Out in the deep country, 85 miles South West of Oklahoma City, 19 miles South of Anadarko, and approximately 31 miles North of Lawton/ Ft. Sill, you can find a bit of French country in a few acres of lavender that bursts into rows of purple gorgeousness in late spring and summer.
The idea to grow lavender came first from Lynda Sodhi, inspired by an article from a magazine while she was traveling with her husband Jag Sodhi. Jag was on a teaching assignment in the remote North West of the United States and saw acres upon acres of lavender being grown. They were so taken with the beauty of the prosperous Washington State, where rows of bushy purple flowers cover the rolling hills. Local lavender growers discouraged them from trying to grow lavender in Oklahoma stating that it would not flourish in our climate. But that did not stop Jag and Lynda from bringing a few lavender plants home to experiment.
Jag and Lynda have traveled the United States and the World extensively and could not think of anything better to do with the land they had in Apache, Oklahoma, than growing lavender. What started out as a hobby experiment led to the Sodhi family owned business you now know as Lavender Valley Acres.
Jag and Lynda studied books on lavender and began experimenting with different types of lavender in 2003. Jag did research on the internet and determined that the variety that grows best in Caddo County, Oklahoma was Grosso and Provence. Jag bought a few hundred plants in 2004. Some survived and some did not...it was a learning curve. When matured, lavender plants need little water. Weeds around the plants should be removed by hand. They experimented by growing lavender around the house on a few acres. The biggest problem they faced was wild weeds. To solve this problem they used heavy duty fabrics around the lavender plant base. It has worked well so far and means less manual work pulling weeds. The lavender crop has grown beautifully and in the following years they have added more now totaling over 2,000 plants! Most lavender plants take about three years to fully mature. We are happy to say the lavender is doing well in Oklahoma's hot sun and arid climate.
In the summer of 2005, they harvested their first batch of lavender from the original plants. They decorated dinner tables with sprigs of lavender and gave gifts of lavender oil to guests at their daughter Anita's wedding. In the spring of 2006, they added more lavender plants.
Since then, they have established a store to sell handcrafted lavender products and plants.
In July 2004, Jag and Lynda visited a three day lavender festival at Sequim, Washington. There were about 25,000 people from all over the country including hundreds of vendors. In June 2006, they attended a one day lavender festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were about 5,000 people including 50 or so vendors. They were very encouraged to see the success and prosperity of these events. Jag and Lynda hosted their first lavender festival in 2005 for the family. In 2006, they hosted their 2nd Annual
Lavender Festival for the family and relatives the last week of June. In 2016 we hosted the 12th Annual Lavender Festival and will continue the tradition.
The Sodhi family is starting a new phase of the lavender adventure. In September 2016 we lost the founder of Lavender Valley Acres and patriarch of our family, Jag Sodhi, to leukemia. Jag and Lynda's daughter, Anita, moved back to Oklahoma from Wisconsin to carry on the family business with Lynda and other family. It is quite the change of pace for her but she is loving every moment of it, even the hard ones.