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Lavender Legacy: Fourth generation sister act brings family farm to BMO, where business blooms

October 23, 2023 | Customers, Financial inclusion

Nestled in the heart of the rolling hills of Norfolk County, Ontario, Apple Hill Lavender Farm is a multigenerational family legacy that has been carefully nurtured for over a century. Dating back to 1906, this family farm has stood the test of time, evolving from apple orchards to a lush oasis of lavender and medicinal herbs sprawling across 50 acres. Today, the farm is under the skilled hands of the fourth generation of Schooleys, sisters Melissa and Jennifer, who are helping the family business continue to bloom. 

With a vision deeply rooted in sustainability, community and environmental well-being, Melissa and Jennifer are committed to not only preserving the heritage of Apple Hill Lavender, but also shaping its future. Their passion for the land is evident in every aspect of the farm’s operations. They are dedicated to environmental stewardship and the welfare of their workers, and they incorporate education and science into their growing and manufacturing practices. 

After growing up on the farm, both sisters explored their own passions with Melissa having a flourishing career as a professional potter and Jennifer doing meaningful work in children’s mental health. As they watched their parents age and saw the impact the global pandemic had on their health and well-being, the sisters decided it was their turn to lead. They joined forces to run the family farm both creatively and the business side. Once the sisters saw how frustrated their parents had been with their bank, they decided to find a bank where they felt more appreciated. They met with Austin Janzen at BMO – and started a new banking relationship that flourished.  

“He was as excited as we were about what we were doing on the farm.”

– Jennifer Schooley
Apple Hill Lavender Farm

With their dedication to both tradition and innovation, the Schooley sisters are the driving force behind the continued success of Apple Hill Lavender Farm. As they steer the farm into the future, they remain true to the values and legacy that have defined this family business for over a century. It’s a testament to their unwavering commitment to the environment, their community – and the soothing beauty and scent of lavender, which continues to blossom on the fertile grounds of Norfolk County, Ontario where agritourists and day-trippers visit frequently. 

“We develop the farm growing forward, so that it sort of builds the scaffolding to hold its own for future generations.”

– Jennifer Schooley
Apple Hill Lavender Farm

In this feature, a beautiful multi-generational family farm flourishes as the fourth generation takes over and brings their business to BMO – where the passion, creativity and solid banking relationship can thrive and help the farm continue to grow. 

Stories of Progress: Apple Hill Lavender Farm

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