Meet the corporate couple who started a lavender farm in the Hunter Valley - from scratch

Originally from the Philippines, Marianne and JR had spent 15 years living and working in Sydney. Both of them had stressful and demanding corporate jobs and were looking to take the foot off the accelerator.

"We bought the property as a weekend escape," Marianne says.

"I had my second child in February 2020 and then COVID happened and we ended up staying here in the Hunter Valley. We started thinking about what to do with the place, and 14 acres is probably not the size you need if you want to make wine.

"We needed something which didn't require a lot of land, and we decided on lavender."

While on honeymoon in Provence, France, the couple had been entranced by the seemingly endless fields of purple lavender. Marianne was also a fan of lavender's therapeutic qualities.

"Personally, I use it a lot. With a corporate job there is a lot of stress and anxiety, so I was always drawn to lavender. It works for me."

The past two years have been a steep learning curve for Marianne and JR. COVID lockdowns provided the perfect opportunity for them to learn all there is to know about starting a lavender farm from scratch.

"A start-up can be as stressful as a corporate job - the buying and receiving, marketing and sales, I'm doing it all. But, even though it can be stressful, the environment I'm working in is completely different from that of the city. The lifestyle is not stressful at all."

"I wake up to the sounds of the birds and every day I walk through the fields, I smell the flowers, I see the countryside, the Brokenback Range."

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