HERStory Series: Shana McCarter King

Thank you so much for taking the time to sit with me and allowing me to pick your brain just a little. Tell us a little bit about yourself (your background and how you landed in the world of lavender farming).

 I have taught 3rd, 4th & 6th grades at private schools, but have worked for the state of Pennsylvania for the past 19 years. I began as a human services caseworker, but for the last 14 years I have worked for the child care subsidy program. I manage Early Learning Resource Centers for the North East part of the state. I have always loved plants & gardening and wanted to find the right business for my entrepreneurial dream. My family can tell you some of my crazy business ideas. But I read about a family that retired from their lavender farm and I thought, "Lavender Farm!" I didn't even know that was a thing. I did some research for 6 months, shared the idea with Bill, visited a few farms and asked my dad if I could try it out in his field. The rest is history.

Sweet smelling history, I must say. So I am taken aback, because for as long as I have known you, I never knew that you worked for the child care subsidy program. Wow! It makes since as to why we clicked on such a deep level, as I worked in the education field for over 10 years myself. Wildwood Lavender Farm, one of my favorite places to visit, Tell us how you came up with the name and the inspiration behind it. 

My dad grew up in Anne Arundel county on a farmstead called Wildwood. The home burned down when his dad, stepmom & brothers were vacationing in Ocean City. They did not have cell phones at that time, so they came home to find their home gone. They rebuilt it, but my dad loved the childhood homestead so much, he named the farm on Cherry Walk Rd "Wildwood." I kept the name to honor the family farm and it reminds me of the wild woodiness of the lavender plants as they grow older. Dad was happy when he heard what I named the business.

So what would you say is the most challenging aspect of farming? 

Physically; weeding & running a rototiller. Mentally; red tape. The government regulations, forms & paperwork are not fun. But I try to stay on top of it. But the most important thing in farming is prioritizing. It's a delicate tango between a huge to-do list and the weather.

Prioritizing is extremely important when running a business, let alone farming too. What is challenging about running the business in itself?

It is a lot of physical work. We have chosen to do a majority of the work ourselves; first, out of necessity and then because we love being outdoors. Although tough, it has improved our health and we have a better understanding of our plants and fields. Second, it can be overwhelming for a new small business owner to figure out how to get started and to do things legally and properly. I have no problem sharing what we have learned with newcomers so if anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out. 

Okay, so we have touched on the challenges of running your business, but let's hear what is the most rewarding part of it for you? 

The SMELL! The first time I smelled our own lavender, it was like falling in love. Also, seeing the customers' eyes when they smell it for the first time. That never gets old.

*closed my eyes and took a deep breath* aaaahhhh I can smell it now. I remember the first time I walked out onto your field, in season. It was breathtaking. It literally felt like I took a big whiff of relaxation. Last year was your first Lavender Bloom Fest and it was such a success that you are hosting your second one again this summer. What do you have lined up for all of the lavender lovers?

Of course we will have the pick your own bundle open. We want everyone to get in the field & experience a day on the farm.

My son absolutely loves being able to pick his own lavender. He can't wait for the you pick to open back up.

We will also have: Live music, early morning yoga & a sound bath, make your own sachet and/or bath salts, geocaching, face painting, a forest play area for the little ones, distilling demonstrations, hiking trail, food trucks, vendors and 3 new classes (Tatted Lace demonstration, Aromatherapy 101 & Lavender 101).



I am excited for the Aromatherapy 101 class. I heard that the teacher is pretty amazing! *chuckles, because I am the teacher* I see that you have teamed up with Nicole Bellamy of Sandbar Yoga to do the Breathe and Bloom Series. Can you tell us more about that?



Nicole has created a lovely bouquet of relaxing classes that will start at the Bloom Festival. First an All Levels Yoga session followed by a Sound Bath next to the field. The classes will run through June to include Sound Baths on Fridays, All Levels Yoga on Saturdays & a combo Gentle Yoga/Meditation & Sound Bath on Sundays. I recommend them all, but at her sound baths you notice a quietness on the farm with the birds songs almost magnified. And you don't want to get up at the end; you feel so relaxed.



I personally have experienced a sound bath on the lavender field and there are no words to explain how you feel afterwards. You're absolutely right when you say that you won't want to get up because our bodies feel so relaxed not only from the frequencies of the sound bath, but also from the aromatic lavender fields. It definitely is one of my favorite things to do. Speaking of favorite things to do, what are some of your passions outside of farming?  

Bill; he is my love and I could not have kept the farm going without him. We enjoy hiking & have back country backpacked many of the national parks. We both prefer to be outside. I also read a lot (audible books in the field), puzzles, the beach and covet time in my hammock. I should also mention that I'm very proud of my four grown children & Bill's grown son & daughter who have given us three grandsons.



Mr.Bill is such an awesome guy. I love that he has so much knowledge and doesn't mind sharing it with others. Alright Shana, we are almost done with our interview. What is something fun about yourself or something that the readers may not know?

I was the first girl in Wicomico County (as far as I know) to play varsity soccer in 1985. I was at Mardela High School. Then, my dad wanted to try living on his sailboat and so we lived on the boat at Cedar Hill Park for 18 months. I transferred to Bennett and we stayed on the Westside.

Even though I am enjoying learning so much about you, this is our last question. In the next five years, do you have any specific goals for your business that you would like to achieve?

We want to finish the new shop & build a meditation garden labyrinth. I would also love for the business to support us enough so that I can retire a bit early from the day job. Our dream is for the farm to be self-sufficient and then be able to give back to the community. I also would love to start a helicopter pilot scholarship in my dad's name for low-income students who want to be Medevac pilots. My father was one of the first pilots in the program. 

Wow, it seems like you are going to have your hands full. Shana, thank you again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to give our readers a glimpse into your sweet smelling lavender life. We celebrate you! 


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