As you walk through the lavender-painted front door of the Azul & Vine Farms shop, the air is deeply fragrant with the scent of lavender, as that is the featured product. Lavender is a beautiful aromatic plant and is said to have many healing and restorative properties, including as a sleep aid and a natural mosquito repellant. Since ancient times, lavender has been used to treat insomnia, headaches, and skin problems. Annette Ochoa is the owner of Azul & Vine.
“We wanted to be able to spread out and have land,” is the reason Annette Ochoa and her husband, Mike, decided to leave California and move across the country to Eaton Rapids. “I grew up on a farm, and always loved gardening, and wanted to have a lot of flowers,” she added. It promised to be a different way of living from California, and she really likes the area.
“We saw that there was this farm for sale, and it checked all of our boxes,” she explained, so they purchased it. When they got the necessary remodeling done on their house, their next step was to plant gardens and set up a shop on their property in a building that was already there but not in use. They have planted about 500 lavender plants, along with other flowers.
The shop opened in October of 2020 by appointment and at open houses. Customers visited and were glad for the opportunity to “just get out of the house a few hours,” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ochoa said.
The interior of the shop continues the calming journey with soft colors and a variety of textures. Ochoa has made most of her natural product line herself, from cut lavender flowers to goat’s milk soaps, soy-based candles, sachets and lavender smudge sticks, bath salts, wreaths, and cream perfumes. A friend has provided natural stone jewelry that is sold in the shop.
“It’s been a great adventure for me, and made me stretch myself,” Ochoa said. “I’m not normally considered a creative person.” However, the charming layout of the shop and the products offered tell a different story.
Ochoa plans on expanding her product line as time allows, and possibly trying to distill the lavender to make essential oils. This is dependent on their future, however, as there is possibly another move on the horizon.
The farm is located at 11362 Wilbur Hwy, Eaton Rapids, just off of M-99. Visit the website at AVFarms.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.