Video: The story behind Lavender By the Bay

07/25/2011 8:08 AM |
East Marion

NATASHA DOMANSKI PHOTO | Lavender by the Bay in East Marion is among the North Fork's most unique businesses.

The smell of lavender in the East Marion air comes from nowhere else but Lavender By the Bay, Serge and Susan Rozenbaum’s 17-acre niche farm nestled off Sound Avenue.

The Rozenbaums have been growing English and French lavender for nearly 20 years; first on a table in their front yard in Southold and now in the breathtaking fields they call their second home.

“We had guests coming out to our home on the weekends and we would hand them a pair of scissors and say, ‘Here cut, please take home as much as you want,’” Ms. Rozenbaum recalled in a recent interview. “We quickly realized we had more than we could give away and use in the house, so we decided we were going to put a little stand at the end of the driveway. We put some of our bunches out and soon there was money there for whatever we put out.”

Ms. Rozenbaum credits this niche farming style to the fact that her husband was born and raised in France with lavender flowing through his blood.

“In France, everyone grows lavender,” Mr. Rozenbaum said.”It is good for the body, for the mind and it’s good for us.”

Mr. Rozenbaum also keeps bees on the property for making honey with the lavender, something he calls a natural taste-changer.

Lavender By the Bay receives many visitors throughout the week with frequent requests for wedding photos on the premises and as well as more honey for purchase. They welcome both and plan to expand those aspects of their farm in the future.

“We’d like to expand,” Mr. Rozenbaum said. “Because the good thing about lavender is you can harvest in a week or two, but then you dry it out and it lasts forever”.

The Rozenbaums have planted 20 varieties of lavender, yielding over 50,000 plants for cultivation. The lavender house in front of the farm holds all the Rozenbaums’ products from the dried lavender to lavender soap and even lavender cookbooks. They also offer seasonal fresh cut bunches, dried lavender, lavender plants, lavender sachets and crafts.

Many guests walk around sampling the products, finding they can’t go home empty-handed.

Talia Fuller of Central Islip said she trekked out to East Marion for the second time this summer looking for Lavender By the Bay and was pleased she found it this time around.

“I’ve been trying to come out here for awhile,” Ms. Fuller said. “It really is wonderful. All natural is really my thing”.

The Rozenbaums sell all their products in-house and sell dried lavender and satchets on their website, lavenderbythebay.com. They also sell their products at markets in New York City.

The farm is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the end of September, when they have completely harvested their fields.

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