Every year, visitors flock to Lavandula’s Autumn Harvest Festival for a day of celebration. Celebrating the history and traditions of the region’s Swiss-Italian settlers and the bountiful autumn harvest. We caught up with Lavandula owner Carol White to learn more about Lavandula, the festival and her tips for visitors to the region.
Tell us about Lavandula. How did you develop your business into what it is today?
When I found the old Swiss-Italian farm it gave me the opportunity to realise my passion for gardens and history. I knew I had the energy and dedication to see my vision come to fruition. But there was no rushing a property that had remained neglected for more than a decade. Not only did it take time and patience to plant out a productive garden, but it also took great skill and care to bring back the original stone buildings. With each step it became clearer and clearer what it was I was trying to achieve: a little slice of Europe that pays homage to the original Swiss-Italian family that farmed here.
What attracted you to Daylesford?
It’s a beautiful part of country Victoria. It’s a region that prides itself on producing the very best products that are made available either at the local markets or at their farm gate. It’s a region famous for its focus on health and wellbeing. Whether that means enjoying a soothing massage, dining on the best local food and wine or discovering one of the many gorgeous bush walks, Daylesford offers so many options. And I didn’t even mention the region’s abundant mineral water reserves.
You’ve been a champion of local produce and artisans, how do you recommend others do the same?
I love visiting farmers’ markets, local galleries and, occasionally, visiting farms directly to sample and purchase their beautiful produce. It makes sense on so many levels to support local producers and artisans for the freshness and quality of their seasonal produce. Ultimately, it’s a relationship with mutual benefits because visitors to the area now come to expect the very best in food, wine, art and craft, and a beautiful environment.
For those new to the region, what are your top 3 things to do in Daylesford and the surrounds?
- You can’t leave Daylesford without visiting one of its two gorgeous lakes: Lake Daylesford and Lake Jubilee. There’s no better way to enjoy our fresh country air (or building up a good appetite) than taking a leisurely walk around either lake.
- Visit the many farmers’, artisans’ and antique markets dotted around the region. I’m sure the Daylesford Visitor Information Centre can happily provide you with a free map and personal advice.
- Relax and unwind. Whether you’re sitting by the lake, strolling along bush tracks or enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine, take time to enjoy the simple pleasures of listening to birdsong, watching grey kangaroos grazing and marvelling at this region’s spectacular landscape.
Do you have any tips for people wanting to daytrip from Daylesford to other towns or hamlets?
You don’t have to travel very far because the region is quite compact. About 15 minutes away is the lovely township of Trentham. Here, you must visit the Trentham Falls before heading to Red Beard bakery for some of the best bread and pastries made in the state. On your way back to Daylesford, drop in to Istra Smallgoods in Musk and grab a selection of their farm produced goodies. Then all you need is a bottle of wine from one of the many wineries in the region. If you take the scenic route back to Daylesford and head into Glenlyon, you’ll find a friendly hamlet known for the quality of its wines.
We know you are incredibly busy, but do you have a routine to a typical day in the life of Carol White that you can share?
Each morning, I make sure to talk with every employee on the farm. It’s very important to me to maintain a healthy, happy working environment, because the success of the business largely depends on having informed and cohesive staff. And it seems to be working because I’m surrounded by a bunch of lovely, hardworking individuals.
Tell us about the Autumn Harvest Festival. What can visitors expect?
The festival in autumn on Sunday 21st of May is especially important to us because it reminds us of the history of the farm, especially the fact that the original family farmed here successfully for about 115 years. It’s about keeping that tradition alive and, perhaps, most importantly, having the opportunity to share that tradition with those who visit the farm. The festival will play host to Italian singers, dancers and performers. It’s a day when visitors can learn firsthand how we work with the produce of the land from distilling lavender to preserving fruits and vegetables. There will be local artisan stalls offering a wide selection of locally made goods. Of course, food is vital and we’ll stoke up our wood-fired oven to produce mouth-watering, Italian-inspired food. And our sprawling gardens invite you to explore them with all your senses. It’s a day for the whole family, even the four-legged ones.