For our September spotlight, we spoke with Missy Biagiotti, co-owner of the Lavender Fields at Pumpkin Blossom Farm.
Visiting Pumpkin Blossom Farm is like stepping into a Monet painting. The New Hampshire-based farm provides a serene and picturesque landscape to explore its lavender fields, pick lavender, attend lavender-inspired events, and so much more.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do and offer?
We are a small, but growing family-run lavender farm. We are the largest in New Hampshire, with a little over 6,000 plants right now on our 14-acre farm. We opened our farm to the public for the first time during the COVID summer of 2020. It was well-received, as it gave people an opportunity to be outside and find peace.
We sell lavender straight from the fields with a pick-your-own event during our harvest. We also sell dry lavender and lavender products and host lavender-inspired experiences for guests.
What made you decide to start Pumpkin Blossom Farm?
It was a number of things—I don’t think there’s one thing I can point to. We lived in Florida for a number of years (my husband is a Florida native), but we knew we always wanted to be New Englanders to raise our kids.
We bought this property in 2007 and used it as a vacation rental for a long time. Renters came and went for 12 years. In 2016, we moved here full-time, and I knew I wanted to do something special with the property.
A number of things pushed me in the direction of starting the business: I was always looking for ways for my kids to connect with nature, and I wanted a family venture. We had a number of ideas, but it wasn’t until around the time my sister was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago that this idea was born.
We spent time at the healing garden for cancer treatment patients to find reprieve and peace. In talking with my sister, we were looking for things like that—someplace to give people a place of solace to come and enjoy nature. There was not much she could do physically, and when I looked up retreats, they were really costly and hundreds of miles away. I wanted to create the type of atmosphere like where I was looking to take my sister.
So, I had that lightning bolt moment in the middle of the night that this was what it was going to be.
I love our property, lavender, and including family and friends. The lavender fields incorporate the peace I find in nature, so it’s really sort of a lifestyle rather than just a job.
What’s your favorite part of running your own business?
I’ve run my own business for as long as I can remember. I was in real estate as an agent and broker for many years. The thing I love the most about owning a business is that my husband and I rarely miss anything that has to do with kids; I’m able to stop what I’m doing and focus on family. We have the flexibility to have the kind of family environment that we wanted, where we’re all here, working together.
This generally means it’s a 24/7 day. It all blends together; there’s not much separation between work and home. But at the same time, we don’t miss anything.
What are some of the biggest challenges of running your own business?
I think the first one for me is not having enough time in the day to keep up with all of the ideas swirling around in my head, trying to prioritize what is important and what I need to do. I have a huge vision for the farm and for where we want this to go. The important thing is taking a little bit day by day, with the big picture in mind, but focusing on the steps to take to get there.
The second challenge is a day-to-day challenge (which Patriot has helped with a bit): The accounting portion of it. It’s a bear, a nightmare. We are learning those things as we go: staffing, payroll taxes, licensing, accounting. I think on a day-to-day basis, it’s a challenge that we sort of brushed under the carpet for a while, so it’s something we’re going to spend more time focusing on to grow and not waste time on it later on.
How does Patriot’s Basic Payroll & Accounting Premium help you run your business?
So, we have sort of a unique staffing situation where we really ramp up and have quite a number of kids here working in the summer, volunteers, and friends who come. It did get a little chaotic, so we had to dedicate staff to the farm this year during the harvest. Staffing was a big first for us this year.
I researched dozens of payroll services, including someone here locally in town who came highly recommended, and I still for some reason kept going back to Patriot. Patriot was recommended to me by an accountant in town who was so busy with local clients that she was doing bookkeeping for as well. She didn’t have time, so she said, Let me suggest some of the things online you can go to.
Patriot was one I didn’t see in my research, so when she pointed it out to me and said, Hey, this is one I’ve heard from customers say is intuitive, simple to operate, and walks you through the process, I signed up.
I think I did a trial, and it was very intuitive, very easy, and felt like someone was hand-holding me through the process. It asked all the questions as I went along, then provided the options and walked me through the whole process.
From there, running payroll and reports could not have been easier. We have everyone on direct deposit, so I don’t have to write out checks.
When it comes to your business, what are you most proud of?
This one makes me kind of emotional; I am most proud of the way people feel when they’re here. We have a lot of guests who come here that are seeking something, whether peace or stress relief, and seem to find it here. They are appreciative of us opening our home and farm to them.
So, I would say I am most proud of the way we make people feel when they’re here. They are welcomed, aa a guest of our home, rather than a patron at a business.
What words of advice do you have for people hoping to start their own business?
I would say just start somewhere. And, dedicate a little time to it every day. I think people dream of something big (like we do), of the big picture, which is overwhelming.
But if you take it and just try to do something to work in the direction of that dream every day, eventually you’ll look back and be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. You just have to do something to work toward it every day.
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