‘A little slice of Europe’: Lavandula Harvest Festival celebrates Swiss Italian heritage

The smell of lavender is in the air in Shepherds Flat as the team at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm prepare for their annual harvest festival. 

Lavandula Harvest Festival 2017. Picture: Kate Healy

Lavandula Harvest Festival 2017. Picture: Kate Healy

Around 2000 people are expected to join the festivities at the farm on Sunday to celebrate the harvest of thousands of lavender plants. 

Lavandula farm owner Carol White said this season’s lavender crop will be ready just in time for the Lavander Harvest Festival. 

“The lavender is really late this year. It has been a cool spring,” Ms White said. 

Visitors to the festival will have the opportunity to learn about lavender harvesting and the process to create products through bunching, drying and distilling demonstrations.

A gypsy band, Morris dancers, tours of the original stone farm houses, artisan stalls, and food and drink will provide entertainment while visitors explore acres of gardens.

Ms White said walking through the farm was like walking through Europe. 

“There are Italian built stone buildings are surrounded by European crops like olives, lavender and European trees,” she said. 

“You could think you were in the south of France or Italy. We call it a little slice of Europe.”

Swiss and Italians first settled in the Daylesford and Hepburn region during the 1850s. Lavandula’s historic stone barn buildings were first built by European settlers. 

“The smell of lavender in the air takes me straight back to European visits,” Ms White said. 

“The dry climate in summer is the same as in Europe where lavender grows.”

Picture: David White

Picture: David White

The festival, which has been running for 28 years, attracts both international tourists and local visitors. 

“So many European and international tourists come just to see the lavender because it takes them back to their homeland,” Ms White said.

She said the festival also attracted many Chinese tourists because lavender was a popular herbal remedy in Chinese culture.

The Lavandula Harvest Festival will run from 10am to 5pm at 350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat on Sunday January 7. 

Visit https://www.lavandula.com.au/ for more information.