French lavender is now in bloom at Lavender By the Bay, a Long Island family-owned and operated farm growing over 80,000 lavender plants across 17 acres. It's an Instagram-worthy destination for any day trip out to the North Fork with two locations, in East Marion and Calverton.
NBC New York got a first look and tour of the property just as the French lavender began to blossom this summer, a favorite time for tourists to check out the fields before harvest.
"We grow over twenty varieties of lavender on our farm, breaking it down to English and French lavender," said co-owner Chanan Rozenbaum to NBC New York.
With colors ranging from purple to pink to white, the lavender plant is famous for it's soothing fragrance not only to create essential oils, but also to help treat anxiety, stress and insomnia. The actual name originates from the Latin word "lavare" which means to wash.
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To get the best scent from the plant, press gently on the buds. French lavender has a stronger smell than its English counterpart. If interested in taste, you can even eat and cook with these flowers, which belong to the mint family.
"The beauty of lavender is that the essential oil is actually locked in the flower, so when you pinch the flower, you can really get the fragrance," said Rozenbaum.
When it comes to the growing process each season, Rozenbaum says there are 3 things necessary for a good crop: drainy soil, sun and a quick cut. Using a drip irrigation system, each plant is watered individually through pipes that run along the field rows.
The plant is mostly harvested by hand into bunches using a sickle. When collecting for essential oils, the team uses a trimmer to cut. According to Rozenbaum, English lavender blooms typically in mid-June, and French lavender blooms end of June through mid-July.
Seen fluttering throughout the fields are butterflies and bees, the latter in particular creates a second product for the farm — monofloral lavender honey.
Lavender by the Bay opens daily at 9:00 a.m. at both locations. In order to walk through the fields, reserved timed tickets are needed in advance. Entry costs $12.00 each for 90-minute time slots. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
If you are located within New York City, the farm also sells various products at Grow NYC Greenmarkets.