Lavender farm, reception venue get approval

County committee grants permit for family businesses
Kevin Passon

Plans for a private reception venue and a lavender farm on Shawano County’s western border were approved by the Shawano County Planning, Development and Zoning Committee on June 5.

Vicki and Joseph Oboikovitz and their family members will now work to turn the garden and barn used only for private events into a public gathering space with a myriad of uses.

First up will be lavender festival in July at the height of the blooming season, Vicki Oboikovitz noted in her request to the committee.

Festival plans include face painting, a petting zoo, lavender workshops, food trucks and artisan vendors. Future plans include a boutique and gift item section and honeybee farm section. They will also sell lavender products such as teas and beverages, lotions, scrubs, candles, oils and dried bouquets.

“As a longtime advocate of health and wellness, I became aware of and was intrigued by the benefits of essential oils, and in particular, the benefits of lavender,” Vicki Oboikovitz said.

Lavender has many heath and wellness benefits, adds beauty and benefits the environment. Honeybees and butterflies are attracted to it, and it is a natural repellent of mosquitoes, flies, moths and fleas.

In January 2019, the couple attended the United States Lavender Growers Association conference in Charleston, South Carolina, to learn about lavender farming.

That same summer, they planted their first crop.

“We planted our first crop of 200 plants and have added new gardens and varieties each year since,” Vicki Oboikovitz said. “While our growing zone is not the most ideal for lavender, we have managed to grow seven varieties of English lavender. Over 700 all-natural plants have thrived in our garden.”

They have also expanded the garden to include complementary and compatible perennials and annuals.

The plants are protected with a frost blanket in the winter.

Plans are for the garden to be open seasonally, on weekends from May through October, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The 39.44-acre property is located at W18340 Short Lane in the Town of Birnamwood, about 3 miles north of Wittenberg. It is bordered on the east by Bluebird Road and on the south by Short Lane.

The land was the family home of Vicki Oboikovitz and was purchased about six years ago after her mother died. Some of the land is rented to a local farmer, while the Oboikovitz’ daughter, husband and toddler live in the home.

It was the dream of their daughter to be married on the property, with the wedding held in October 2023.

“For a year and a half, our family and friends invested in the renovation process, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially to make our daughter’s dream a reality,” Vicki Oboikovitz said.

The reception venue includes two structures.

The renovated “steel shed” is the larger building. At 30 feet by 50 feet, it features two glass garage doors that open to a field, gardens, patios and pergola deck. French doors open to grass space and seating area. It includes a state-of-the-art bar area.

There is also bridal and bridal party suite, a private space for the bride and nine makeup and prep stations. It also includes a work area for a hair and makeup artist.

A groom’s quarters is also among the features.

Ample space outdoors allows for large tents to be erected if desired, and the parking space can accommodate 150 vehicles with room for expansion.

Vicki Oboikovitz said the venue can be used for weddings, showers, family gatherings, corporate events, community education and social events such as craft classes, yoga and fitness classes, wellness programs, local artisan and farmers market events, children’s programming, Wedding Expo events and music theater events.

The larger area is expected to be available from April through October, while small groups using the shed only will find it available year-round.