Cape Cod Lavender Farm
The farm was the brainchild of Cynthia Sutphin, whose love of gardening and desire to stay at home while her children were growing up led her to examine lavender's possibilities in the early 1990s.
Her first concern was to investigate the various lavender varieties to determine which, if any, could survive the harsh Cape Cod winters.
After early experiments with 400 plants, she found that not only did a number of varieties survive but they actually thrived in Cape Cod's sandy soil. The following spring she planted 10,000 more that her husband Matthew had given her.
In the summer of 1995, the Sutphins invited the public to attend the harvest and the Cape Cod Lavender Farm has been one of the Cape's most unique tourist attractions ever since, now attracting upwards of 10,000 visitors a year.
The farm is set on twelve acres of land in Harwich, overlooking Island Pond and is a magnet to artists, writers and photographers looking for inspiration from the fragrances and the scenery. There are trails you can walk throughout the property, and a lovely shade garden accented with “fantasy stonemason” Eddie Foisy's stone fairy castles and fairy house portals.
But the real attraction is the lavender itself. The farm shop sells a variety of products, including soap, candles, lavender-scented soy candles, and even lavender laundry detergent.
Lavender is also terrific for cooking with, as evidenced by the chocolate bars infused with lavender that are on sale there, and Sutphin's personal recommendation, a lavender-lemon marmalade, which can be served with chicken, fish, and pork , or with crackers and brie.
The best time to visit is late June through early August when the lavender is in full bloom and the air is filled with their sweet aroma. For about three weeks after the crop is harvested, fresh lavender is sold in the store. The rest is hung out to dry and sold throughout the remainder of the season.
Lavender's scent actually intensifies as the plants dry out, and the fragrance can last for many years. The buds contain an oil sac that releases an aromatic oil whenever it is touched. A sachet of dried lavender contains hundreds of sacs and required only an occasional squeeze to fill the air with scent.
The Cape Cod Lavender Farm grows about seven varieties of lavender and sells more than a dozen others that are shipped in from two nearby growers. The primary varieties are Munstead and Hidcote and, thanks to those earliest experiments in the early 1990s, Sutphin can assure her new customers that everything they sell is hardy for the Cape, the Boston area, and Connecticut.
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