket at all times, frequently sharing with
Jag immigrated to the United States from India in
1970 and became a naturalized citizen in 1977. He
has served as a professor and software engineer for
various employers. Currently semi-retired, he works
as a professor for the University of Phoenix, which
allows him to work at home and remain active with
the lavender farm.
The Sodhi family is now planning their fourth
Lavender Festival for Saturday, June 14; the
public is invited to attend. This event is definitely
a family affair, as the couple’s six children all come
home to help out with the activities.
The festival will be hosted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
and will feature tours of the family’s lavender gardens
as well as live entertainment. Various artists
and vendors will be selling their products, and food
and drinks will also be available, including lavender
cookies and teas and Indian specialty foods.
The Sodhi’s shop will also be open, displaying all
of their lavender gifts as well as jewelry and imported
clothing and other gift items from India.
The Sodhi family also raises a variety of peacocks,
which typically provide extra entertainment for
guests. For more information and directions, visit
Last year’s event was attended by approximately
600 area residents. They hope to make this year’s
festival even bigger and better for the community.
What started as a hobby and an attempt to grow
an unusual crop in Oklahoma has turned into an
enjoyable family venture that has generated interest
across the state. OL
Jag Sodhi (foreground) and Thomas Sodhi are shown
with several of the young lavender plants available at their
greenhouse facility. Ten varieties of lavender that have been
tested and found to be the best for the area are sold at
How one family turned a lavender hobby into business success
Story and photos by Sondra Boykin
22 OKLAHOMA LIVING