Blue Spring Run Farm
Debrena & John Gordon
For John and Debrena Gordon, farming was a practical decision. They began growing, baking, and preserving to put food on the table and feed their then young daughters. As their daughters grew so did the farm, each family member bringing their own interests into the mix.
“Some of them loved being outdoors and working with the animals that have come and gone over the years. Some of them became very involved with the garden and have spent hours looking at seed catalogs and doing research to find just the right variety of seed,” Debrena explained. “They have done everything from growing pumpkins and tomatoes to raising chickens, cows and bunnies. When they were old enough to go to summer camp
they planted extra in the garden to sell at the
farmers market so they had the money to go.”
While currently specializing in Lavender, the family farm has evolved from a vegetable farm, to an agritourism venue with plantings of herbs and flowering perennials as bee forage for their honey operation. For Blue Run Spring Farm, this has meant a variety of products at their market table over the years; generally, you will always find their table overflowing with a variety of vegetables, herbs, and wildflowers. “If it grows, we grow it!” Debrena laughed, “Just depends on what mood we’re in.”
In the 2017 season, they harvested over 2,300 bunches of lavender from the “Lavender Patch” which was available for sale in bulk, bunches and sachets. In addition, Debrena prepares homemade baked goods and value-added products like jams, candles, lotions, artisan soaps, and bath and body products, all of which are available at The Shop located on the farm.
At just over 30 acres, the farm is located south of Covington, Virginia in Alleghany County. The Blue Spring Run, for which the farm is named, flows through the farm’s fields.
The shop on their farm is featured on the Artisans Center of Virginia Artisan Trail with products available at other sites as well, such as Mountain Crafter in Paint Bank and The Craft Shops of Covington, in addition to regional artisan events.
The Gordons are also expanding offerings at their farm to include a variety of tours, classes, and workshops centered-around gardening, cooking, making soaps, lotions, and bath and body products. They are constantly working to expand their product line and wholesale many of their products.
Debrena has been a Master Gardener since 2009 and is also the mother of six home schooled girls who are now through college and out on their own. As a member of the US Lavender Growers Association she sits on the PR and Communication Committee. She has provided hands on opportunities, such as lavender soap making, for students of the Green Mining Project, in Charleston, WV. These teachings are a component of the value added products division of a grant funded project to train unemployed coal miners to become lavender farmers.
Debrena was instrumental in starting the Clifton Forge Farmers Market and served as the Farmers Market manager for several years. She also previously served on the Bath County Farmers’ Market management team.
As an active member of the community, she has worked with the Soil and Conservation District to create Kids Grow at the Market and to implement the Kids Grow in the Garden in Alleghany County. The primary target for both of these programs is at risk students from Head Start. These programs involved planting school vegetable gardens as well as offering an in-school cooking component. By the 3rd year a summer gardening program and after school program was added at the YMCA.