2014 Summer Basket #11

Basket contents: Rapini, choice of lettuce or tomatilloes, beans, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, green onions, choice of zucchini or cucumbers, choice of pepper or eggplant, catnip.

Recipe of the week: Catnip tea

This week’s newsletter will focus on one of our lesser known productions: medicinal plants! By now you’ve probably seen our teas out at each drop-off, but since many people are unfamiliar with using plants as medicine, we thought we’d give you a little intro.

Heather is the farm’s resident herbalist. She’s been growing and studying medicinal plants since 2007, and has completed her year-long training as a family herbalist with L’Herbothèque. Although she is infinitely amazed at the plants healing properties, her passion is really their cultivation and transformation. Using plants as medicine is part of our cultural heritage, and we at the farm hope to make this more accessible to you all by offering local, low-cost and easy to use herbs. Keep in mind, though, that none of us are clinical herbalists, and any suggestions we give need not be considered perscription.

Our herb garden may be small (3500 ft2), but in it we cultivate over 50 different plants. Although we will occasionally give you a tasty tea herb in the basket (like this week’s catnip, for example), most of these herbs end up dried and either mixed into tea blends, culinary herb packs (yes, most culinary herbs are full of helpful properties) or sold as simples, on their own. In 2013 we begun a new relationship with the Tisanerie Mandala (check them out, they’re really lovely people- selling only organic herbs at reasonable prices and supporting local producers like us) as a way to create a more stable marketing outlet. Although our herb production is a very small part of our farm activities, we love it, and are glad for the diversity it brings to our offer.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to try our teas, give them a go! All teas are sold loose, so a tea ball or strainer is helpful. Simply infuse the dried herbs in hot water (heated to just before boiling) and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Medicinal plants are usually most effective when used on a regular basis, as prevention, strengthening the systems of your body over the long term, rather than the quick fixes of conventional medicine (which have their place as well!).

On this year’s fall basket registration form, you’ll have the opportunity to order some of our more diverse herbal products that don’t show up at drop-offs. These make great gifts, and we have numerous clients who keep some on hand, just in case! Some of the products available will include:

-6 different tea blends, all with a different set of properties (their names give a strong clue!): Focus, Calme, Respire, Digère, Cycle and Immunité;

-Culinary herb packs: small bags of 5 or 10 different types of culinary herbs;

-Salves: small bottles of ointment made from local organic sunflower oil infused with our herbs and thickened with local beeswax. Great for massages, and as a skin moisturizer or lip balm.

Also, all of our 50+ herbs can be ordered individually, so if you are looking for anything specific, just let us know!  Enjoy!