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About

mom-web.jpgPurple Ranch is located in Royse City, about 45 minutes outside of Dallas, Texas. We specialize in high-quality lavender products such as body butter, lotions, soaps, essential oil and more.

MY DREAMS

Hi. I’m June Hand.  My dreams have always been larger than life. For many years I have dreamed of owning and running my own business. I loved all the aspects of selling and I believed I could make a success of every dream I conceived. Over the years, there was jewelry to be acquired and sold, aqua bonnets for fitness centers and spas, and gemstones to be found, polished and reformed into works of art to be sold. My interests were varied and widespread and I was never deterred in my pursuit of that one dream that would begin as a seed of an idea and literally blossom into a flourishing endeavor.

THE BEGINNING

My interest in plants and flowers began in my early childhood. My Aunt Kate would take me (in my mind) on the adventure of a lifetime. We would step off her back porch in Louisiana and into another world: a jungle of living, breathing, greenery that became my summer escape; and so my passion began. A gentle breeze would stir the humid, steamy air as we would stroll from plant to plant. She taught me the names and care of each individual plant and I felt as if these were the children she never had that required her attention and care. I would become lost in the magical world of blossoms and blooms. As the years streamed by in a kaleidoscope of colors, I finally realized my dream of growing and selling lavender. Now I share my dream with you.

PURPLE RANCH WAS BORN

Purple Ranch became my dream in living color in 2003 when I purchased two hundred plants to cultivate on our eight acres in Royse City, Texas. We were told by the supposed "experts" that lavender would not grow in the black gumbo mud in this area of the state. How wrong they were. We planted in the summer of 2003 and it was a trial and error process, but Purple Ranch was finally born.

FIRST PLANTING

During our first planting, we amended the soil by building up the earth out of dirt and sand then topped it with river rock. This became problematic because when the rains came, and yes it does rain in Texas, the soil would wash away. We lost 75% of our crop that year. I was discouraged, but not defeated. That fall we ordered another batch of plants and proceeded with the planting in November 2003, with a different amended soil. Over the next two years we watched as the baby lavender grew into large beautiful plants.

FIRST HARVEST

By the third year, 2007, our plants were ready for harvesting. I will never forget the first time I stepped into the middle of the rows of light purple flowers. The scent wafted all around and the steady buzz of the bees and fluttering of the many butterflies was an unforgettable experience. On Mother’s Day weekend, 2007, we purchased 500 plants and the whole family converged on the farm to plant. It was some of the hardest, most back-breaking work but together, with lots of laughter, Powerade, sunscreen and in spite of the blazing Texas sun, we got it done. Perfect rows of lavender plants lined up like soldiers in formation. The first plants were harvested with minimum equipment; a pair of sturdy gloves and scissors were our only tools. We cut and cut and then cut some more. The rows seemed to get longer the more we cut. It was amazing how you could spend an hour cutting blooms from one lavender bush and step back and not be able to tell that you had cut anything. During our first harvest summer, we went to the Lavender Festival in Blanco, Texas where we met other lavender farmers. Each one had a passion for the little purple flower with the soothing scent. One farm in particular captured our hearts: Hummingbird Farms. From the “whiskey still” distiller, to Jack and Debi, our hosts, and Ricky, our foreman in sickle cutting, it was an amazing journey into how special lavender really is. Of course, this only made me more determined to have a flourishing lavender farm. My passion was reignited all over again. We came away from Hummingbird Farm with a new skill — harvesting with a sickle.

SETBACKS

Mother’s Day weekend 2007 would be the last dry day for 32 days straight. Anyone that has ever worked with lavender knows that these plants do not like a lot of water. That summer we lost 90% of our original 200 plants due to the wet conditions. Only another farmer can understand the feeling of devastation when you lose the majority of your crop. Preparing the soil, digging the holes, putting in the soaker hoses for watering, weeding, keeping the ants from building nests in the plants, and the myriad of other activities required to produce a good crop can all literally go “down the drain” in one wet season.

MOVING FORWARD

Our 500 new plants are thriving and some are large enough to bloom. In October 2007, we participated in our first festival: Royse City Fall Festival. This was such a positive experience for us and just the beginning of many festivals and crafts shows to come. Purple Ranch has been a family labor of love. My husband and children have: helped prepare and plant the harvest, and work numerous weekends to create and sell the finished products. My son designed the signs, product labels, and business cards. It was an incredible feeling to see product made at our Purple Ranch farm and I am sincerely blessed to have my family to share my dream with me. Occasionally I am asked “was Purple Ranch worth the intense labor and time and would you do it again,” I have always said "absolutely!".  This just goes to prove that dreams really can come true!



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