Lavender by the Bay‘s popular fields of purple blooms that typically draw huge crowds beginning in June will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.
“We were just concerned that we would not be able to ensure the safety of the visitors, our staff and the community if we continue to have the field open this summer,” said Lavender by the Bay vice president Chanan Rozenbaum.
The 17-acre property in East Marion and 30-acre property in Calverton enter full bloom in June and July and is the busiest time, Mr. Rozenbaum said.
“I hope that we can weather the storm,” he said. “The lavender is going to bloom regardless of the pandemic. So, we still have to keep on trucking and doing what we normally do. It’s just we can’t open the fields.”
Since first opening in 2002, Lavender by the Bay has relied heavily on the summer season to bring in tourists — particularly Asian-Americans after the release of 2001 Hong Kong romance “Lavender,” which has contributed to the flower’s popularity. The business opened a second location in 2019 in Calverton to quell traffic concerns of East Marion and Orient locals as their East Marion location grew in recognition. While both of their locations’ fields are closed, they will remain open for curbside pickup of their lavender products.
“Online sales have gone up, so that’s helped, and we will continue to do curbside sales, but obviously it’s not the same as allowing everyone to come into the store,” Mr. Rozenbaum said. “While it’s gonna be a substantial financial hit for us, this was really the right thing to do.”
The cancellations of many farmers markets has also led to a financial hit. But Mr. Rozenbaum said the biggest concern was about their ability to keep everything sanitized, which led to the decision to close.
“Even using the bathrooms — how can we ensure that it’s sanitized after every use?” he said. “It’s just really not feasible on such a grand scale.”
If Mr. Rozenbaum sees a significant change in the conditions and feels that everyone at the farm could be safe while opening the fields, things could change.
“I want nothing more than to be able to offer the beauty and serene vibes of our fields to the public. I’m sure everyone could use it right now,” he said. “But I want to get the word out now. The last thing that I want is for someone to drive three to four hours to the farm and see that the fields are closed.”