On a sunny day in June, a friend came out from up the island to visit and go to the lavender farm, “Lavender by the Bay” in East Marion. Although they have been there for 15 years and I have a keen interest in herbs, I have never visited. I was very happy I went. They now have a barn that houses all things lavender and a few things honey. You can cut your own, or buy what has already been cut, fresh or dried. We came too early in the season to cut our own, and too early for their famous lavender honey. But it was still a treat, to see and smell those over 50,000 plants and twenty varieties of lavender across ten acres of farmland. They offered for sale all sorts of bath and body products, domestic and imported, soaps, soaks, salts, essential oils, sachets, sprays and even edible treats, not to mention their lavender honey which is in high demand. Owner and “farmer” Serge Rozenbaum and his wife Susan were patient, gracious and informative, giving advice on how to grow lavender and cultivation tips (at the time they were offering many varieties in many different sizes for sale.) Just like the gardens at Andrew’s Legacy, the warm weather has pushed up the bloom times on many plants, and Lavender by the Bay is saying they have peaked a little early, so if you want to pick and see the fields in bloom, hurry out.
The farm is open 7 days a week, 9am-5pm through the end of Sept. A week later, some friends from work told me they were going to visit the farm. I told them to stop by for a visit, and in commemoration of their lavender farm visit, I offered them home made Lavender Honey sorbet. Although reluctant to try it, they found it refreshing and delicately delicious. I like the subtlety of this recipe, the tastes are not overwhelming.
Lavender Honey Sorbet
6 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons fresh Lavender
3 tablespoons Honey
1 cup sugar
(Optional: 2 teaspoons vodka- this keeps the sorbet from freezing to hard if that is a problem in your freezer)
Boil sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Chop lavender fine and add to boiling sugar water with honey. Turn off heat, let cool and hour or two. Put in refrigerator until cold (8 hours or more). Run mixture through a sieve to remove lavender bits, put in ice cream maker for time recommended for type used. Red and blue food color can be mixed to create a lavender color; otherwise it will be a very pale gray. The color will make it look more attractive. Serve with mint sprig and lavender blossoms.
Here is a row of lavender that is starting to bloom on the farm. Even when the flowers are not fully open, the color and effect is intense.
Close-up of a pile of harvested lavender. If the color could convey the scent, you would see how good this smells!
Inside the barn, the harvested lavender hangs below the rafters. Hanging high in a drafty barn in the summer is the perfect place for herbs to dry.
Here is one of the many beehives in the field that produces the honey that is sold in the barn.
This is the Lavender-Honey sorbet from the recipe above. Served with a sprig of mint and lavender flowers from the garden in an antique bowl and saucer.
This is the lavender grown in the herb garden at Andrew’s Legacy. Not anywhere’s near as vast as the Lavender by the Bay, but several varieties are represented. The English lavenders, Munstead, Hidcote and Angustifolia are in the front, the French Lavenders, Grosso and Provence in the back.