With its beautiful color and calming, fragrant scent, lavender has been one of my favorite flowers since I was a child. It reminds me of my grandmother, who always had lavender soap in her bathroom and sachets of lavender seeds in her drawers.
As an adult, I have kept lavender in my home in the form of candles and lotions; I have eaten it in cookies and cakes; and I have drunk it in teas and most recently, in a fancy cocktail at Riga’s swanky Bar XIII. Sometimes, I’ll even dab a few drops of lavender oil on Frieda’s muzzle to help calm her when she is stressed.
Naturally, then, when one of my friends discovered that a lavender festival would be taking place in Latvia’s countryside, I jumped on the opportunity to go.
Our outing to the lavender festival today was my first trip outside of Riga and my first chance to see the countryside since we arrived here nearly three months ago. With our car packed with good friends and a picnic lunch, we headed to Umurga Parish, about 100 kilometers northeast of Riga, in search of Lillas Lavender.
Founded in 2010, Lillas Lavender is a small business farm built on one woman’s dream to wake up among fields of lavender. The farm’s proprietors, Inga and Rihards, established Lillas Lavender following a fateful visit to friends in the Netherlands who happened to know the owner of a Dutch lavender farm. After visiting the farm and learning more about the process of growing lavender, Inga realized her dream and, with Rihards, cultivated fields of “lavender grown in Latvia with love”.
Today, visitors to Lillas Lavender can share in Inga’s dream as they wander through row after row of blooming lavender bushes and enjoy many of the products for sale, including soaps, oils, and candles. In fact, Inga and Rihards have become so successful at growing and harvesting lavender that have a second farm in Saldus District, west of Riga.
Getting to the festival was a bit of an adventure in itself, involving getting a bit lost along the way, traversing gravel portions of “highway”, and passing bright yellow fields of rapeseed and many, many storks.
Eventually, we arrived at Lillas Lavender and were greeted immediately with soothing traces of lavender in the air when we got stepped of the car.
The festival itself was quite low-key, with just the right balance of cheerful visitors without being crowded or overwhelming.
We set up our picnic and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine, surrounded by lavender, after which we explored the fields a little bit and took some photos. It was a perfect way to spend a cool summer Saturday.
If you’d like to enjoy Latvia’s lavender festival, it’s not too late! It continues on Sunday, July 19, at the Umurga Parish location, and will be held at the Saldus District location on July 25. Visit the Lillas Lavender website for more details.
Thank you for reading!