By Sara Ann Hutto Grant ’17
Photography by Craig Mahaffey ’98
With faith and tenacity, Michelle Ducworth ’00 put her family farm back to work
The Crest of the Hill. It’s a special square of land on Michelle Ducworth’s fourth-generation, 200-acre family farm. It’s the place where her father would walk after a stressful day as a trauma physician. Where he would admire the acreage in the evening light, his children following behind.
“He would go down there and hit his reset button if you will,” Ducworth remembers. “It was his time with God and country.”
The family farm looks a little different than it did then. Today, it’s the site of Twin Creeks Lavender Farm, a sea of purple that began as Ducworth’s brainchild and has become her full-blown career.
Three years ago, on the morning of Twin Creeks Lavender’s first U-Pick — an event where the community is invited to harvest their own lavender straight from the field — Ducworth drove her SUV through the Crest of the Hill, going out of her way for a special moment.
“At the top of that terrace, you can see all of the pasture — many, many, many acres,” she says. “The first day that I opened the field, I went through there just to say hey to Dad and ask him to be with us that weekend.
“It was a very emotional day, that day, because I was praying all my hard work would come to fruition.”
Ducworth wouldn’t be disappointed.
In 2015, Ducworth’s father, Lyman Ducworth Jr. ’70, passed away from cancer, and the farm’s cattle work was picked up by a neighboring farmer friend.
At the time, Ducworth was working as a Greenville, South Carolina-based surgical device rep, selling in western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Soon after her dad’s passing, Ducworth realized the farm’s old barn would need cleaning out. The prodigal daughter returned home to Williamston, South Carolina.
“You know that old saying: ‘You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl.’ It’s very true,” she says.
Ducworth grew up in the farm’s homestead, which was built in 1892, and she speaks of fond childhood memories shared with her brother, Scott:
“My dad was very busy in the ER with a pretty grueling schedule, and mom was running me and my brother all over town, being the mom with the most,” she laughs. “From horseback riding to baseball to dance. And, of course, we had our farm chores and our schoolwork to take care of.”
When Ducworth returned home to clean out the barn, she felt the familiar peace of her family’s land, and she says in that moment, she felt called to become a fourth-generation farmer. An idea began to take root.
“The farm has always been a place of peace,” she says. “I want it to be everybody else’s place of peace as well, to just come out and enjoy God’s country.”
Ducworth decided to take part of her family’s farm — 10 acres, to be exact — and make it her own. After a year of brainstorming and researching, she nixed ideas of rosemary and basil and settled instead on lavender, an herb not indigenous to the red clay of the Upstate.
“Lavender?” her brother asked, perplexed when she pitched the purple plant. Yes, lavender.
All of our family has loved your products and i have loved all my gifts!! I hope to soon come to the farm myself.
Gail in KY
Great story, love that you got back to your roots. I was friends with C.H. Ducworth when we were both at Clemson in mid-70’s. I figure he’s got to be kin to you. If he is, tell him I said hey…..hope he’s not the black sheep of the family!!!