Sustainability Travel Washington D.C.

Star Bright Farm – A Sustainable Farm in the Maryland Countryside

Star Bright Farm
Discovering Star Bright Farm

On a recent quest to source the best organic lavender in the Northeast, I stumbled upon Star Bright Farm and was instantly intrigued. Located 45 minutes north of Baltimore, Maryland, Star Bright Farm has an almost storybook feel. Gentle rolling hills make up the 130 acres of the property – the most visible of which is studded with deep blue bushes of english and french lavender. 

After ordering a fragrant bundle of lavender buds, vibrant calendula petals, and honey sweet kapur tulsi leaves for my skincare formulations, I couldn’t resist planning a visit to the farm. While there, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Helen. Helen and her husband Mark have spent the last 25 years painstakingly restoring the property and bringing it to life. Today, Star Bright is a bustling working farm and one of Maryland’s top hydrosol distilleries.

Lavender from Star Bright Farms
Bushels of Lavender from Star Bright Farms
The Star Bright Farm Approach

So what makes Star Bright Farm special? On a visual level, Helen’s experience in fashion and lifestyle photography is evidence. Each structure on the farm – the main house, the barn, the market store – exudes a bucolic elegance. Helen’s keen eye has crafted the ultimate in down-to-earth luxury. You can’t help feeling at home, but also like you’re in the pages of a glossy magazine.

Beyond that, Helen and Mark (and now their son Peter) are committed to sustainable farming practices. As they put it:

At Star Bright Farm, we view the practice of farming as a human creative expression, observant of the blueprint that nature provides; our goal is to foster a durable ecosystem that generates human wellbeing and regenerates environmental health.

What does this mean in practice? The techniques used at Star Bright Farms improve the soil, rather than leaving it depleted. In order to build up a foundation of healthy soil, Helen and the team ensure that there is minimal disturbance. Perennial crops live for years and require less intervention which allows the soil to build up healthy fungi. Crop rotation, seasonal cover cropping, no-till bed management, and on-site composing all create a rich environment for plants to thrive.

Star Bright Farms
Star Bright Farms in Full Lavender Bloom
See For Yourself!

If you’re planning a visit, consider timing your trip to one of the farm’s many events and workshops held throughout the year. The star event is the Lavender Festival, featuring local food and drink purveyors, farm tours, wagon rides, and lots and lots of lavender. The lavender fields at this year’s festival were filled with squealing toddlers running through the bushes and visitors angling for the perfect Instagram shot. It’s a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon with friends and family of all ages.

Maggie

If you’re looking for something to do with all that lavender you couldn’t resist buying, consider making a Lavender Gin Fizz! It’s floral and refreshing, just the thing to end a hot summer day.

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