White Hills Farm

Aug 8, 2016 | Farmer Support, Meet My Farmer Monday

Modestly set back from a McDuffie County country road, the buttered-yellow homestead of White Hills Farm, LLC waves you in like an old friend. As you turn up the gentle drive, and walk toward the barns and gardens, that folksy farm feel transforms into a tour of delights. By the end of your visit, you’ll be thoroughly enchanted, simultaneously nodding in awe and shaking your head in disbelief. Simply put, the attention to detail going on at this place is wholly incomprehensible.

White Hills Farm, in Dearing, GA, is primarily known as a lavender farm. It is one of the few such commercial enterprises in the Southeast. Many varieties of lavender are grown here, some culinary, some aromatic, all stunning. The farm is also known for its herbs, both cultivated and wild. And then there are those endless little surprises tucked into every corner. Like that autumn olive hedge with fruits that taste like strawberries; like the grandkids’ miniature farmhouse that mirrors the adult-size one; like the surrounding purple verbena fields that “just happen” when they don’t mow.

People come to White Hills Farm for the beauty, a beauty they take home with them in the form of soaps and balms, vinegars and salts, sachets and bouquets, tinctures and teas. People return to White Hills Farm for the profound wisdom infused in each carefully finished product.

Farmers Lisa and Ben Kessler are scientists first. They have no patience for a kumbaya approach to health. Ben is a physician at the VA. Lisa is a retired PA, well-versed in evidence-based research, including the herbal medicinal realm. He’s the team’s soft-spoken builder. She’s the modern-day medicine woman — always put-together and prepared, never willing to guess or assume. Walk with her for ten minutes, and this sage will effortlessly point out the benefits of a dozen or more plants in any one space on her property. Join Lisa for an hour of foraging in their woods, and your head will spin with the world’s most practical knowledge — stuff you can use right at home.

This year, the Kesslers put the finishing touches on their new “Red Barn.” And by “Red Barn,” we mean a gorgeous, camera-ready, post-and-beam, commercial kitchen/classroom/storefront on the ground floor, with a ridiculously romantic bed & bath above. This new facility significantly increases their capacity to host some of the classiest workshops in town. These inspired events range from a “Wild Garlic Walking Tour” to a “Lavender Summer Cream-Making,” to a “Weekend of Drawing and Painting En Plein Air.” Sign up quick; they sell out fast.

Perhaps the greatest gift that White Hills Farm gives our community is proof that this level of epicurean pursuit is both possible and popular in the CSRA. We thank them for raising that bar to levels we didn’t even know existed.

Come meet Lisa at the Evans market pick-up location this Tuesday, Aug 9, from 4pm-6pm. She’ll be sharing some of her newest creations, including lemongrass (fresh and dried) and lavender chocolate bars made in cooperation with Antebellum Chocolates.