A spectacular sea of purple is coming to the Hunter Valley this December
The Hunter Lavender Farm is finally in bloom and owners Marianne and JR Villanueva have opened up their stunning Broke property to visitors this summer.
Hunter Lavender Farm owners Marianne and JR Villanueva have since 2019 been researching, planning, sourcing, and planting their lavender babies (as Marianne affectionately refers to them as) and in December 2021 the couple harvested their first crop of flowers, which launched their own range of lavender products.
Originally from the Philippines, both Marianne and JR have been living the corporate life in Sydney for the last 15 years, yet have both been craving the rural life they grew up in. With the couple saying their vows in the Hunter Valley back in 2014, the region has always held a soft spot for them, and 5 years later they have returned finding their little piece of paradise in the picturesque region of Broke Fordwich.
Purchasing the property in 2019 the couple split their time between Sydney and the Hunter Valley, with thoughts quickly turning to what they could do with their 14 acres of land.
It wasn’t long before lavender came to mind with the inspiration deriving from their craving of a space that took them away from their busy and often stressful corporate lives together with recreating their honeymoon experience in Provence, France, as Marianne explains,
“My work in Sydney is quite stressful and I’ve always been drawn to lavender for its calming properties, and then I fell in love with lavender following our honeymoon in Provence where there was lavender as far as your eyes could see. So, it’s a combination of those two things as well as wanting to bring something new to the Hunter Valley.”
“We officially moved to Broke in February this year, I was traveling back and forth from Sydney for 3 years, as that was were my work was. However we spent most of lockdown here which made us realise we needed to work out how we were going to make having a farm sustainable, living in two places just wasn’t an option.”
“14 acres isn’t a lot of land, it rules out grapes and olives so we had to think about what we could work with that would be profitable, and was manageable for the two of us.”
With their memories of Provence and Marianne’s love of lavender always at the back of her mind it soon became the crop of choice and so the couple got to work not only developing a plan for the lavender farm, but so much more.
“We have big plans for the property, over the next two years we aim to have a total of 20,000 lavenders in the ground. I have just launched our online shop, and once this is operating smoothly, we will invest in facilities.
“The idea is to open the farm up to visitors this summer and the future plan is to open a shop, café, event space as well as build some forest cabins at the back of the property that will offer a very unique accommodation experience.”
Marianne and JR’s vision for the property is truly inspiring and we can’t wait to see it unfold.