The sweet smell of success at LavenderFest

News Jul 09, 2014 by Darryl Smart Norfolk News

Anita and Steve Buehner are living proof that when one door closes, another one opens if you’re willing.

The fruits of their labour and their new passion are on full display at Bonnieheath Estate, just outside of Waterford.

Over July 5 and 6, throngs of people visited the former tobacco farm, which now boasts beautiful lavender fields, a winery, gazebo and much more, during the fourth annual LavenderFest.

“We’re so excited with the turnout,” Anita said. “People don’t know there’s this beauty to walk around in and enjoy. Bloom time is the perfect time for that. The idea was to bring people here and share the beauty.

“There’s no better way to get people out than to have something like this on a weekend,” she added. “We want to just keep that wagon running, to be able to tell our story and let them experience the beauty here. That’s what it’s all about.”

And the story they have to tell is a great one.

“It’s been quite a long journey,” Buehner said. “In 2003, we planted our first lavender plants. It was done just on a trial basis. A friend of mine asked if I was interested in planting lavender. It’s as simple as that. That’s how it all began.”

The Buehners started to expand their varieties just to see how they did. At the time, the Simcoe research station was also conducting a lavender trial because of its ability to grow in sandy soils like Norfolk.

“We kept expanding our trial plot, and in 2009, when the government said it was getting rid of the tobacco quota system, we had to get a new life,” she said. “We were already started on our journey, I guess.”

Already involved with the Ontario Lavender Association and South Coast Winery and Growers Association, the Buehners were slowly evolving without really knowing what to expect.

“We weren’t ready to run, but we were on our own feet,” she said. “We spent time with a lot of like-minded individuals. That opportunity became more clear, and we began to make plans.”

In 2010, they planted their first vineyard and a year later, LavenderFest was born.

Every year has brought changes to the festival, but this year saw the biggest development with the winery, retail store and patio, said Buehner.

“For three years we’ve been using our former tobacco barn for the lavender festival. But officially we can finally say it isn’t a tobacco barn. It’s a winery and lavender retail. It’s a big change. People are coming though and they’re saying some really nice things about what we’ve done.”

While the Buehners have received many kind words locally and beyond, their mindset has and always will be the same.

“We’re about sharing what this area has to offer,” Buehner said. “That’s why we have local foods and music on display this weekend. Last year we had 800 people show up in two days. But it really isn’t about the numbers. If we can reach a group of people that come here and said they’ve spent time in the country, connecting to where we’re all from, that’s fantastic.”

Buehner said visitors often ask why they planted their lavender so far apart.

“It’s so people can walk through it and enjoy its beauty,” she explained.

“Nothing gives me more joy than watching people wander through the lavender field. That’s what we wanted to create. We want people to go into it and connect with nature.”

The sweet smell of success at LavenderFest

Bonnieheath Estate has become a tourist magnet

News Jul 09, 2014 by Darryl Smart Norfolk News

Anita and Steve Buehner are living proof that when one door closes, another one opens if you’re willing.

The fruits of their labour and their new passion are on full display at Bonnieheath Estate, just outside of Waterford.

Over July 5 and 6, throngs of people visited the former tobacco farm, which now boasts beautiful lavender fields, a winery, gazebo and much more, during the fourth annual LavenderFest.

“We’re so excited with the turnout,” Anita said. “People don’t know there’s this beauty to walk around in and enjoy. Bloom time is the perfect time for that. The idea was to bring people here and share the beauty.

“There’s no better way to get people out than to have something like this on a weekend,” she added. “We want to just keep that wagon running, to be able to tell our story and let them experience the beauty here. That’s what it’s all about.”

And the story they have to tell is a great one.

“It’s been quite a long journey,” Buehner said. “In 2003, we planted our first lavender plants. It was done just on a trial basis. A friend of mine asked if I was interested in planting lavender. It’s as simple as that. That’s how it all began.”

The Buehners started to expand their varieties just to see how they did. At the time, the Simcoe research station was also conducting a lavender trial because of its ability to grow in sandy soils like Norfolk.

“We kept expanding our trial plot, and in 2009, when the government said it was getting rid of the tobacco quota system, we had to get a new life,” she said. “We were already started on our journey, I guess.”

