for the love of lavender

A look into the life of a lavender farming family.

Location: Yamhill, Oregon, United States

Monday, July 31, 2006

teenagers, each a work in progress

Having a lavender harvest crew of teenagers is not always easy. Especially in the early mornings when they are silent and brooding. Barely awake, barely speaking, barely functioning at all. Everything annoys them at this early hour and it seems best to give them a little time.

As a community member we're committed to this hiring of teenagers even though it makes little sense in terms of business. We consider it a long term investment in our community and in each of the kids we're able to employ. These work opportunities help kids build confidence and self esteem. They learn responsibility and work ethic. They learn how to work together with others outside of their usual circle of friends. They learn that a little hard work won't kill them - even though there are a few teenagers who might like to argue that point.

We are able to employ 10-12 teenagers during lavender harvest time. On an average day they will harvest and hang about 800 pounds of lavender. Over the course of the harvest season, 8,000 - 10,000 plants and literally tons of lavender. That's a lot of lavender...

Overall, we truly enjoy the company of teenagers. We enjoy overhearing their conversations when they think we're not listening. We enjoy their ability to learn new things and to be open to learning. We enjoy seeing their eyes light up when they receive their first paycheck. We enjoy seeing them turn from a group of ordinary kids into a real cohesive team, working together to get the job done.

Yes, we do feel it's important to hire teenagers even though it may not be the easy way, the most cost effective way or the most efficient way. It's just the right way for us. The long term benefits and results are immeasurable. For the love of lavender...