BOONE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — In Boone County, reclaimed coal land is now the site of something more fragrant.
Many of the workers at Appalachian Botanical Company have roots in the coal mining industry, but while they may look like they are at a strip mine, they are actually tending to a lavender farm.
Since 2019, the company has been bringing jobs to the economically distressed area while also putting the land back to use.
“I love this job, we get to work with our hands, we get to see everything unfold starting from little plants to great big plants,” said Adam Mitchell an employee at Appalachian Botanical Co. who was hired while he was on felony probation.
Their employees all say they are grateful for the work opportunity.
“Lavender is a specialty crop, you can take the buds and stems from it and distill it and that’s where you get your essential oils from,” said Marina Sawyer, chief technical officer for Appalachian Botanical Co.
Sawyer said lavender essential oil is very profitable, and their business model is valuable, too.
“It’s socially good; it’s a good way to promote the socially and economically stressed areas here in West Virginia because eventually we’ll have the visitors that will come and we’ll have the sales of our products,” she said.
This summer the company is doubling its acreage to 70 acres.
Currently, the lavender bushes are dormant but come the spring and summer, Sawyer says the fields will be purple in bloom.
You can buy Appalachian Botanical Products here.
You can inquire about a seasonal job with the company by contacting Jeanne Eary at firstname.lastname@example.org