Bonnie and Gene Schmidt are the proprietors of Still Waters Lavender LLC which is located at 3990 NE 33rd Street, Redmond, Oregon 97756.We passionately care about our company and its reputation, the community, our customers and employees. Still Waters Lavender LLC business practices will be conducted within the following framework: Our core business principles include: • Building trust, fairness and respect into all business transactions. • Providing (value added) superior products and services at affordable prices. • Striving always to do the right thing as if our business depends upon it, (because it does). • Applying and living strong moral principles while utilizing proper business ethics. • Never placing profit above fairness, integrity and honesty. • Promoting and supporting plant certification and growing chemical free.
• Living our company motto “ Good Better Best”( Never Let It Rest, Until Your Good Is Better And Your Better Is Best)”
This all began when a family friend brought a bottle of hydrosol and told me there was a lavender farm not too far from us. I loved the hydrosol and anything that did not move was sprayed. The next year when the farm opened, Our daughter and I visited the owners. The minute we drove up their driveway, we knew what we were going to do: we were going to have our own lavender farm.
We purchased one lavender plant: Edelweiss. Standing amongst all the purples and blues, there stood this beautiful row of white. We talk about the purple majestic mountains and the waving amber grain. We talked about the white snow-capped mountains and the purple majestic lavender. We fell in love with Seal. We tried to talk my husband, Gene, into lavender, but he just looked at us and rolled his eyes and went back to whatever he was doing.
We started doing our research and gathering information in 2010. In 2011, we visited two lavender farms in Central Oregon. Then, I dragged Gene to a lavender farm near Portland. We drove down their lane and Gene got out of the car and said (with a smile on his face--a big smile) "We can do this." We planted a test plot, starting with Grosso, in 2011. Almost all of them died. Just because lavender doesn't require as much water as some plants, they still need water when they are young. We had a three-week dry spell and didn't water. All life needs water...
Bonnie brings to the table an extreme passion for all things lavender, is creative and produces all our premium brands of goat milk (and other) soaps, unique gift baskets, sachets, wands, wreaths, weaved baskets, chicken door stops and moth repellents. Many other ancillary products are also under her development and supervision. Bonnie serves as the company President.
Gene brings sixteen years of growing expertise from managing Weyerhaeuser Company’s forest bare root nurseries, seed orchard seed production and greenhouse container seedling operations. He has grown millions of seedlings for forest plantations. He is responsible for all field operations and is a trained (OSU) “Master Gardener”. Gene earned his Bachelor’s Degree from George Fox University, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Corban University. He serves as the Vice President of Still Waters Lavender.
The Story of Our Land
When moving to this beautiful high desert five acre parcel of land in the summer of 1992, my husband and I saw the natural beauty and the potential to put into practice our inherent belief to always leave the land in better condition than we found it. Gene with his background in growing trees and working on farms when he was growing up and me having the privilege of growing up on a farm and having instilled in me from birth that, with hard work, dedication and educating ourselves to the land’s needs, the land would always take care of our needs in return. (I can still hear my father say “Always leave the land better than you found it, babe”).
We cleared off the sagebrush and planted orchard grass and bordered our place with Ponderosa Pine trees. Whenever we describe where we live, we finish with “just find the pine trees as you clear the ridge: that’s us!” Gene hand watered the pine trees every day, fertilized them and probably talked to them as he often walked the tree line. They rewarded us by growing beautiful and tall. We planted an orchard and immediately went to war with pocket gophers. The grass in the field attracted meadow voles which in turn attracted the hawks, even a Golden Eagle, neighbors’ cats, breathtakingly handsome foxes and wary coyotes. The orchard became a haven for deer: does with their fawns in spring and summer and, in late fall as the dusty eventide approached and the autumn hush was in the air, the bucks tip toed silently into the orchard to eat the apples from the trees.
I retired first and came to love the lavender plants that were vigorously tantalizing my senses with their lovely fragrance. For me, there is no other action as satisfying as walking to the house brushing my fingers across the flowers or having a breeze unexpectedly bring the wonderful soft aroma of lavender seductively to me. When Gene retired a few years later we visited a few lavender farms. Wonderful people greeted us, spectacular varieties of lavender were introduced to us and the usages of a lavender plant—culinary, medicinal, crafting or landscaping—are endless.
We purchased 360 lavender plants in 2010 for a test plot, most of which died because of our uncontrolled exuberance (i.e., impatient ignorance). In 2011 we purchased more than 2000 lavender plants for planting our first production block. One of the lessons we learned in 2010 was that although lavender is drought resistant, baby plants still need water to be adequately established. An overhead sprinkler system waters everything in its pathway—weeds between the rows, my dog Molly, me—and did not water our plants uniformly, Furthermore, water was wasted through evaporation. We installed an electronically controlled drip irrigation system delivering a half gallon of water an hour at each plant location for an hour a day. As if by magic, miniature liquid teardrops gently formed and hesitatingly pirouetted down to the warm sandy soil, providing lifegiving water to each plant. It is a delight to walk out among the lavender and watch this magic.
In 2011, weeds--not meadow voles or pocket gophers--became enemy #1, especially where the drip irrigation lands at the base of our lavender plants and meets the parched high desert soil. Since I was the one who pulled up the weed barrier cloth in the test plot because I thought it was not “natural”, I am being held responsible for the weeding between the plants. I was told by a very saintly woman one time that we need to spend more time on our knees: I do not think she meant weeding. Therefore, I am re-evaluating the “naturalness” of weed cloth.
In 2012 we were introduced to and experienced the life of a vendor at a local farmers’ market. It was gratifying to meet all the like minded people as excited about lavender as my husband and I are. Also in 2012, we purchased another 3000 lavender plants and, hopefully, will plant them in 2013 in production blocks B and C, just west of our test plots and production block A. I dream of the time when I will look out my kitchen window, sitting at the table, sipping tea and seeing the rows of lavender of different hues or walking through the fields brushing my hands across the flowers and having the aroma delicately brought to my olfactory senses. My husband, being the practical one of the family, brings me crashing to another sense, common sense. He reminds me of the labor involved in hand weeding, hoeing, tractor and cultivation work, soil testing, keeping weather and irrigation data, harvesting, sales and marketing and propagation records and all the other down-to-earth stuff that comes with running a lavender farm. It will only stay beautiful if we diligently tend to business, so says my husband, Mr. Gene, MBA!
I have on my refrigerator this profound piece of wisdom I tore from one of those little newsletters a person can pick up for free at a local feed store: “If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest”. This little piece speaks to my heart that we must always leave this land in better condition than we found it. This land was barren when we first beheld it, mostly sage brush and juniper. I hope when people look at this small piece of land with its purple hues lined with majestic pines, they will know that Gene and I love this beautiful piece of high desert and will strive to leave it a better place than when we found it.
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