Bates Lavender Farm is a secluded rest stop and a must visit for anyone going to the Columbia River Gorge. —Angel Rosas, Gresham Outlook, Aug. 9th, 2022.
Tucked away on the winding roads of Corbett is a 1-acre plot of land completely dedicated to the sweet smell and purple hue of lavender. Bates Lavender Farm, 33601 E. Bell Road, is a family-owned farm run by Kevin and Ginger Bates.
The small business started in 2017 and sells many homemade lavender products, honey and -- when the lavender is in bloom -- allows visitors to pick their own lavender.
The land was settled by Kevin's great-great-grandfather in 1888. While his ancestor used the land primarily for food he and his family could sell and eat, Kevin and Ginger have dedicated it to growing lavender.
"We bought the house and the land from my dad in 2004. It was owned by my grandma and my dad grew up on the property," Kevin said. So, Kevin and Ginger moved to the house where they raised their family.
After some time, the couple started thinking of long-term plans for the land and what they might want to do after they retired. It was Ginger who suggested lavender, and after their kids graduated from high school, the couple decided to clear a plot of their land to start growing. Kevin, a graphic designer, designed the lavender field to be pleasing to the eye as opposed to growing the most lavender. The two started clearing the field in 2016 and added sections of lavender every year.
"It isn't a production field. It isn't a field that you would bring equipment to collect the lavender," Kevin said. "It is more of a field where people can come and enjoy, like a park."
The main concept of the physical farm is to be a haven of relaxation. Kevin and Ginger hoped people would come by to enjoy a break from their outdoor excursion, buy a few of their products and maybe pick some of the 13 varieties of lavender the farm has to offer.
The different lavender species were chosen so they wouldn't bloom all at once. The lavender's staggered blooming times allows the farm a longer season.
Now, nearly seven years in, Kevin said the farm gets a lot of people traveling through to the Columbia River Gorge. "A lot of people just find us by accident," Kevin said. "We love people coming over just to hang out under the trees, bring their lunches -- and some of them buy our products."
Bates Farms also has a lot of products made from the lavender grown on the farm, including bath oils, food spices, eye pillows, bulk lavender and soaps, to name a few.
While the farm will always sell its products online, the farm and the farm stand are only open during the summer months, which is roughly from the second week of June to the middle of September.