As the temperatures warm up and the days get longer, the sweet smells of the local flora tickle our noses. Spending time in nature has become important now more than ever and while many of us love a good adventure like visiting a provincial park or exploring a small town, we could all stand a little more relaxation in our lives. One fantastic way to do so is by visiting a lavender farm!
Benefits of Lavender
Lavender has a number of properties that help soothe the body and mind. It’s no secret that it’s heavily utilized in aromatherapy, whether that’s through adding essential oils to an air diffuser, massage oil or in the bath. But why is lavender so popular?
Whether it’s in plant form, as an essential oil, as an addition to candles or even in capsule form, lavender has been scientifically proven to be beneficial in a number of ways!
One of the biggest is its relaxation qualities. This is due to naturally occurring chemicals like linalool, linalyl acetate and camphor4 that act as natural sedatives and anxiety reducers for the brain and nervous system. They help to reduce aggression, agitation and restlessness which helps individuals feel happier.
Individuals who utilize lavender may also sleep more soundly. As we age, our melatonin levels naturally decrease meaning we don’t sleep as well or for as long as we may have in our younger years. Aromatherapy utilizing lavender has proven to increase the natural production of melatonin to improve sleep in both older men and women.
Lavender also has flavonoids and coumarin, both of which can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Some studies have shown that the plant can help reduce headaches by inhaling the vapours from a lavender essential oil.
Did you know that lavender also has anti-fungal qualities? It’s true! In addition to acting as natural sedatives, both linalool and linalyl acetate also have disinfecting properties. These combined with the butyric and propionic acids found in lavender can kill as well as hinder fungal growth.
Also, lavender oil has been beneficial in healing wounds. Studies have shown that using it as a topical ointment can increase the body’s ability to produce collagen to aid in healing skin legions. This has also aided those dealing with eczema and acne to reduce symptoms and heal faster. As if that wasn’t enough, lavender oil can also alleviate the itchiness and swelling that comes from insect bites. It’s not as harsh as other essential oils so it can be applied directly to the skin. With all of these healing qualities, it’s no wonder lavender oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine practices for thousands of years!
On top of this, you’ve probably noticed that there has been an increase in lavender being used as an ingredient in culinary practices. Enjoying lavender-infused items such as teas for even more useful benefits! It can be enjoyed similarly to camomile tea before bed to help you have a more restful sleep. Lavender’s antifungal qualities can also promote a more healthy immune system as it contains a variety of nutrients including calcium, magnesium and vitamin C to help your body fight a plethora of infections. Not to mention those relaxation qualities can soothe the body, therefore aiding in bloating, combatting nausea, settling an upset stomach, fighting indigestion and evening decreasing the pain of menstrual cramps!
Why You Should Visit a Lavender Farm
In addition to the expansive positive qualities listed above, you’ll be tapping into the benefits that the natural world affords us by visiting a lavender farm.
Spending some quality time surrounded by greenspace, whether that be a neighbourhood park or a golf course, is shown to have a number of positive affects including increased happiness and subjective well-being. It allows people to connect with their meaning and purpose in life while decreasing mental distress that can accompany our every day lives. Think about it – when you were last out in nature, how did it make you feel about tackling that stressful work project or the voice in the back of your head doubting yourself? Chances are it calmed those fears or at least gave you a break from those feelings, allowing you to feel refreshed so you felt more secure in tackling the obstacles that lay ahead of you.
Not only this, but nature just might make us nicer as it can lead to an increase in positive social interactions. Some studies have shown that this is not just in adults but children as well! One such study found that elementary school children acted in kinder ways to their classmates as well as strangers after visiting a nature school versus an aviation museum. To add to this, findings show that children living in neighbourhoods with more greenspace were less likely to deal with depression, eating disorders and substance use.
Spending time in nature has not only proven to be relaxing but also restores one’s cognitive function. Adults who spend more time in greenspaces are shown to have an increased capability for tuning out distractions, improved concentration as well as an amplified working memory. As for children, it aids in promoting better self-control and an increased ability to regulate emotions, thoughts and behaviour.
What’s the minimum time required for someone to start noticing the benefits of being outdoors? It’s probably less than you think. Spending just 120 minutes (or two hours) a week surrounded my nature is all it takes – the perfect length for visiting a lavender farm!
This isn’t even taking into account the positive impact you’ll have by supporting a local business by visiting a lavender farm. Over 58 million Canadians are employed by a local business, meaning they account for two out of three jobs across the country! All of the lavender farms in YDH are family owned and operated so you’re supporting your friends and neighbours by visiting and purchasing your lavender-themed goods from them.
Treat yourself to a quality “me” day by visiting a lavender farm or bring along some friends and family to enjoy their company. Being surrounded by these beautiful flowers will allow you to disconnect from your everyday worries and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. If the past couple of years have shown us anything, it’s how impactful spending time in nature can be for one’s mental health and well-being. Take an afternoon and explore one of the lavender farms here in YDH to create memories that will last you a lifetime!
Lavender Farms in York Durham Headwaters
What better way to kickstart the summer than with a lavender farm visit? Plan a day trip to enjoy these gorgeous destinations in YDH.
