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The Scent of Success

Teaming With Lush life, The Lavender Farm Offers a Picturesque Oasis in the Desert

When Shelly Goodman and her husband Nick purchased and began restoring a 1984 mansion, the plan was to transform the property into the perfect venue to host events and milestone celebrations. But when that didn’t pan out as they envisioned, Shelly did what any optimistic and savvy businesswoman would do when life hands her lemons. Except in this case, instead of lemonade, she set her sights on lavender.

Last spring, the Goodmans put 500 lavender plants into the soil at Chateau de Vie, their luxury estate featuring a majestic 15,000-square-foot home surrounded by a glittering lake, two ponds, soothing streams, and endless greenery.

When these plants came to fruition, The Lavender Farm was officially born. With more than 10 acres of sprawling picturesque environs and thriving acres of crops, it is a welcome multi-sensory respite for visitors who take in the sights while inhaling the soothing bouquet created not only by lavender but hundreds of citrus trees, rose bushes, honeysuckle, and hibiscus.

“It’s an oasis in the desert,” Shelly says. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in Arizona anymore.”

Today, The Farm hosts soap- and candle-making classes using the essential oils from its crops. A roadside stand serves as a shop where guests can purchase lotions, soaps, candles, hand wash, and other products made with its products.

Reclaimed wood from orange trees that have died has been repurposed into wood chips that can be used for grilling or smoking. And later this year, the Goodmans will plant flowers and add bouquets and a floral-arranging class to their lineup.

The Farm also hosts tours of the Chateau, which helps to fund its restoration and preservation.

When the Goodmans purchased Chateau de Vie in 2010, they rescued it from foreclosure. It had fallen into disrepair and was barely a shadow of its original self. Still, they saw its innate beauty, restored it to exquisiteness, and envisioned the second life it was meant to live.

When the work was done, they wanted to introduce their gem to the world.

“The chateau itself is a work of art, and we wanted to share the beauty of the property with people,” Shelly says. "We felt this was the right direction.”

The Goodmans hosted events at the Chateau but stopped doing so in 2019. They were pondering what to do next when, inspired by successful agritourism spots like Queen Creek Olive Mill and Agritopia, they discovered lavender and made that the centerpiece of their new plan.

When it opened last fall, the bit of trepidation Shelly felt quickly evaporated.

“I hope this is going to work,” she recalls of her thoughts at the time. “But when people started coming …”

Once, Shelly was walking by a visitor strolling the grounds and telling her companion, “This place is just magical.”

At the time, Goodman was experiencing the garden variety issues that crop up with getting a new venture off the ground. Hearing this gave her a much-needed boost.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” Goodman says. “It made everything worth it knowing that so many people are coming here, loving it and appreciating the beauty like we do.”

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