Jan Norris is the editor of the quarterly magazine, Florida Food & Farm and is celebrating their 1st year anniversary. As a journalist, she’s worked as food editor at The Palm Beach Post, and freelancer for the Sun Sentinel, the Coastal Star and Florida Weekly newspapers and Florida Travel & Life magazine, among others. She’s a fifth-generation Floridian who loves her state - quirky bits and all. She dabbles in a backyard garden with mixed success.
Program: Jan & Friends (Chefs and Growers)
Jan will be bringing her chef and grower friends, all the people she works with in putting this most useful magazine in the county, together. They’ll be talking to us about all our local produce, foods, wines & cheese. Whatever our part of South Florida produces and where to find it.
There will be free copies of this magazine for everybody and can be found at Whole Foods and other places.
Joanna Helms, founder of Mama Jo’s Sunshine Herbals, a familiar voice and face on the in the “Herbal Community” will come to the Mounts to give a lecture on FLORIDA’S MEDICINAL WILDFLOWERS, Wednesday, March 23, 2016 starting at 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Donnie Brown, our president, is captivated by her knowledge and the items that she offers in her unique retail store in Indian Harbour Beach, FL. For more details, pick up the Mounts Events & Program schedule.
Joining us on April 26th will be Indian food blogger and cook, Nirali Patel. Nirali brings with her 13 years of Indian culinary experience - from cooking traditional recipes with her grandmother and mother to developing easy Indian recipes without sacrificing the taste and authenticity, Nirali aims to educate the masses about how easy and healthy Indian cooking can be. She will be sharing a tasty and satisfying vegan dish called ‘channa masala’ which is a chickpea curry as well as discussing the health benefits of the array of spices used in Indian cooking.
February Chris Rollins/Trop. Herbs
March Annual Herbal Auction
April Nirali Patel/Indian Chef
May EHS presents “Peppers”
The Old Year ended, as usual, for The Evening Herb Society with our Holiday Potluck Dinner in the Mounts Auditorium on December 8th, 2015. The party setup began when the wonderful Board Members, Ingrid Menz and Mary Wickensheimer, shoved tables and chairs around to turn the “classroom” into a “dining hall.” That all happened because we were unable to take advantage this year of the Begonia Society’s previous day party setup, due to the calendar putting them one week after EHS’s party. Then in the late afternoon, Donnie Brown showed up with an assortment of festive tablecloths (some of them round instead of rectangular! but we still managed to cover the tables in festive red). Marci Green was already in the kitchen, carving ham and turkey and seeing to gravy. Quickly following were the party’s decorators: Roberta Lima, Susan Colfels, Zeneida Moreno and Heather Stewart. Roberta supplied a steady stream of red, white and green tropical foliage and little palm fonds for the grouping in the center of the tables, while Susan and Heather arranged them. As she’s done for several years, Heather brought her collection of shiny Christmas decorations, including wonderful tiny Christmas trees; to add the final festive touch, everything was ready, including Donnie’s holiday Sorrel-Ginger Beer Punch, at 5:30 when the first guests, carrying potluck dishes began to arrive.
The first stop for our members and their guests, was the check-in table, manned by Leslie Rigg, taking attendance and handing out EHS’s annual raffle tickets for members to win handsome rosemary “trees”, found after some extensive searching by Ingrid, followed by Fall Plant Sale hanging baskets and a tray of “hot” peppers, tended for the occasion by Meg Vandereedt.
By 6:00, the promised time to sit down and eat, 20 people were lined up to help themselves to a fragrant table of holiday classic dishes, intriguing new dishes, just lots of good food, but only one little dish of cranberry jelly. The previous year, we had nine, mostly homemade cranberry donations, including Brenda Skaggs’s “Florida Cranberry,” made from the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) she grew. With potluck, you just never know! I’ve been to picnics where 50% of the food was various potato salads – all good, of course.
A raffle ticket has been presented to everyone and as their number was called, they got to come up to the front and choose their plant. In the midst of the excitement, we missed most of the winner’s names, but Heather, for the second time in three years, took home, to her great delight, a rosemary tree. With that kind of luck, I hope she is playing the Powerball lotto.
Winding down, leftovers were shared and bundled up to take home, plant cuttings gathered to start cuttings at home and Zeneida showed her expertise as a new Master Gardener by organizing, in zip time, the breakdown of the tables back to the Auditorium’s usual class room set up. The Fall 2015 class of Master Gardeners, were to have their final exam first thing the next day.
This was the best attended Holiday Potluck for several years. All of you who attended can attest that a good time was had by all and everyone ate well. Thank you so much, EHS values your support and the enjoyment we have when we get together. Good work!
