Along the scenic eastward stretch of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod peninsula, rows of lavender color the landscape of Cynthia and Matthew Sutphin’s farm—the plants’ pungent purple stalks rippling in the breeze, releasing a fragrance that soothes the soul.
If scent is the most powerful conjurer of memory, many of us could transport ourselves to the French countryside of Provence during peak season on Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Heady with the aroma of one of the Mediterranean’s most ubiquitous herbs, the 20-acre farm in Harwich, Massachusetts, is nothing short of a dream come to fruition for owners Cynthia and Matthew Sutphin, now embarking on their sixteenth growing season. What began as a small experiment with four hundred lavender plants quickly has blossomed into 14,000 plants and a thriving industry for the couple and Cynthia’s four children. “The kids were able to be a part of the farm as they were growing up,” says Cynthia, “and although three of them now live off the Cape, my youngest, Anna, runs the shop for me. Working together is truly a gift.” An avid gardener who was attracted to lavender for its therapeutic qualities, versatility, and sensory appeal, Cynthia researched various types before determining which ones would be hardy enough for the region. “Even though I was discouraged by plant scientists,” she says, laughing at the memory, “I knew I could create the right conditions, so I wasn’t going to give up the opportunity.”
With plenty of full sun, sweet soil, and good drainage, the Sutphins have undoubtedly been able to grow several kinds of English lavender that have continually managed to survive the area’s harsh winters. In early summer, the farm provides a breathtaking destination for tourists—many of whom return year after year to purchase plants, fresh and dried lavender, and an array of scented products. “Lavender is beautiful to look at, wonderful to smell, and delectable to eat,” says Cynthia, who considers herself tremendously fortunate to be able to share the gifts of her property with the public. “Cape Cod Lavender Farm has fed my inner need to be close to the land and has afforded me the chance to work in my backyard while raising my children.”
Text Jeanne de Lathouder
Photography Kate Sears
To learn more about the Cape Cod Lavender Farm, see page 40 of the May/June 2010 issue of Victoria.
This farm looks beautiful, can’t wait to visit in the summertime when it’s all in bloom!