Local lavender farm offers ‘calming’ refuge during COVID-19 pandemic


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A local lavender farm is providing a “calming” refugee for Hampton Roads residents amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweethaven Lavender Farm opened last June and recently reopened its farm to the public for its bloom season.

“Our goal in everything we do is to have a place to make memories and that they will leave revived, refreshed and calm,” said Kerry Messer, who is the owner.

Messer says they’ve been busy since opening this year and all the time slots for people to come and pick out their own lavender have filled up.

The 134-acre farm is a place to get outside and enjoy not only the smells of lavender, but the taste of it.

“We have ice cream available. We have lavender flavored beverages available. We have lavender candy, things you can take home,” she said. “We want it to be an all-encompassing experience so when people leave, they have just put the last two months of stress behind them.”

Before COVID-19 shut things down, Messer says they were getting ready for their annual lavender festival in June.

Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the event, which included a petting zoo, craft show and antique car show.

Sweethaven was preparing for that again this year by creating thousands of skincare products to be sold.

But, like other events this year, it was canceled.

Messer says she came up with a way to still do business but also help healthcare workers, who have to constantly wash their hands.

“I stood in our stock room surrounded by all this great stuff that’s really healing saying ‘I wish I could get their hands on it.’ But being our first year in business, we weren’t in the position to wholesale and give it away. ” she said. “Then I thought ‘You know what, we have really generous customers.’ They are so kind-hearted. Half of our sales are gift-giving.”

“Skincare for the Courageous” was a hit.

“Through the generosity of our customers, we were able to provide skincare products to over 400 hospital employees. So, two hospitals in Williamsburg, one in Newport News and one in Norfolk that represented over $8,000 worth of skincare products,” she said.

Customers can still buy “Skincare for the Courageous.” Messer says they will focus on now giving them to assisted living facility workers.

If you would like to visit the farm, it is open until the first week of July.

Messer says they worked with the Department of Agriculture to make sure they are following social distancing guidelines.

Only 10 people can be in a field at a time and their rows of lavender are about 6 feet from each other.

To visit, you must sign up for a time slot at their website.

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