NFL linebacker to small town lavender farmer

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Ever wonder what football players do after leaving the National Football League?

Former 49er and two-time Super Bowl champ Danny Bunz has been a restaurant owner in his hometown of Roseville, a football coach at Sierra College, a trainer/owner at an athletic-training facility in Rocklin, an entrepreneur and a long-time P.E. and special education teacher at a Sacramento middle school.

Now, Bunz adds lavender farmer to his career rap sheet.

 With his wife, Elizabeth and their two daughters, Ashley and Courtney, Bunz has developed their 13.5-acre family farm on the border of rural Lincoln and Auburn for 26 years.

The Bunzs purchased the property in 1987.

“When we bought the land all those years ago, it was just a large, star-thistle-filled cow pasture dotted with a few oak trees and a small swamp in the center,” Bunz said.

The family of four has worked hard to make the family property what it is today, “our little slice of heaven,” said daughter Courtney.

 Recently, the family enhanced the beauty of their property by adding a fragrant half-acre field of lavender.

“This property has essentially been our life’s work,” Elizabeth Bunz said. “This is where we raised our girls and it’s where we’ve enjoyed the best of times and where we’ve pulled together in hard times. This farm has collected so much of our blood, sweat and tears but it has always been a labor of love.”

 In 2011, an anniversary trip to France inspired the husband and wife to copy the lavender fields of Provence. Back home, the family quickly put their entrepreneurial minds to work and the idea of a lavender farm business was born.

 A year later, the couple attended the Lavender Grower’s Conference in Sequim, Wash. where they attended seminars and toured many successful lavender farms in the area.

Field preparation immediately started in a former horse pasture along the front of the family’s property. Then, in fall 2012, the Bunzs completed the back-breaking task of planting more than 700 lavender plants.

 Located along the Placer County Wine Trail, amongst many award- winning boutique wineries and near Hidden Falls Regional Park, Bywater Hollow Lavender Farm offers visitors added value to their leisure activities in the Placer County countryside. Visitors can enjoy the “U- Pick” experience, look in the farm shop and taste fresh lavender treats.


The Bunz Family farm opened June 20 and continues through August.  The lavender field and farm shop is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as from 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays for the bicyclists who ride on Mount Vernon Road. 

The Bunzs have also been selling their homemade lavender products through word-of-mouth and via The farm offers a back-drop for photographers capturing engagement, wedding and family photos. Appointments can be made at