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From left, friends Summer Yuan, Jing Chen, Sophia Lu and Joy Zhang visiting Lavender By the Bay in 2014. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

In 2014, the East Marion lavender farm Lavender By the Bay suddenly found itself attracting hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists to the tiny hamlet every weekend.

Three years later, busloads of visitors still descend on the 17-acre farm when the plants are in bloom. They pose in the purple fields and snap selfies for Instagram.

Now the sustained uptick in visitors has caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which explored this quirky story this week. An article titled “Purple Craze: The Lavender of Long Island Attracts Mystery Crowds,” was printed on the paper’s front page on Monday.

“The source of this particular mass contagion, however, came on so suddenly that it left everybody in a state of bafflement,” writes reporter Corrinne Ramey. “People had gone absolutely loony for lavender.”

The piece notes that many of the visitors of Asian descent, a curious phenomenon that some have attributed in part to the popularity of the 2001 hong Kong movie “Lavender.”


The article also acknowledges the headaches the crowds can bring for East Marion residents, who as Ramey notes, are “unaccustomed to such things.”

“When it was a quiet place that nobody came to, it was great,” Anne Murray, president of the East Marion Community Association, told The Journal. “Now it’s kind of a nightmare.”

Lavender by the Bay owner Serge Rozenbaum told the paper that he has hired a translator to help post etiquette rules inside the port-a-potties and help post guidelines on the Chinese social media site WeChat.

“Part of the lavender experience is to be in harmony with the surrounding and send positive energy,” reads his lavender-hued memo, according to the article.

The lavender has since been cut and is available for sale.

Read the full story here