Atop a ridge southwest of the metropolis lies an idyllic lavender farm. Owned by husband and wife Skip and Suzanne Honeyman, Honey Creek Farm is nestled on 40 lush acres just west of Alt. 75 on West 191st Street South in Mounds.
The homegrown operation includes the Honeymans’ personal residence, a stocked pond, the lavender crops, a shop, a cabin, hiking trails, and a barn. They’re currently laying the infrastructure for a new shop and two Airbnb cabins—a 600 square foot one bedroom one, and a 1,000 square foot two bedroom one. Both will have sweeping views to the south and east, overlooking the lush valley, which Skip explains is the Coffeyville Formation. The view is so clear that one can see up to 30 miles away, all the way to the town of Leonard.
The Honeymans were born and raised in Tulsa (Suzanne) and Wichita, Kansas (Skip). She’s an avid nature enthusiast and he has experience with farms from childhood. They began dating in 2000 and married in 2003. They were living in Broken Arrow, considering retiring from their respective professions (banking for her and geology for him), when Skip came up with the idea of not just having a vacation home, but living at their “vacation” home. Thus the search for property in the area began.
This search eventually spanned 30,000 miles in every direction from Broken Arrow. Finally, in 2004, they looked up at this particular hill and saw a “for sale by owner” sign. Though it was raw land and the owners were only there to hunt, the Honeymans were able to chat with them and find that the property was perfect for their purposes. “This is where God led us,” says Skip, smiling. He says, “It’s all about the adventure of stepping out and talking to someone.”
They have a passion for teaching, sharing, coaching, and mentoring, and the lavender business gives them the opportunity to do all of these things. They also mentor through their church and do premarital counseling, and Skip was recently ordained and has been able to hold and perform several weddings on the property.
When COVID started they were going to farmers markets all the time and holding occasional classes. But the abundance of time and isolation gave their ideas and dreams a chance to come to fruition. More and more family and friends are desperate to get out of their houses and into nature, and the lavender farm is the perfect place to go. Suzanne says she wonders if people really want to come, and “then they keep coming!”
Despite a multitude of stumbling blocks and small annoyances, since receiving the go ahead from the County Board of Adjustment on September 22, they are quickly moving ahead with plans to build a new shop and processing facility and two vacation cabins. They are starting with two, but there will eventually be four cabins on the property, each with gorgeous panoramic views and easy access from Alt. 75. Each cabin, or cottage, to be accurate, will have bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, generous living spaces, and wrap-around porches. “You don’t mess around, you just do it,” says Skip. He, the former geologist, explains that looking east over the valley you are standing in the ancient timberlands and overlooking the ancient riverbed. Some of the trees surrounding you are 500-600 years old. You may see roadrunners, foxes, or deer while you’re there. They are keeping as many trees as possible and also using boulders and rocks that were unearthed while digging natural gas lines as natural landscaping.
The Honeymans tried several things before lavender, such as cone flowers and a vineyard. Unfortunately, deer love grapes and grape vines and it was almost impossible to keep them away. Eventually they tried lavender, and quickly discovered the benefits and joys of harvesting it. “We just started enjoying [it],” the Honeymans say. May and June is when it’s full and all abloom. Honey Creek is an organic farm and they don’t use anything electrictronic to plant or harvest. “It’s all man power,” says Suzanne.
There are rows and rows of fragrant lavender plants. Butterflies flit and fly over the plants as we walk down a path to a plant with buds ready to be harvested. Skip takes a small, sharp scythe and removes bundles of stalks from the plant. Although the real growing season is in May and June, there is still plenty to be had in October. They grow 12 different varieties of the herb, including the most famous, Provence, and munstead and grosso. Initially they bought plants from a place in Kansas, but now, Skip propagates his own. The benefits of lavender are legendary. It promotes stress relief, relaxation, calm, wellness, and has anti-anxiety, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, and can even lower blood pressure.
The new shop will house a distillery and they will be able to process their own lavender oils. You won’t want to miss visiting the farm next May and June when all the plants are in bloom.
Suzanne makes sachets, wreaths, eye pillows, warming rice pillows for aches and pains, lavender pepper, toilet water, hand refresher water, potpourri, and packages of the herb for cooking in her shop. Before the pandemic she also taught classes about lavender, which she plans to resume at some point.
Some good friends of theirs in Mounds, who own a plumbing company, have just opened a coffee shop in town. Rumor has it there may eventually be a day spa in the back. And there’s a neighbor who can cater to future guests, making their Airbnb dreams look more and more feasible.
This business is about more than a product for the Honeymans. For them it is a way to give back to the community they love and an opportunity to interact with people in a meaningful way.