‘Plans upon plans’ for lavender farm

It was the scent of lavender that drew Paula Cosgrove away from tax advisory to the fields, and she wants to share it with everyone.

Ms Cosgrove, who started the family-run Lavender Row in Outram about six years ago, wanted a change after being "ground down by the corporate world" after working as a tax adviser for several years.

So she decided to do something completely different, moving from Auckland to Outram.

"It took us a couple of years setting up the business before we had anything to actually harvest.

"We’ve had a few issues along the way, but this is a great place to grow lavender. We have a really good little microclimate here."

Although it took her some time to make the switch to lavender farming, she had been thinking about it for a while.

"Everyone loves the scent of lavender and it’s so versatile."

There were "plans upon plans" for the business.

"Being out here running a business for myself means there is so much variety, but you have to do almost everything on your own.

"One minute I’m harvesting, the next minute I’m running the store."

Lavender Row’s Paula Cosgrove is out in the fields with her children (from left) Evelyn, 13,...
Lavender Row’s Paula Cosgrove is out in the fields with her children (from left) Evelyn, 13, Gabriel, 8, and Zander, 16. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Her children Evelyn, Zander and Gabriel also help out with harvesting and other duties during the school holidays.

"It’s a proper family business."

She is also in a business partnership with Paul Greaves of Estate Aromatics, which specialises in essential oils products.

Lavender was very versatile, and could be used in everything from cosmetics and aromas to food and drink, she said.

She was considering releasing a lavender-flavoured gin.

"The gin market has just exploded in the past few years ... but I think there is an opportunity for a point of difference.

"There is a depth of flavour in lavender that makes it good in not only sweet food such as cakes, but also savoury food."

The fact they ran an 18ha farm meant there was a lot of room to expand their operations.

"The Taieri Plains are pretty versatile ... we haven’t really stopped since we started."