April 15, 2010

In case you were wondering, there IS an Herb of the Year

So, one of my favorite things about living in (or near) a small town is goofy small town events.

Example? Every summer, the little town nearest to us hosts the Sweet Corn Festival. If you thought this might feature the Sweet Corn Princess singing songs in the town square while the local folks eat corn and fair food...you win a prize to be named later. It.is.awesome.

This past weekend, I attended another such event, hosted by a local greenhouse (that apparently has been around since the beginning of time, which is also awesome). The name of this event?

Herb Daze.

(Note: I'm almost 100-percent positive that no one planning this event thought about the possible connection between that cutesy spelling of "days" and marijuana. Which made it even more adorable.)

While it was definitely a small town event (read: small and kind of goofy), it was actually kind of great.

The whole thing was held inside the greenhouse, so we had the benefit of being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of green, growing things. It made for a lovely atmosphere:

Their agenda actually looked really interesting: How to grow herbs, creating a serenity herb garden, aromatherapy, cooking with herbs, pampering your skin and making other fun stuff, like cocktails, ice cream and sorbet.

The event was a full day (all free), so I only stayed for the cooking and skin pampering segments (i.e., the segments during which I could get the most free samples). And, I was impressed! The culinary teacher from a local high school, set up in full chef regalia, prepared a full meal: grilled chicken with mustard dill sauce, new potatoes roasted with herbs, this cottage cheese dill bread that was OUT OF THIS WORLD amazing, rhubarb crunch and this apple salad thingie that I was not all about.

(Seriously: I almost attacked the other people there to get to the rest of the cottage cheese bread. It sounds ridiculous, but it was soo tasty.)

And in addition to the program agenda, they also had little vendors set up around the greenhouse, selling their herb-related wares. There was the usual boring stuff (Tastefully Simple and Pampered Chef), but there were a bunch of awesome local tables, staffed by folks in the area who were just selling their homemade stuff. This woman and her business partner were selling homemade tea blends and lavendar soap (she was mortified when I took this picture; how cute is she?):

The coolest thing (I thought) was the local woman who baked cookies using crushed lavendar. She had three different kinds of cookies, all with the lavendar baked in. They were FABULOUS (especially this Pecan Sandie-type cookie; SO GOOD).

And, in my favorite moment of the entire day, here was her response when I asked her where I could find these cookies regularly (meaning, I thought, a local bakery or something): "Um, I just make them? In my house? So...if you needed some...you could just...call me?"


In summary: It was a totally wonderful way to spend a spring Saturday. If you live anywhere near Mansfield, it's absolutely worth checking out.

Oh, and the 2010 Herb of the Year? Was dill. Who knew?

10 backtalk:

Sarah W said...

Herb Daze... how funny! This thing sounds totally fun. I love small-town festivals. I grew up near BG (in Luckey, OH) and they have a "Fall Fest" that features kettle corn, tractors and hot air balloons. It's great.

Wendy said...

That sounds delightful! I want to go next year!

Lavender cookes - um, awesome! I also adore handmade soaps. That lady IS cute! :)

the grumbles said...

that's so cute!

Mickey D. said...

What a pleasant little festival! But it also has an air of sophistication about it too.

For the record, I think basil got robbed. I enjoy it immensely more than dill. Maybe next year, basil.

(Did you tell that delightful looking woman that you were taking her picture for your blog? I think it's cute that you did!)

65 Roses for Marcia said...

I would totally get into this, especially the free samples...

Amber said...

I love crazy small town festivals! Like the McClure Radish Festival. Now there's a good time.

Iris Took said...

I love it!! I would totally go to something like this and I LOVE cooking with fresh herbs (they are immensely better than spices in jars).

Cottage cheese bread? I will have to trust you on that.

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

This entire post made me smile.

I am SO glad that you started a blog. :)

"Herb Daze" made me laugh out loud.

AND, that cottage cheese dill bread sounds amazing.

I love that you went to this. And, I love that you reported on it, my little forever journalist.

Maura Bowen said...

Dill, really? I thought Rosemary was a shoo-in this year!

So I published my first post, Shannon. Thanks so much for the encouragement. Here's the link:


wrestling kitties said...

Oh, how fun are these festivals. Where I grew up I think we had a little festival for everything as well. Corn Fest, Pig Roast, Strawberry Fest, Craft Festival, The I am Bored and Want to Have a Festival Fest. Love them!

I agree Herb Daze may have gotten my husband over there for the wrong reasons. I adore fresh herbs....this looks like a fun festival.

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