Lavender By the Bay, an East Marion lavender farm that draws thousands of visitors each summer, is expanding to a second location in Calverton.
The farm owners are in contract to buy 30 acres of agricultural land on the northwest corner of Route 25 and Manor Road, opposite the entrance to Splish Splash, co-owner Chanan Rozenbaum said today.
Planting of a 15-acre portion of the farm is already well underway, Rozenbaum said in an interview this afternoon. It will take two seasons before the lavender will fully bloom, he said. How the site will be configured with regard to parking and any structures still isn’t worked out, Rozenbaum said.
The family-owned farm in East Marion — a 17-acre farm planted with 80,000 lavender plants, according to the company website — has a huge, predominantly Asian-American following thanks to a 2000 Hong Kong romantic movie about an aromatherapist called “Lavender.” It was written and directed by Riley Yip Kam-Hung.
Each June, when the lavender is in full bloom, throngs of visitors from New York City flock to the farm, causing major traffic jams on the narrow two-lane roadway that stretches from Greenport to Orient. The traffic has prompted complaints from residents and concerns among police and emergency personnel. Parking has also been an issue, with vehicles parking on the sides of the road, causing further congestion.
Visitors to the East Marion farm walk through the fields of lavender and can purchase cut lavender and lavender-inspired gifts at the farm store on the site.
The Calverton farm will likely provide visitors with a similar experience, Rozenbaum said.
“Everything is still very preliminary,” he said.
Rozenbaum said he hopes visitors from the city will visit the Calverton location instead of East Marion, since it is closer to New York and has better access from the expressway. A better parking situation in Calverton is planned, he said.
“When we started the farm in 2002, if anyone had told us what it would become we’d have said, ‘no way!’ It’s incredible what it has become,” Rozenbaum said.
English lavender blooms on the East Marion farm in mid-June and September. The largest bloom is the farm’s French lavender which typically blooms in early July.
Lavender is a genus of 42 species of flowering plants in the mint family. Lavender has an aromatic smell and is known for its soothing and relaxing benefits.
Lavender By the Bay sells fresh cut lavender, dried lavender, a lavender essential oil and other lavender-derived products.
“We’re excited to be coming to Calverton and excited to be planting a farm that will keep this land in agricultural production,” Rozenbaum said. “We know the visitors we’ll attract will be good for other area businesses, too, including the farm stand on the other corner of Manor Road,” Rozenbaum said.
The local community has been very welcoming, he said.
Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said today she is happy to see the land remain in active agricultural production.
Lavender By the Bay has set up a small canopy and a few tables on the Calverton land where it’s offering a sampling of the products sold at its East Marion location.Lavener