A happy coincidence has the potential to completely change your life. For Jan and Stuart Abernethy, that’s exactly what happened when they started their journey to self-sufficiency.

The couple wanted a plot of land that was big enough to grow their own vegetables, fruit and meat, and was close to the train station so Stuart could commute to Wellington every day.

When they stumbled across a Carterton property that had a newly-planted lavender field, Jan knew she had to have it. “As soon as I saw the ad, I just knew we had to have a look,” says Jan. “I don’t know why – I knew nothing about lavender – but we loved the house and everything about it. We put in an offer and got it!”

After a year and with help from the NZ Lavender Growers’ Association, Jan and Stuart produced their first batch of lavender oil.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” says Jan. “We took our first sniff and it was just amazing to think it had come from our lavender farm.”

The rest of Lavender Abbey’s history is, well, history. Jan started creating lavender products including lip balm, soap and hand cream. In 2011, they opened their field up for pick-your-own lavender. A couple of hundred people over a couple of weekends quickly blossomed into a couple of thousand.

Jan and Stuart now sell around 20 homegrown and handcrafted products on their website. They also attend around 30 markets in the lower North Island, between September and March every year.

“FMG customised a policy to suit us and our lifestyle block, rather than sledge-hammering a bunch of policies into one,”

With so much going on at home, it’s important that the Abernethys have the right insurance to cover any kind of scenario. FMG covers every corner of their property and business, from home, contents and vehicles, to fences and sheds, to travelling to markets, right through to having visitors on their property during pick-your-own events.

“FMG customised a policy to suit us and our lifestyle block, rather than sledge-hammering a bunch of policies into one,” says Stuart.

“A few weeks ago, we sat on the phone with our adviser to update our policy and ran through some scenarios that could potentially happen on the farm. We ended up saving a reasonable amount of money while making sure we still had everything covered.

“We love that we can contact the same person when we want to discuss our policy, rather than a call centre where we’d have to talk to someone new every time. Knowing that FMG is based in New Zealand and serves New Zealand is really reassuring. They just get us.”

Visit lavenderabbey.co.nz

Credit: Stuff Ltd