I was at Bleu Lavande, the largest lavender farm in Canada (and the second largest lavender farm in North America). Located in the Eastern Townships' area of Fitch Bay, south of Magog, the fields were at their peak when I visited last summer.
It was a heatwave at the time in Quebec, the unrelenting heat and humidity pushing the thermostat to 40C, but seeing the rows of blue purple flowers erased my fixation on the strong summer sun.
Bleu Lavande opened its doors to the public in 2004, showcasing its fields, teaching visitors about lavender, sharing the history of the farm's development and selling lavender-infused items at its boutique. In its first season, 30,000 people came to see the hundreds of rows of blue-purple flowers.
Now welcoming 200,000 visitors each summer, Bleu Lavande has become a well-known name across Canada, with its products found in shops, department stores and now in its own Bleu Lavande boutiques.
Bleu Lavande grows two varieties of lavender – English lavender and Munstead lavender. The difference: English lavender is inedible, while Munstead is edible. The farm focuses more hectares on Munstead, which is used in the majority of its products and because it's a heartier plant to withstand a Quebec winter.
The fields are filled with straight rows of the low-growing floral bushes - bright clumps of purple that were exuding a gentle scent, a bit more potent than usual thanks to the unrelenting heat of the day.
In my mind's eye, I thought about running down the rows, breathing in the sweet fragrance, as if I was acting in a perfume commercial - a carefree gesture to show my joy of its effects. But it was too hot for such fantasy. I could sit in the shade, admire the beauty of the lavender fields and perhaps indulge in the local specialty, lavender creme brulee, and still feel the happiness that lavender created within me.
From lavender sachets and soap to baby items and salad dressing, Bleu Lavande's boutique has a wide variety of products, which are free of articial ingredients and made with organic lavender extract grown right here.
But visitors can also experience a garden centre, cafe, an outdoor massage and picnic areas for those who want to enjoy the fields after a tour.
It’s a relaxing place and if you're lucky, owners Pierre Pellerin and his wife Christine Deschesnes will be wandering around, happily speaking with visitors. The owners are proud to show off their labour of love for the little blue purple flowers, and encourage everyone to stop, take a deep breath and relax.
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I'm a Toronto-based freelance journalist, writing about travel, design, cuisine and people who are passionate about what they create. I’ve written for newspaper, magazine, websites and blogs since 2000, love taking photos and happy to share what I've found wandering our planet.
Located: Toronto Canada
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