July 25, 2018

Fresh, Fragrant, Locally Grown Lavender Is Available at Princeton Lavender Farm

LOTS OF LAVENDER: “We are very encouraged, sales are four times what they were our first year. We love to sell the lavender, and see how much people enjoy it.” Brad and Beth Smith, owners of Princeton Lavender on 3741 Lawrenceville Road, are shown by an assortment of lavender plants.

By Jean Stratton

It’s not only in the gardens of Provence or the fields of the English countryside. Lavender flourishes right here in New Jersey. Its fragrant aroma, so appealing, is a favorite, not only in its natural, fresh form, but also in soaps, lotions, and in numerous dried products.

Princeton Lavender at 3741 Lawrenceville Road opened in 2016. Owners Brad and Beth Smith purchased the eight-and-a-half-acre property, previously a horse farm, three years ago.

“The property is farm-assessed,” explains Brad Smith,“ and we decided to look into things to grow on a small farm.”

“I was always interested in lavender,” adds Beth Smith. “It’s a perennial, and it doesn’t spoil. It attracts bees and butterflies, and can be used in so many ways, including dried lavender, which is popular for wreaths, sachets, etc. It is also resistant to deer. It begins to bloom the first day of summer, and will continue to flower through September. It can be planted in spring, summer, and fall, almost year-round.”

New Adventure

Although the Smiths had no previous experience growing lavender, they were enthusiastic about this new adventure, and carefully researched the subject.

“I read four or five books, and I went to see a horticulturist who is an expert,” says Brad Smith. “Maintenance primarily involves taking care of grass and weeds. The first two years you need to water frequently until the roots are established. But the plants don’t like to be drenched, or the roots can be saturated with too much water.”

“I really admire how the plants can take care of themselves,” points out Beth Smith.

After tilling the land and preparing it, they planted an acre of small lavender plants, and customers began to arrive soon after.

“We were pleased with the response right away,” reports Brad. “It’s a great location right across from Peterson’s Nursery, and people often just stop in as they are driving past.”

Several Varieties

Several varieties of lavender are available, including Phenomenal, Super Blue, Big Time Blue, and Provence. Potted plants are sold in three sizes at the new Amish-made farm stand. Potted lavender starts at $4, fresh-cut flower bouquets at $7, dried lavender bundles from $7.50, and wreaths (made by Beth Smith) from $40.

In addition to its flourishing field of lavender, Princeton Lavender has established a series of beehives.

“Last year, we had two beehives, and now we have 12,” said the Smiths. “We now have 10,000 bees per hive, and we plan to have 60,000. Bees and lavender go together, and we hope to have lavender honey in the fall.”

This combination of lavender and bees makes a visit to Princeton Lavender very intriguing. As one customer noted, “I love lavender. it’s so therapeutic and soothing. Princeton Lavender offers reasonably-priced, fresh, local lavender. There is nothing better than great quality plants right from the farm. And then, in addition, to have the beehives right there and the honey — this is exciting!”

Field of Beauty

The Smiths are happy to offer this experience to visitors, and enjoy being part of the natural surroundings.

“I enjoy the aesthetics and creating a field of beauty,” says Brad. “I also like the chance to interact with the customers. It’s both a destination for people and a place they stop in as they’re driving by. People have also been coming back again once they find us.”

Adds Beth, “It’s been so satisfying to be part of this. Lavender is a plant that so many people love. And the different varieties can have slightly different fragrances and also mixed colors. It’s a treat for the senses! I look forward to continuing to sell the lavender and see how much people like it.”

In addition to the lavender and beehives, the Smiths also offer a newly-built loft studio, listed on AirBnB. It has been highly recommended by its many visitors, including tourists, and has been awarded “Super Host” status. “In June, we had people 29 out of 30 days,” says Brad.

To visit Princeton Lavender, it is best to call for an appointment, (973) 978-8311. Website: www.princetonlavender.com.