I love getting outside during the summer – living in Central New York, where it’s cold for a majority of the year – the summer months are a breath of fresh air and I really make an effort to soak in every warm moment. This summer, with the Novel Coronavirus sending us scattering, looking for safe, socially-distant activities to fill our time, I’ve been especially keen on the great outdoors.
For this weekend’s outdoor entertainment, my husband and I decided to pop up the road to his mother and step-father’s home, where their lavender farm is currently in its peak season.
The field is dubbed Hillcrest Lavender Farm and is a privately-owned business, located in Central New York, in the small town of Sherburne. From late June to mid-July, the Farm offers U-pick sessions, allowing visitors to visit their website (you can check it out here!) and book appointments for private picking sessions.
The Lavender-Picking Experience
Have you ever picked fresh lavender? I hadn’t until last summer. But I should tell you – it’s an experience everyone should have. The scent of the lavender while picking is truly intoxicating and automatically puts you in a peaceful state of mind. While you’re picking, you can forget that you’re in a field in Central New York and pretend that you’re vacationing in the French countryside. So hygge!
Not sure how much to pick? When picking, the farm will provide you with a twist tie that allows you to bunch the lavender stems together and pay by the bunch. The farm also has pre-picked bunches for sale for those who are on a bit of a time crunch.
New to the retail scene this year are also bags of lavender sugar (yes, this lavender is culinary!) and small flasks of lavender, perfect for keeping with you on the go (think of it as eco-friendly perfume).
What Do I Do With Fresh Lavender?
A few years ago, I would have asked myself the same question. But being related to lavender farmers has inevitably opened my eyes a bit to the uses and benefits of this heavenly perennial plant. Here are a few ideas:
- Throw it in a vase and add some water. Voila! You’re done. Sit back and enjoy the aroma of the lavender bouquet filling your home.
- Dry it. Tie the lavender in bunches and hang it in a cool, dry place (I dry mine in our front closet). Drying the lavender allows for the oils in the plant to seep down into the buds. Once dried, you can keep the lavender throughout your home, pinching the buds whenever they start to lose their scent – I love leaving a few sprigs in our guest room to help elevate the space! You can also get crafty and use the buds to make sachets.
- Cook with it. Not all lavender is safe to eat – but the lavender at Hillcrest Lavender Farm is! A quick Google search will show you a variety of recipes you can try, using either fresh or dried lavender. Popular culinary picks include lemonade, scones and cookies.
Book an Appointment!
If you live in the CNY area, a visit to the lavender farm is an enjoyable outing for families and individuals alike. While you’re in the town of Sherburne, you might also consider stopping by Bullthistle Brewing Co. for a freshly-brewed pint or taking a walk at Roger’s Environmental Education Center.
To book a U-Pick appointment or learn more about Hillcrest Lavender Field, click on the button below!