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MEET THE MAKERS OF NEW YORK MAKERS

ABOUT NEW YORK STATES OF MIND

In comparison to the centuries-old lavender-laden fields of Provence, New York's cultivation of the winsome purple plant seems relatively recent. From the Latin "lavare," meaning "to wash," the flower we enjoy for its calming fragrance and subtle culinary flavor was initially praised for its medicinal qualities, and first gained popularity in America when sold by the Quakers for that purpose. Though not native to New York, lavender has found its place in the sun of the Empire State.

Within the last decade or so, a number of dedicated lavender farms have cropped up throughout New York State in the Finger Lakes, on Long Island and in Central New York. These diverse regions share an important trait: bodies of water that establish and regulate the ideal microclimate for lavender to take root and flourish. Several of New York's family-run lavender farms sponsor annual lavender festivals, drawing as many as 3,000 visitors each, who sample lavender-infused dishes concocted by local chefs, gather their own lavender bouquets, and stroll through the harvest grounds.

In celebration of New York State's burgeoning lavender industry, we bring you our very own handmade lavender sachet pillows, made from fabrics and patterns personally selected and designed by the "NYSOM Girls." Chief maker Marilyn Bennett originally hails from St. Lucia, and has called Brooklyn home for the past 25 years. As a child, Marilyn learned to sew from her mother, and later applied those skills in her job at a clothing manufacturer. She cuts, fills and sews each sachet individually, infusing them with her infectious laugh and big heart one stitch at a time.

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