Hereward Farms in East Garafraxa
Make your way to the Headwaters Region where you’ll find Hereward Farms. What started as a shot in the dark during lockdowns turned into the brilliant business you see today! Officially opening in 2021, visitors will find 6,000 plants on this adorable family-run farm. The best part? There’s no entry fee making this an affordable getaway that folks of all ages will adore!
Hereward Farms prides itself on its farm-to-skin philosophy as they craft luxurious lavender-infused products for your body and your home. Using only 100% natural ingredients, their natural skincare products are cruelty-free and fully Canadian-made! Pop by the Lavender Lounge + Boutique during your visit or take a peek at their website to see all their offerings.
One thing that makes Hereward Farms unique is that they have a variety of workshops all year round. While the lavender is only in bloom in late spring and early summer, the fun never stops! Visitors can enjoy hands-on workshops, foodie events, spiritual events with medium Stefanie Kalan, as well as weekly yoga sessions on Mondays and Fridays throughout the summer.
Stonewell Farm in Erin
Stonewell Farm may be one of the smaller lavender farms in YDH but this quaint oasis provides an unmatched intimate experience. On the grounds, you’ll find 4,000 lavender plants from a number of varieties including Gros Bleu, Folgate, Royal Velvet and even Melissa which produces white or pale pink flowers!
Guests are invited to enjoy a self-guided tour of the grounds as you walk through the rows of idyllic flowers. You’ll learn all about the process of harvesting lavender and creating essential oils from the plant. Their property also features a stunning Ontario Gothic Revival farmhouse with elegant stone walls that owners Lee Anne and Tom have been renovating to suit their living needs. Sunset yoga sessions happen on a weekly basis in partnership with at Crystal Tree Yoga in Georgetown. Stonewell also offers a number of unique workshops including cyanotype printing, basket weaving, macrame, garden mosaics and more!
If you really want to take your lavender experience to the next level, you can book an overnight stay at their guest house on the farm! With three bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen and a spacious living area, enjoy a tranquil getaway as you cozy up by the fire or enjoy the fresh air from the walk-out terrace. The guest house can sleep up to six people making it a perfect destination to enjoy with family or friends. Considering all of the incredible benefits lavender has for relaxation, you’ll certainly have a restful sleep! For more details, visit their website.
Lavender Blu in Seagrave
For over 15 years, Lavender Blu has been educating everyone who visits about the beauty and benefits of lavender. Their gorgeous three-acre hobby farm is also home to a stunning lavender field and artisan studio.
Located along the shores of Lake Scugog, Lavender Blu is also home to fifty farm animals, a large vegetable garden, a small orchard and 3,500 lavender plants! What really sets Lavender Blu apart is the plethora of workshops that utilize lavender in so many ways. Visitors can craft a lavender wand during the beauty of golden hour, kids can learn more about the plant with Lavender Blu’s educational eco-garden picnic basket rental, and of course, picking your own is always an option.
Click here to visit their website for more details, and to book an appointment and cultivate some calm in your life with a visit to Lavender Blu!
Lavender Polo in East Gwillimbury
Spread across 155 acres, Lavender Polo is home to over 100,000 lavender plants of both English and Spanish varieties. This family business began in the summer of 2018 as they converted a corn and wheat field into the gorgeous display of lavender you see today.
Stroll through the endless rows of purple flowers, snap a photo on their iconic wooden swing and spend some time disconnecting from the outside world to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. If you’re looking for some additional zen in your life, plan your trip during one of their weekly yoga sessions. Visitors are welcome to bring their family (yes, that includes the four-legged members!) and enjoy a picnic amongst the lavender. For a nominal fee, you can enjoy their VIP experience with an adorable picnic set and tasty beverages. All you need to bring is some snacks!
Located just 40 minutes north of Downtown Toronto, this is the closest and largest lavender farm to the city. Don’t miss out on this fantastic day trip experience and buy your tickets online now and mark your calendars for their annual lavender festival in mid-September!
Make your way to the Headwaters Region where you’ll find Avalon Lavender. Home to 30,000 lavender plants, visitors will be treated to seven different cultivars of both English and French lavender.
Nestled along the North Branch of the Nottawasaga River, stroll through the fields and alongside the river before making your way to their farm store inside Avalon’s perfectly restored 1881 heritage barn. Their Celtic stone circle, a nod to their Scottish ancestry, is not to be missed.
Plan your visit during one of their yoga sessions Thursday and Sunday evenings or pack a picnic as there are plenty of spots to enjoy one at Avalon Lavender. Plus you never know which of their resident animals will come say hello during your visit! Reserve your time slot on their website here
Close to Uxbridge and Port Perry in Durham Region sits Christel Lake Lavender Farm. Here you can enjoy a stroll through the lavender fields, and around their spring fed lake, or fill your belly and heart with a picnic in the lavender field (reserve in advance). Or bring your kids to enjoy a 50-food play structure, trampolines, and swings! Dogs are also welcome.
You may reserve a two-hour time frame to enjoy the farm, lavender fields and gift shop. Please note that visits to the farm are limited to 4 people in one vehicle. Book here.