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Long Island's premier lavender farm readies for summer's first bloom

A bee suckling nectar from lavender flowers.

Summer is nearly here and Lavender By The Bay, a sprawling lavender farm in East Marion, NY, is preparing for this season's blooms. Bountiful fields of English and French lavender cover 17 acres of farmland on the North Fork of Long Island. As the first day of summer nears, the family-run business prepares for the first English bloom at the end of June.

Farmers stimulate the lavender's growth by trimming the plants to about 4 inches of green at the end of the growing season, usually around November or December. They tend to over 60,000 plants of English and French lavender. According to their website, Lavender By The Bay is open on the weekends during May, October, and November. The best time to visit is June through September when they are open every day for the height of the growing season. The main French bloom usually occurs in early July and lasts for a few weeks. "July is a very busy month," says a spokesperson from their main office.

Earlier this May, Lavender By The Bay completed a brand new open-air pavilion that is open to visitors. When the lavender is in bloom, visitors may pick their own bunches from the fields using a basket and sickle provided by the farm. There is an $8 fee to enter the fields. The admission fee can be redeemed towards merchandise in the gift shop. Their shop offers fresh-cut and dried bundles of lavender, as well as embroidered sachets of fragrant dried lavender, essential oils and bath soap, and even natural honey made by bees that gather nectar from the lavender flowers.

Visit their Facebook page for regular updates on bloom times and other helpful information.

Getting there

Lavender By The Bay is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm from June until September. It is easily accessible by car from New York City. The Long Island Railroad stops at a town called Greenport and from there you can take a taxi to the farm. The Hampton Jitney is also a reliable form of transport. It takes you directly to East Marion from the 86th Street departure point in Manhattan.

Can't make it to the farm this season? No worries. Lavender By The Bay also participates in GrowNYC's Greenmarket located at Union Square on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

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