Purple passion

About two miles south of downtown Princeton, just a few feet back from Route 206, sits a red barn-style shed nestled among a field of purple hues.

Brad Smith ’82 and his wife, Beth, refer to it as their “lav shack.”

The attractive, yet modest structure houses bundles of fresh lavender, as well as a range of handmade lavender-infused gifts. But for Brad and Beth, the building represents a labor of love.

It was built after the Smiths purchased the former horse farm in 2015. With their sights set on growing lavender, the couple spent months clearing overgrowth and removing old farm equipment from the neglected eight and-a-half-acre property.

“We wanted to create a field of beauty from a hardy perennial that was drought and deer resistant, attracted pollinators and would not spoil if dried,” said Brad. The Smiths formally launched Princeton Lavender in 2016.

Princeton Lavender products

Brad Smith ’82 and his wife, Beth, produce a range of handmade lavender-infused gifts.

The duo considers Princeton Lavender a hobby farm. Brad has been a real estate investor for more than 30 years, and Beth is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Princeton.

“It’s not our full-time occupation … yet,” Brad declared.

In addition to its burgeoning fragrant field, Princeton Lavender houses a series of beehives. “They were added in year three after we saw a huge number of bees that were naturally attracted to the blooming lavender,” said Brad.

The Smiths couldn’t help but smile as they spoke of offering visitors a delight to the senses.

“It’s gratifying to produce a product that others appreciate, and we like interacting with customers,” said Brad. He added, “It’s nice to share this experience with Beth. We enjoy working together.”

Fresh lavender from Princeton Lavender