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Beautiful, Bountiful Basil

basil lemonade

 

The big heat of Summer is here, the time that Basil begins growing with beautiful bounty! We’ve just started delivering bunches to the co-op and I’m happily munching as much as I can.

I’m a pretty serious Basil hound, using fresh leaves like lettuce and smearing pesto on anything I can. Good old sweet ‘Genovese’ Basil is my standard, but it’s fun having the different flavors of different varieties so we also grow ‘Lemon’ (makes an incredible sun tea), ‘Dark Opal’ (a purple-colored variety of Italian Sweet Basil), ‘Thai’ (a spicier Asian cousin that holds its flavor better when cooked with heat) and ‘Sacred’ (native to India, also called ‘Holy’ Basil or ‘Tulsi’).

Basil has been traditionally used as herbal medicine, and is good food being rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

So delicious! And it’s good for you! Enjoy some new recipes this Summer- you might get addicted like me but it’s kindof hard to see a downside to that 😉

Frosty Basil Lemonadehttps://www.vitamix.com/recipes/frosty-basil-lemonade

Purple Pestohttp://www.gardeners.com/Make-Your-Own-Pesto/7686,default,pg.html

Thai Basil Sangriahttp://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria

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First Herb Harvest

fresh-cut chives, catnip and thyme

I might deny I said this come the rose blossom days of sun-filled June, but I love Spring the best.

(Wait, I already have to take it back. The rushing in of summertime in the weeks around Summer Solstice is what I really love. Spring is just thrilling in a different way.)

The garden is jumping up fast and we we were able to start cutting some herbs today. Chives are always the first to fully grow out, but our well-loved Sorrel isn’t far behind. We hope to be cutting Sorrel and Garlic Chives next week, so wish us some rain 🙂

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Shiitake Soap Surprise

Unveiling my first-ever batch of Shiitake hand-milled soap. These cocoa butter soaps are palm oil-free, made with our farm-grown Shiitake, and naturally scented with Bay, Amyris, Ravensara, and Lemon essential oils*.

(*I think this blend was inspired by some recent island hopping in the West Indies- It occurred to me as I was cooking the soap. I’d originally planned a sage/cedarwood kind of thing.)

Soap takes several weeks to cure, so I have a bit to wait before I can start one of the best parts of my job: product testing!

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Digging in, Sprouting up

Apothecary's Rose
Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis)

The bulk of our planting is done and everyone is digging in and sprouting up. It looks like a garden out there again!

I’ve started harvesting heirloom roses, but don’t have a plan for them yet. Maybe a glycerite? A perfume? Definitely some infused oil!

Rose petals help smooth and soften dry, wrinkled skin, so I like to use the infused oil in face and eye creams. It also makes a great addition to an all-purpose healing salve for its antiseptic and irritation-soothing properties.

I once made an incredible batch of incense with roses– I think it had myrrh and orange peel in it too. Wonder if I’d ever be able to find that old recipe in my piles of notes….

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How herban farmers kick off the off-season

preservative-free skin cream

Final testing has started on the new no-preservative moisturizers… Specially formulated to regenerate city-stressed, aging, and environmentally-damaged skin; using only natural ingredients that are organic, cruelty-free, and actually pronounceable.

Because what’s in your skincare shouldn’t be on the list of things you have to worry about.

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Turn of the Season

fall asters

The season is coming to an end. Our herb garden was done in by the freeze two nights ago and all that’s left in the veggie garden are greens we have protected under chenille row covers. (Asters photo taken the day before the frost)

Greens still growing include Lettuce, Kale, Tatsoi, Mizuna, and Arugula, and we’ll be harvesting them for a few more weeks yet.

I brought a couple of Rosemary plants indoors to overwinter as well as my big Patchouli and Rose Begonia, so I’m not totally without my plant friends. But I’m already missing the garden….