Already involved with the Ontario Lavender Association and South Coast Winery and Growers Association, the Buehners were slowly evolving without really knowing what to expect.

“We weren’t ready to run, but we were on our own feet,” she said. “We spent time with a lot of like-minded individuals. That opportunity became more clear, and we began to make plans.”

In 2010, they planted their first vineyard and a year later, LavenderFest was born.

Every year has brought changes to the festival, but this year saw the biggest development with the winery, retail store and patio, said Buehner.

“For three years we’ve been using our former tobacco barn for the lavender festival. But officially we can finally say it isn’t a tobacco barn. It’s a winery and lavender retail. It’s a big change. People are coming though and they’re saying some really nice things about what we’ve done.”

While the Buehners have received many kind words locally and beyond, their mindset has and always will be the same.

“We’re about sharing what this area has to offer,” Buehner said. “That’s why we have local foods and music on display this weekend. Last year we had 800 people show up in two days. But it really isn’t about the numbers. If we can reach a group of people that come here and said they’ve spent time in the country, connecting to where we’re all from, that’s fantastic.”

Buehner said visitors often ask why they planted their lavender so far apart.

“It’s so people can walk through it and enjoy its beauty,” she explained.

“Nothing gives me more joy than watching people wander through the lavender field. That’s what we wanted to create. We want people to go into it and connect with nature.”

The sweet smell of success at LavenderFest

Bonnieheath Estate has become a tourist magnet

News Jul 09, 2014 by Darryl Smart Norfolk News

Anita and Steve Buehner are living proof that when one door closes, another one opens if you’re willing.

The fruits of their labour and their new passion are on full display at Bonnieheath Estate, just outside of Waterford.

Over July 5 and 6, throngs of people visited the former tobacco farm, which now boasts beautiful lavender fields, a winery, gazebo and much more, during the fourth annual LavenderFest.

“We’re so excited with the turnout,” Anita said. “People don’t know there’s this beauty to walk around in and enjoy. Bloom time is the perfect time for that. The idea was to bring people here and share the beauty.

“There’s no better way to get people out than to have something like this on a weekend,” she added. “We want to just keep that wagon running, to be able to tell our story and let them experience the beauty here. That’s what it’s all about.”

And the story they have to tell is a great one.

“It’s been quite a long journey,” Buehner said. “In 2003, we planted our first lavender plants. It was done just on a trial basis. A friend of mine asked if I was interested in planting lavender. It’s as simple as that. That’s how it all began.”

The Buehners started to expand their varieties just to see how they did. At the time, the Simcoe research station was also conducting a lavender trial because of its ability to grow in sandy soils like Norfolk.

“We kept expanding our trial plot, and in 2009, when the government said it was getting rid of the tobacco quota system, we had to get a new life,” she said. “We were already started on our journey, I guess.”

Already involved with the Ontario Lavender Association and South Coast Winery and Growers Association, the Buehners were slowly evolving without really knowing what to expect.

“We weren’t ready to run, but we were on our own feet,” she said. “We spent time with a lot of like-minded individuals. That opportunity became more clear, and we began to make plans.”

In 2010, they planted their first vineyard and a year later, LavenderFest was born.

Every year has brought changes to the festival, but this year saw the biggest development with the winery, retail store and patio, said Buehner.

“For three years we’ve been using our former tobacco barn for the lavender festival. But officially we can finally say it isn’t a tobacco barn. It’s a winery and lavender retail. It’s a big change. People are coming though and they’re saying some really nice things about what we’ve done.”

While the Buehners have received many kind words locally and beyond, their mindset has and always will be the same.

“We’re about sharing what this area has to offer,” Buehner said. “That’s why we have local foods and music on display this weekend. Last year we had 800 people show up in two days. But it really isn’t about the numbers. If we can reach a group of people that come here and said they’ve spent time in the country, connecting to where we’re all from, that’s fantastic.”

Buehner said visitors often ask why they planted their lavender so far apart.

“It’s so people can walk through it and enjoy its beauty,” she explained.

“Nothing gives me more joy than watching people wander through the lavender field. That’s what we wanted to create. We want people to go into it and connect with nature.”