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Mesa Verde Lavender Cultivates Culinary Lavender in Mancos

May 3, 2024

Katie Terrell Ramos started Mesa Verde Lavender in 2021 after falling in love with lavender and finding inspiration to start farming in Montezuma County. In 2023, Mesa Verde Lavender received a Field Work grant from the LOR Foundation to expand their fields and add drip irrigation for water conservation. Find Mesa Verde Lavender around the region at coffee shops, bakeries, and apothecaries. By Ilana Newman. This story is sponsored by Choice Building Supply and TruWest Auto.

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Katie Terrell Ramos started Mesa Verde Lavender in 2021 because she was obsessed with her in-laws' lavender plant and wanted to try her hand at growing things. She and her family found property in Montezuma County, moved from Durango where they had been living and started growing lavender and other herbs. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by TruWest Auto and Choice Building Supply. I'm Connor Shreeve.

Got this property, it was pretty barren. Nothing had been done to it. There were a few fruit trees. The barn was in pretty bad shape. There was a horse corral that was over by the first field, and then we took that out and put the first field of lavender. We started with 200 plants and just did five different cultivars to see what would work in this area. And yeah, the soil was not in great shape and so we've just slowly brought it back to help.

Now Katie sells her lavender to local bars, coffee shops and bakeries, as well as selling bouquets at markets. Most of the lavender she grows is culinary, which makes it perfect for baked goods and syrups for cocktails and coffee. Mesa Verde Lavender also currently makes culinary hydrosol, salves, tea, and Katie is planning to expand into essential oils and more body products and teas this year.

My goal is to make sure that every coffee shop in the region gives people the option at least of a lavender latte with a really good lavender. That's the goal. So 90% of my plants are culinary and I sell to a few different places. Mesa Verde Motel is one of my favorite. And Dancing Willow Herbs in Durango and different bars, restaurants, bakeries. We have a donut maker that uses our lavender and apothecaries in the region, so we mostly culinary stuff.

One of the benefits of growing lavender is the drought resilience of the plant. In 2023, Mesa Verde Lavender received a grant from the LOR Foundation through their field work program, which funds water innovation across the Mountain West. Mesa Verde Lavender was incredibly grateful for the funding that helped establish a new field of lavender with drip irrigation.

Lavender is drought tolerant in the fact that it doesn't need to be watered that often. So I can go two weeks without watering it and I drip irrigate. So I have a half gallon going to the plant, half gallon of water through the emitters that I use. And so I water for an hour, sometimes even 45 minutes to an hour and a half. And that's all it needs. It just needs that for every two weeks or every week and a half. And yeah, it just doesn't need a lot of water. And these, I mean, I just watered these the first time, they got eaten by the deer, so they look tiny, but they'll come back nice and big this year and it does well if I water it a lot or if I don't water it. So it definitely makes it a drought-tolerant plant.

Looking to the future, Mesa Verde Lavender is excited to continue to expand its offerings to the community, including making essential oils, hosting events, and providing tours. Katie is also looking forward to continuing to conserve water in new ways, like reducing evaporation in a holding pond and continuing to learn about irrigation.

If people want to come harvest lavender, if they want to help weed the lavender, if they want to just come smell the lavender, I encourage people to reach out and just come be part of this. We want to be a little getaway for the community is our goal. We want people to be able to come sit here, have a picnic with their family, and enjoy the lavender, and have like a beautiful afternoon picnic and get to be in nature, but also in a beautiful field.

Mesa Verde Lavender welcomes visitors for tours or volunteering. To learn more, visit the website or Instagram to get in touch with Katie. You can find Mesa Verde Lavender products at bars, coffee shops and bakeries around Durango and Montezuma County, and on the website. Learn more about this story and others at MontezumaLocal.News. Thanks for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreeve.


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