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Herb Festival Mania

By April (Aunt_AMay 17, 2009
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Look at the picture. Do you see the green hand reaching out to touch the leaf? Herb festivals connect communities with herbs and gardens. If you're not familiar with herbs or herb festivals, here's an introduction to them, plus a number of great reasons to attend a local festival. (Hint: if you don't see the green hand, keep reading to find out where to look.)

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Discover something new

Herb festivals tend to offer a much larger variety of plants than you'll find at the "big box" chain stores or even local nurseries. At a recent herb festival, I was on a limited budget but the variety was so large, I had a hard time limiting my purchases. I finally gave up and bought a fig tree for my parents. Herbs aren't just for cooking.  They are also used in cosmetics, medicine and crafts. Even the rose is considered an herb, and its "hips" (seed pods) are used to make a delicious tea that is high in vitamin C.

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Support your local economy and farmers

An herb festival gives local gardeners, craftspeople and farmers a public venue. When you attend a local festival, you are giving hope and support to the farmers in your neighborhood.

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Meet other garden-minded people

Typically, herb festivals attract an eclectic group of people with one thing in common; an interest in herbs. Many of these visitors love to share gardening stories or tips. Those of us that who love plants are sometimes looked at strangely by non-gardeners, unless, of course, they are lined up for a share of the Little Red Hen's produce. You will probably either learn a lot or teach a lot. Of course, you could always introduce your new gardening friends to Dave's Garden.

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Learn something new

As a result of attending some herb festivals, I found a lavender farm near my home, a source of local honey, and a variety of small local farms, including a goat farm. Interestingly, I saw my sister-in-law at an herb fair; which is how I learned that she makes homemade soaps. I also attended a few classes during the festival where I learned about the caring for and using specific herbs, making fun garden crafts and attracting butterflies and birds to my yard.

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Teach others what you know

An herb festival is an opportunity to share your knowledge of plants with others. The more information we share, the more our fascination with plants will grow. I hope that the next few generations will learn about gardening.  Just a century ago, the average person was familiar with growing plants, milking cows and goats, and preserving food, but much of that common knowledge has faded away.  Today's generation knows about high-tech gadgets, eating fast food and Twittering. What do you know about plants? Can you help others learn more?

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Time to sell?

If you are growing more produce than you can use, maybe it is time to find out about selling your excess. Do you know how to grow certain plants and have more than enough to sell a couple dozen or even a couple hundred plants? Some herb festivals are hosted by local farms and "no competition" may be the rule. But other festivals are hosted by groups or are fund-raisers. Of course, check out the fees and rules before you agree to participate in the event.

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More than herbs

At its most basic, an herb show gives away knowledge and sells plants. Often the plant selection isn't limited to just herbs, although hundreds of herbs are generally available. Fruits, vegetable seedlings and flower plants are typically available also. Depending on the festival, craft items and other homemade treasures may be found for sale, too.

I hope this article encourages you to check out information for a local herbal festival. Dave's Garden provides Go Gardening, an excellent resource to find local gardening resources.

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Together, we can make a difference and Dave's Garden is here to help.  PlantFiles has hundreds of herbs listed, and DG has an Herbs Discussion Forum available to subscribers.

(Oh, and if you did not find the green hand in the picture, it is right above the first letter in "Festival.")

 

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Looking for an herb festival near you? Here are some herb or herb-oriented gatherings and their 2009 dates:

Glen Allen, VA
A Thyme to Plant at Lavender Fields Herb Farm - Classes, candle making, herbs, veggies and flowers for sale, bee keeping demo. (May 15-16, 2009)

Fort Worth, TX
Tarrant County Master Gardener Community/Demonstration Garden - Learn about herbs and herb gardens (May 20, 2009)

Kingston, NY
Fruitful Harvest Farm - Will be selling a large assortment of herbs and flowers. Refreshments will be served. (May 21, 2009, noon to 5 pm)

Milford, MI
Pettibone Creek Farm - Heirloom tomato, pepper and herb plants for sale. Prices start at just $2 (May 23-24, 2009)

Morristown, NJ
The Health Shoppe Organic Local Market - Learn about making things from "weeds". (May 27, 2009)

Harrisville, MI
Quaker Hill Farm - Come to a class to learn about herbs. (May 29, 2009)

Pittsburgh, PA
Mildreds' Daughters Urban Farm - Purchase from a large selection of herbs, including mints, dill, fennel, chives, sage, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, arugula, cilantro and more. (May 29-30, 2009)


  About April  
AprilThe garden in my head is better than the one in my yard. However, I plant at least one tree every year and have left every home with a little more green than it had before. I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I enjoy writing them. Editor's note: Aunt_A passed away on 12-06-2010. We will miss her greatly and are thankful for her legacy of wonderful articles.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Phoenix AZ NickTarr 6 84 May 25, 2009 4:37 AM
Garden Festival May 23, 2009, NC Hemophobic 4 18 May 19, 2009 11:07 AM
Fresh herbs are great in the kitchen aphilbeck8 1 14 May 19, 2009 12:02 AM
No spring along Lake Miyet! JElisabeth 1 11 May 18, 2009 11:45 PM
Great phicks 1 16 May 18, 2009 11:32 PM
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