Essie Boelema, a 17-year-old lavender farmer, is passionate about the plant. (Screenshot/Special to The Star)

Essie Boelema, a 17-year-old lavender farmer, is passionate about the plant. (Screenshot/Special to The Star)

VIDEO: Langley lavender growers say season soon to be in full bloom

Family-owned farm marks five years by preparing for a summer of sales, tours, and growth

A colourful family farm in Langley Township is readying for another season; local lavender growers and owners of Full Bloom said planting is in full swing.

Chad Boelema and his family bought the land in 2016 without any background in the purple product.

“It just came with the lavender farm, which had been there, I think, for about six or seven years before,” Boelema explained.

He said his wife and particularly his daughter, Essie, were the ones who encouraged the lavender lifestyle.

“It was a steep learning curve and we are still learning the ropes, really,” Boelema said. “We started with roadside sales and thought we could be open to the public.”

With 2,000 plants of prominently the “Old English” variety of lavender, the farm, now in it’s fifth year under Boelema ownership, is known throughout the Lower Mainland for its walking tours through the fields.

“We’re just getting ready for the season, which starts in about mid-June and lasts for six weeks or so,” Boelema said.

Prep work lasts several weekends, which sees mostly weed prevention tactics, such as the roll-out of more then two kilometres worth of heavy duty fabric barriers. Six weeks of pruning will follow as the plants start to flower.

“They’re really labour-intensive and there is a lot of prep work to do,” he said. “Seven days a week, sun-up to sun-down. I’m scared of calculating the amount of time we put in versus an hourly wage.”

Grown in sections consisting of 200 plants, Boelema said lavender can produce flowers for up to ten years.

A new section is being implemented this spring in attempts to expand and replace older plants.

But as busy as it all sounds, Boelema said his daughter’s passion for the plant and its products has been what has grown the business into what it is today.

“Our 17-year-old daughter is the heart of the farm and has been working to turn Full Bloom into a destination for lavender lovers since she was 13,” Boelema said.

READ MORE: Funding initiative aims to boost sales for B.C. farmers, food producers

Describing lavender as a flower beyond compare, Essie’s dream is to provide people with a place the evokes romantic destinations like Tuscany and expand the company’s product line.

She operates the farm store where her handmade products including dried leaves, soaps, bath products, and body butter are up for sale.

“Essie hand-screens dried lavender to separate the lavender buds from the stem,” Boeleme said. “Then she makes things like sachets.”

The family hopes online product sales will be on the horizon this year.

Boelema called 2020 a challenging year due to COVID-19 restrictions, noting reservations for walks and shopping had to be made before people could visit.

He still doesn’t know what 2021 will bring as far as restrictions or protocols, but asked interested visitors to stay tuned as the lavender blooms.

“Our fields are closed for the season, but our lavender store is open by appointment,” Boelema added.

The farm is located at 2926, 248th St. More info can be found at fullbloomlavender.com.


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