How it Started
An old sign still resides in the barn that reads “Gatewood Farm - Bacon and Sausage”. Based upon local knowledge, the farm used to raise cows and pigs and people could directly purchase agricultural products from a retail store on the property. The old slaughter room can still be seen in the barn and the overgrown “cow pond” where the cattle were taken to water is still a feature on the farm. What used to be the pig breeding shed, can still be seen on the eastern property adjacent to the lavender farm.
In October 2020, we received a heartwarming letter followed by a visit from a lovely community member whose family used to own the farm. She lovingly walked the farm and recollected memories of her grandparents and great aunt. Her grandparents owned the farm originally sometime in the 1930’s/40’s. They lived in the white house up on the corner hill as you approach the current day lavender farm property. None of the current houses on what is now Zech drive existed. Instead, they owned the entire area and it was used for farming. The brown house where I currently reside used to be the meat market where they would sell their agricultural products. Her Great Aunt owned the house that is at the end of Zech drive and that was the only other dwelling in the immediate area.
The property has long-established agricultural roots, but farming is a tough business. Eventually, the property was subdivided and sold off in order to subsidize the farming operations throughout the years. It’s unfortunate that this had to happen. The current day Rhode Island Right to Farm Act was enacted specifically to address this dilemma and help prevent farmers from abandoning their agricultural properties. The act was meant to resist urban development and assist farmers in establishing economic viability. But the law was a little too late for the former Gatewood Farm. The property changed hands a few times since then, including ownership by the Carpenter family of Carpenter Farm. The farm was most recently used for the production of hay where the previous owner had the barn in disrepair and used it solely as a garage for storage.
How it's Going
After the current owner purchased the farm late in 2016, the costly process of restoration and improvement of the barn began with the installation of electricity and repairing existing water system. Improvements included the installation of three stables and dutch doors throughout the barn as well as created a poultry area attached to the rear of the barn. The farm restoration included rotational grazing pastures for livestock (sheep, llama, alpaca and donkey).
During the summer of 2017, the Carpenters planted corn on the farm in preparation for a master plan for a lavender field. The following summer of 2018, a center gazebo was installed and the field designs for the rows of lavender were laid out. To house the growing equipment and materials for the farm a garage was built with a small living area above. The inner circle of the lavender field was planted in 2018. In 2019 the outer circle of the lavender field was planted to the completion of over 4,000 lavender plants from 10 varieties. The upper area of the garage building was created into a stunning luxuriously rustic Farm Suite.
In 2020, the farm quickly gained traction and a large following grew around the lavender field and its unique beauty. Popularity of our farm has grown immensely. As a private farm, the property was not open to the general public. It was decided to sell the first year’s lavender via tightly regulated lavender cuttings on five Saturdays in 2020 during peak bloom season in the summer. In addition to paid staff to manage the property and cuttings, the farm employs individuals to assemble cuttings and products from the lavender for sale. Volunteers from the Kingston Hill Garden Club of South Kingstown also assisted the farm cuttings.
The unique design of the farm was done so as to create a special place of beauty, peace and luxury for visitors. In the short time that the farm has been in business, it has been written about by newspapers, magazines and many other social media sources.
This farm is fulfilling the owner’s dream of growing this amazing herb and sharing it with the community. By being able to sell the lavender as well as offer the opportunity for a limited number of guests to visit the farm, they will experience a working farm and have the ability for the community to have a place of gathering amongst the rolling waves of lavender. The granddaughter of the original Gatewood Farm owner stated “how delighted her grandparents would be to see their farm being used for farming once again.” We relish the thought that we are bringing farming back to the area in a very unique and exciting way. We thank all of our followers and lavender enthusiasts that give us the encouragement to continue this labor of love.