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The allure of lavender

In 2009, Betsy and Davin Reichard of Fort Scott had a vision: to own a lavender farm. In 2012, that vision became reality when they opened the Lavender Patch. With more than 1,000 plants, this farm has become a draw for both agritourists and lavender enthusiasts.

“We have a gift shop, and make soaps and lotions, etc. It’s not like some kinds of farming where you take your harvest to the Co-op and you’re done. We have to make something with our product and market it,” said Betsy.

One way Betsy gets the word out about the benefits and usefulness of lavender is through classes she teaches. After all, she’s a teacher by trade.

“My husband and I both still work, so this is something we do on the side, although it’s a lot of work! He’s a comptroller at CKAN, and I'm a special education teacher. I do enjoy teaching others to make items out of lavender though, like soaps, lotions, wreaths, etc. There are so many things you can do!”

On Tuesday, September 11, Fort Scott Presbyterian Village residents will have the opportunity to try their hand at soap making, when Betsy teaches a class as part of Assisted Living Week.

“I’ve known (executive director) Ginger Nance a long time, and after the residents enjoyed visiting the farm in June, she asked if I'd come teach a class. I was glad to oblige!”

Owning and operating a lavender farm takes a lot of effort, but Betsy thinks it’s all worthwhile, especially when she can share her passion with others.

We do everything by hand, as organic as possible, and as natural as possible. From planting to weeding to harvesting, we do it by hand. It’s a labor of love!”

Presbyterian Village invites the public to join the soap-making class at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 11. Please contact Becky Kellum at 620-223-5550 by Sept. 6 to register as seating is limited.

To learn more about Lavender Patch, visit

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