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Selfie-seekers ruin dream farm for Ontario family

Friday, July 19th 2019, 4:12 pm - The quest for the perfect shot can have disappointing consequences

Your Instagram feed is about to be hit by a rush of purple.

Lavender is blooming across Canada as our hot weather continues to spike nationwide.

For the Baird family in Ontario, this means tourists and Instagrammers will flock to their family-run organic farm, “Terre Bleu.” Many come seeking some summer fun, lavender ice cream or, of course, the perfect selfie.

Owner Ian Baird says, “It’s a place for a wellness moment, almost like forest bathing has become popular now. People can bathe out here in the tranquillity and calmness. And you’ll see some beautiful moments. Some Terre Bleu moments as we call them.”

Terre Bleu 2 Courtesy: Terre Bleu

For many lavender lovers searching for that “Terre Bleu,” it’s the perfect photo or the epic selfie that drives them to Campbellville, Ontario.

“Some people are coming and all they care about is that photo. And unfortunately, that is really damaging for our farm. We’ve had lavender plants destroyed by people stepping all over them,” says Baird.

Social media has been a blessing and a curse. The awareness on social media caused the farm to trend on Instagram in 2017, and since then visitors have come from all over.

The picturesque lavender makes for a stunning photo but the farm wants visitors to remember that it is a crop. The operation here harvests the lavender and creates soaps, candles, tea, ice cream and more. As the selfie seekers lay in the fields, jump over blooms and pick the perfectly purple flower from the ground they are ruining the harvest for the Baird family.

Terre Bleu 1 Courtesy: Terre Bleu

“Lavender can look fantastic in a photo, depending on mother nature and the stage of bloom. And that’s why so many people want the perfect shot. But for us, it’s no different than harvesting apples or strawberries. If you ruin the plant the harvest will not be as fulfilling” says Baird.

The farm has also had issues with people flying drones over their fields, trespassing after hours and yelling at staff. Their children have even been harassed by people during non-operational hours just to get a photo. The demand for photography has taken away from the calm and tranquillity the Baird family hoped this farm would bring to visitors. It has led to them to have to hire police, increase staff and install more fencing, gates and even video surveillance.

“We enjoy the amount of people who want to visit our farm. However, I’ve been wanting to get the message out about respecting the crop so people better understand how they are impacting the farm,” comments Baird.

The farm is truly a magnificent place to explore. As the lavender dances in the sparkling sunlight, you can get a sense of why so many people want to capture the moment. The Iconic yellow door in the middle of the field is a popular area for photos.

“The yellow door is an excellent photo opportunity. We wanted to use that door as an art piece that displays a quote from our daughter that helps convey what the farm is really about, finding joy” says Baird.

Terre Bleu 3

Another issue the farm has had with social media is the fact that certain blooms are captured, shared on social media and people expect to see that exact bloom every day of the summer.

“It doesn't work like that,” explains Baird. “Instagrammers and others come with one image in their mind. They saw a beautiful picture that somebody caught at one instance in time at the farm. And they expect that instance to be there all summer long. But a farm can’t be that. And a crop cant be that! And Mother Nature makes sure it's not that way.”

The Baird family is excited to welcome another round of lavender enthusiasts this summer. However, they hope that the crowds understand the delicate nature of their crops and are willing to enjoy the full farm experience rather than just a selfie photoshoot.

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