Logan and April Swank came to Missouri seeking land but ended up with a career.
The husband-and-wife team relocated to the Ozarks from Illinois in 2013. The chance to own land drew them to the region, and when a job in Logan’s technical career, information technology, I.T., opened up in Springfield, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“We wanted land, but in Illinois it’s expensive,” Logan Swank said from his home, located around 11 miles northeast of Seymour.
They didn’t know it at the time, but the purchase ultimately led to a lot of learning about lavender — and the start of their namesake business.
One day, April came home after buying some lavender essential oil. The product is popular for a variety of purposes, such as stress and anxiety reduction. It’s also used as a disinfectant because of the oil’s antibacterial properties.
“It’s most known for its relaxing qualities,” Logan Swank said. “We see it used for bug bites and burns. A lot of folks will use it in a diffuser.”
And after hearing what April paid for the oil, Logan had a question.
“I said, ‘Wow, I wonder if we could grow it (lavender),’” he recalls.
Turns out they can.
“It’s super beautiful,” Logan said, proof found through a field of purple plants, swaying gently in the breeze.
That first conversation led to a lot of digging, but it was initially into information. The couple consulted with local experts, such as the University of Missouriextension office and did a lot of good, old-fashioned research. Eventually that digging turned to dirt, where lavender was planted next to their home. Right now, the couple has around 900 plants on a third of an acre, but that’s only a drop in the bucket of what they ultimately plan to have.
“We want to grow this to about 8,000 plants,” he said near the neatly mowed rows of lavender. The growth process is a gradual one; 2018 was the first year with flowers.
“With this baseline, we understand what we need to do to scale this up,” Logan said. “As we get larger, we want to make it a destination.”
While the couple plays host to “you pick” events at the farm where people can come and buy fresh lavender, their primary purpose is to use it to create oil that can be sold.
The couple uses a still to create the oil from the plants, which in turn is bottled and sold. They primarily sell their product at the Rogersville Farmers Market and at local festivals, and 10 ml currently goes for $20.
And while the oil has become a second career for the couple, it’s also offered something else: A chance to learn something new.
“I’m a super nerd,” Logan said with a smile. “I like to read and understand how things work. And at the end of the day, I like to work outside with my hands.”
Swank Lavender is located at 4374 P Road in Seymour, but it is currently only open to the public during scheduled events.
For more information about purchasing oil, call 417-986-7928, e-mail email@example.com or connect online via Facebook under “Swank Lavender.”