Mulberry Lavender Farm is a working farm located an hour and a half south of Nashville in beautiful Mulberry, Tennessee. Ting keeps Mulberry Lavender Farm connected with a fresh approach to mobile for business. We got to chat with owner Anita Scheelings about the farm and how she and her husband Bob are carving out a name for themselves as a sustainable, ethical source for farm fresh goods.
Promoting health, relaxation and bio-integration
Anita and Bob had a lavender farm in Arizona for ten years before they decided to pick up and move their entire operation to Tennessee. The move was based on a few different needs. For one thing, Anita and Bob’s lavender needed greater biodiversity to thrive. They also wanted more pasture space to raise their Navajo Churro sheep, and had dreams of operating a bed and breakfast.
“Everybody is in need of relaxation,” explains Anita. “Our lavender, the location, the farm and the bed and breakfast, they all promote relaxation. Your health is the most important thing. We like to support that in providing really good and healthy products.”
The Scheelings moved to Mulberry in 2016 and have been working the new farm and bed and breakfast ever since. The farmhouse and bed and breakfast are situated in a historical building from 1860. Mulberry Lavender is a completely GMO-free, organic and bio-integrated farm. Every living thing on the farm serves a purpose and contributes to the whole.
The Navajo Churro sheep keep the lavender free of weeds and tame the pastures and fields. The chickens eat bugs and act as natural pest control, while producing organic eggs. Anita is a beekeeper and her bees help pollinate the plant life and make fabulous honey. The farm is Animal Welfare Approved and a member of the United States Lavender Growers Association.
“We provide people with peace of mind. Everything we sell on the farm and at markets is good and nobody has to worry about a thing. That’s right down to the breakfast we serve when you stay here.”
Anita and her husband are passionate about their work, and are advocates for sustainable, local farming. Lavender is a highly popular product and can be used for its aroma, therapeutic applications and as a unique flavor in cooking. In the United States, the majority of lavender is imported from farms abroad.
“You really have to be careful about what you buy. Luckily there’s a national growers association and it helps us build awareness for people. When you know your farmer, then you know where your food is coming from.”
Ting loves farmers
Communication is important for any business, but mobile plays an important role in the day-to-day operations of Mulberry Lavender Farm.
“We’re in a rural area and cell phones are crucial so people can reach me at any time. Our cell phones are for everything – calls, text messages, updates to social media and monitoring our email. At the farmers market we run Square off our phones for our sales, and we use our phones to create hotspots for our tablets.”
Anita and Bob have three phones on their Ting account. They share usage and monitor data using the Ting app and dashboard. Every month is different, depending on what local events and markets they participate in. Some months are busier for the Bed and Breakfast bookings, too.
Anita and Bob found switching to Ting easy and the change didn’t get in the way of their business operations. “Ting allowed me to carry old numbers over that we had for many years. That was a huge benefit. It was really easy to do and I didn’t have to update our contact information for all the different programs, businesses and events we deal with.”
Anita and Bob love Ting’s pay for what you use model as an alternative to an expensive unlimited phone plan. “We like Ting because they’re the little guy. Everything is so monopolized by the big guys. And we’re little, so we like that. It’s kind of in line with our ideas about social justice.”
Guests and tourists visiting the area can reach Anita and Bob easily over the phone, text or by email. It also helps them stay connected to their family and friends who live abroad. Bob is a bronze sculpture artist and does foundry work for other artists. Many of these communications take place over long-distance calls.
“We make a lot of international calls and they’re not any more expensive than local calls. We have lots of relatives and friends in other countries and we call them a lot. The rates are definitely better than most long distance options.”
Mulberry Lavender has grown and earned a reputation for their exceptional products and sustainable model. Now they’ve moved into the business of consulting and helping other farmers get started in lavender.
“People come to us for advice. We made lots of mistakes and I’m sure we’ll make some more, but we kept at it and learned a lot. Now we’re providing that knowledge as a service.”
Ting is proud to be a part of Mulberry Lavender Farm’s story. This self-sufficient farm offers some truly amazing, one of a kind goods and services. At Ting, we like to think that the little guy can make a big difference.
“Sometimes you think, Oh wow we’re really doing it. We moved a farm over 2,000 miles with all the animals and even a whole bunch of our plants. We persisted.”