Page 43 - The Hunt - Summer 2022
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                  Outside are the sprawling lavender fields, planted on gentle hilltop slopes in the shadows of a poplar-dominated new-growth forest. The rows are lovely in their precision.
potted individually. “There are about 2,500 plants here,” Hayes says.
“And another 3,600 in the barn.” Claire adds. “This area is not the natural environment for growing lavender.”
But it’s working—so far. Outside are the sprawling lavender fields, planted on gentle hilltop slopes in the shadows of a poplar- dominated new-growth forest. The rows are lovely in their precision. And though they’re dormant in winter, they look amazingly healthy. Even on this sunny day, the wind
is fierce—perhaps not unlike the Mistral that blows down the Rhone Valley and into Provence. “We had to put up these walls to protect against the wind,” says Ed, noting the tall barrier fences.
Deer aren’t attracted to lavender, but a much smaller pest does cause headaches: ground-burrowing voles. “We’re trying all sorts of ways to control them,” Ed says, adding that, with any luck, there will be about 8,000 lavender plants soaking up the summer sun.
The tour continues past the tennis courts constructed by previous owners the Pugh family, an unused spring-fed swimming pool, a large kennel used for hunting dogs that’s now being converted to a farm shed, and what remains of Warwick Furnace itself. Located about 100 yards from the house, the impressive stone ruin is open to the public as a sort of open-space diorama
of early industrialization.
Warwick Furnace was established in 1737 by Anna Nutt, the widow of Samuel Nutt, an English Quaker entrepreneur who’d previously constructed an ironworks at Coventry. It produced cannons and cannonballs for the rebels during the Revolutionary War, and Washington’s troops
bivouacked there for a time. It was also a source of iron for the fabled Franklin stoves. With the advent of newer technology, the ironworks was closed in 1867, a century and a third after it first fired up its furnaces.
Back inside the family residence, Dolly has prepared tea with sandwiches and sweets. Through the years, she’s schooled herself
and taken classes in food history. Hence her impressive collection of research volumes and cookbooks.
“At the height of lockdown in June of 2020, our fields exploded for the first time
in a somewhat unexpected sea of purple lavender flowers,” Claire says. “We invited a small group of our friends and neighbors
to come and help us hand-harvest lavender bundles. It was a beautiful and cathartic experience to be in the fields with our guests.”
The farmhouse is still undergoing renovations to mold it to the family’s multiple interests and activities. Architect John Milner, known for his work with historic structures, serves as a consultant. “Although we found the [other] structures in a neglected state, their beauty was still apparent, and we resolved to see to their preservation for the next generation,” Claire says.
It took some time for the family to make the transition from Jersey suburbs to farm. “At first, the girls were afraid to go from building to building at night,” says Ed.
But everyone has settled in. “I’ve always worked on restoration projects, even as
a young man,” Ed says. “I’ve always had carpentry in my blood.”
That skill set, the lavender and a supportive family have proven to be a potent combination for this historic, yet still evolving, property.
  A Sympathetic Lens
For Claire Rosen, life at Warwick Furnace Farm must be a little like living inside one of her own compositions— beautiful to observe yet having complex layers and meanings. Rosen’s academic studies began at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and continued at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she graduated in 2006. Her photography bridges many genres and categories— assemblages of everyday and exotic animals, vast landscapes, Edwardian themes, commercial venues from fashion shoots, luxury hotels. “I’ve had a lot
of commissions from companies and publications that have taken me around the world,” she says.
In her studio, there are computer screens to help her interpret what her camera has done digitally, blending technology with a rural ambience. You’ll also find hundreds (perhaps thousands) of objects on shelves, serving as art props and life inspirations. “Some are from when
I was very young, some I’ve found in flea markets,” she says.
Rosen’s award-winning work has been exhibited from Korea to Maine to New Mexico. It’s been featured in National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine
and her own book, IMAGINARIUM: The Process Behind the Pictures. She’s also a brand ambassador for FujiFilm and Hahnemühle FineArt. Currently, her passions have been updated to include lavender farmer extraordinaire. —R.M. 41

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