THORNDIKE — Two women pursue their retirement hobby on Route 220, where they run a lavender farm. Situated near the entrance to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners’ property, site of the annual Common Ground Country Fair, the farm usually sells much of its crop to people who pass by on their way to the fair, but since the fair was canceled for a second time this year, the owners are finding creative ways to move their product. The lavender can be seen — and smelled — from the road.

Heidi Sorensen and her mother, Pollyanna, both retired, moved to Maine a few years ago in search of a property where they could live close together and could also grow a crop, Sorensen said. At first, they did not know what they wanted to grow.

After deciding on a property with large fields that had two houses attached to each other, they decided to grow lavender because no other farmers in the area were growing it on a large scale. They planted rows of lavender even before renovations were completed on their homes.

Sorensen said she worked as a high school agriculture teacher and then as a nurse before she retired. She lived in many states around the country before settling in Thorndike. Pollyanna spent much of her life in California, but also traveled around. They were both living in Arizona before moving to Maine.

“It was throw the dart and we’re going to go to Maine, and we drove all over the state looking for what we wanted in the way of housing, and when we found this, it was it,” Pollyanna said.

Their business, Over The Hill Lavender Farm, grows lavender strains from English to hybrid varieties. They even have Spanish lavender this year because of a shipping error, but Sorensen said the variety is not cold hardy and will not last the winter, so they are pulling them up this year to plant a different variety next year.

The farm is giving away 25 free stems of lavender as a way to move some product and allow people to sample different varieties, the women said. They also have a small shed where they sell personal care items like soaps, sprays and creams made from lavender essential oils extracted from their plants. Their fiber and clay art is for sale as well.

Heidi Sorensen, left, helps Grace Mumford, 16, tie off a smudge stick Sept. 11 at her farm in Thorndike. Photo by Kendra Caruso

They allow people to make their own smudges from lavender stems, which hold scent oils. The scent oils are found in the plant’s stems, leaves and buds, but not the flowers, Sorensen said. Most lavender is picked before it flowers, but if it is left to bloom, tiny purple flowers will erupt at the end of the stem.

Noel Mumford and her two daughters, Faith, 18, and Grace, 16, visited the farm Sept. 11 to pick lavender. The family enjoys the plant for its health benefits, like helping Faith cope with anxiety she faces sometimes.

Faith Mumford smells lavender as she picks it at the Over The Hill Lavender Farm in Thorndike Sept. 11. Photo by Kendra Caruso

They made smudge sticks while visiting the farm and enjoyed walking through the rows of lavender to choose their 25 free stems. “We’re thrilled that it’s free and we love lavender,” Mumford said.

The Sorensens try to create an atmosphere where people can visit their farm and relax among the rows of lavender, even if they do not buy anything. They are not dependent on income from the farm and are growing lavender more as a hobby than as a serious business venture, they said.

“As soon as it becomes work, then it’s no fun,” Sorensen said. “And this is all about having fun.” Pollyanna added, “We don’t take it too very seriously, we’re just having fun with it.”

The farm is open every day except Monday from noon to 5 p.m.It is at 463 Mount View Road in Thorndike and can be reached at 509-4558.

Photo by Kendra Caruso

Photo by Kendra Caruso

Photo by Kendra Caruso

Photo by Kendra Caruso

Photo by Kendra Caruso

Photo by Kendra Caruso