For those of you who have enjoyed the aroma of lavender and used its therapeutic qualities to help relax, you may be surprised to learn there are over 39 species of the plant and it grows in many places around the world.
I first became aware the vast agricultural production of lavender when I was working in the Vanderbilt University Department of French & Italian. With a dedicated overseas program in Aix-en-Provence, I started hearing about the fields of purple in southern France. “La route de la lavande”takes in parts of the Drôme, the Vaucluse and the Alpes de Haute Provence pasing through superb small villages surrounded by hills and plateaux lit up by the sunshine and where the scent of lavender is everywhere in the wind. It’s really worth the discovery! There is so much lavender growing that if you time your visit between the beginning of July to the end of August, the air is filled with the aroma
On a 50th birthday trip to our 50th state, I was taken to the Ali’I Kula Lavender Farm, on the midslope area of Haleakala. The farm offers a unique opportunity to experience tourism and agriculture in action. Agricultural Artist, Ali’i Chang, can often be spotted tending to his masterpiece or leading fact-filled tours about the history and future of the farm. Several tours are offered daily including walking tours, tea service, lunch service, and wreath making workshops. A self-guided walking tour allows visitors to stroll through the picturesque fields and rejuvenate amid peaceful surroundings.
A third place where lavender offered an aromatic addition to one of my vacations was on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The northern area of the peninsula is one of the largest lavender growing areas in the United States. A three-day event in mid July celebrates the joys of lavender with tours of eight farms, each offering a variety of lavender-centered activities, such as lavender lore, demonstrations, agricultural history, workshops, horticultural programs, and the opportunity to spend time in the fields. The Street Fair features more than 125 craftspeople and vendors of lavender and other Olympic Peninsula specialties. Musical entertainment, great local foods and an Olympic Peninsula wine tasting. What more could you hope for?
There are lavender fields throughout the world.
The Island of Hvar in Croatia, about 200 miles north of Dubrovnik and accessible only by ferry, also has a world class lavender growing area. Maybe I’ll get to see them the next time I travel to Croatia.