The day after our Potluck, Donnie Brown gathered up a tray full of herb plants, arranged a selection of cut herbs on a tray and went to the Boynton Garden Club’s Potluck Luncheon and December meeting to give a “Sage, Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme,” growing and cooking with herbs talk. The meeting was in the Boynton Womens’ Club building on U.S. 1, one of the most gorgeous of the “Old Florida” buildings in the area. The potluck luncheon was elegant, and the audience was interested in learning more about herbs, smelling, tasting and taking home samples of the herb sprigs that I’d picked up from the cold case of Woolbright Green Market. It is on the eponymous road, where I also got 10 samples of 5-inch potted herbs and spoke about how to grow them. The Garden Club gave me a honorarium which I am donating to Mounts for the benefit of our Herb/Wellness Garden, as a Master Gardener grateful for 25 years of learning.
Donnie Brown, President
Notes from the Treasurer:
As nominating chair, I hereby list the Officers/Board Members for the year 2016. Donnie Brown, President; Leslie Rigg, Vice President; Marci Green, Secretary; Ingrid Menz, Treasurer; Bernard Pages, Asst. Treasurer; Meg Vandereedt, Past President; Cathy Azzarello, Newsletter editor extraordinaire; Mary Wickensheimer, our valued Webmaster and Researcher. All have accepted and we are all looking forward to a great 2016, gaining knowledge and sharing the joy of “herbin.”
Although Meg Vandereedt, herb plant orderer extraordinaire, has been working on EHS’s participation in Mounts Fall Plant Sale for months and weeks beforehand, it was not until Friday afternoon, the day before the sale, that there was anything green to see. And what that was, was wonderful. Our big tent had been set up by Past President Dennis Hessing, who stores it between the biannual sales. Meg saw to all the herbs ordered from Kitchen Garden in Naples and Pinder’s Nursery in Stuart arrived in good shape. Mounts Horticulturist, Mike Page set up our herb display tables in good time, and then magically found their way onto the tables arranged in alphabetical order, and the tent supports were decorated with luscious hanging baskets. When I arrived with herb bamboo-pole ID tags I’d made to stick in the plant trays, the EHS tent looked impressive and impeccable, filled with the choicest of green and gray plants that literally perfumed the air. EHS’s tent really looked professional and so pretty. No wonder, our displays, years ago, at the South Florida Fair Horticultural Tent always took “First Prize.” Nothing beats bushy, well-grown “filling the air with scents” plants.
On Saturday when I arrived at Mounts, pre-lunch time with a cooler of sandwiches I’d just finished making, I was surprised – and delighted- to see that our herbs met everyone’s expectations. The tent display tables were more than half empty and all the trays of backup herbs that had covered the ground beneath the tables were sold too. That’s the way EHS likes to see a sale go!
Lunchtime was salads, sandwiches, fruit, heavenly lemon verbena cake and more. No herb tent volunteer went hungry! Now Ingrid will fill you in on lunch/volunteers and the rest of the sale because by 2 pm, I had faded with what I’d been sure I’d been rid of, baby-size bronchitis, and was sent home with my collection of hot pepper and heirloom tomato starts, to cough and hack away in private. I left so impressed with how willing all our volunteers were and what a good time we all had together at the Plant Sale. The sales are such a good way to get to know your Plant Society members, to keep up with old friendships and experience Mounts Garden at its most festive – it’s a Garden Party. Thank you all for participating so well and cheerfully.
Donnie Brown, President Emeritus
The weather cooperated up to a point for the Plant Sale. There was no rain during the sale, however, those who were there can attest that it was hot and humid.
However, it did not hold back the customers from coming to the sale on Saturday morning. The rush started at 8am and never let up till about lunch time. Thanks go to Brenda Skaggs and Kitty Philips who were there both days from opening to closing time. Brenda sees a customer and says ‘Can I help up you’ and she’s made a sale and is on to the next one. She may not know it, but I have adopted her line and it’s been successful. Also, many thanks to Marci Green, Susan Colfels, K.C .Foster, Zaneida Moreno, Linda Spillane, Lee Laupus, Kathleen Burford, Mary Wickensheimer, Leslie Rigg, Roberta Lima, Ginny McCreery, Palm Chalker. All of the volunteers are members of EHS and all I can say, without you we could not do this and be successful. The money we banked was $867.50 which allows us to keep our society functioning and donate to the Mounts. Marci and Meg always bring interesting eats and tasty ones. Donnie brings delicious sandwiches, prepared for the herbivore and carnivore. Ingrid supplied Honey Dew Melon. Kitty brings unusual stuff and some of us ask “Did you make that?” Brenda brought her famous Verbena Cake that I only wanted to eat a small sliver of, but it was so, so good that I ate two more and this time respectable pieces. How is that for will power! On Sunday morning, Mary brought her expertly brewed coffee that was so appreciated. There was candy on the table. I don’t think anybody left hungry either day.
Some of the left over plants and there were not that many, are already planted in the Wellness/Herb Garden at the Mounts. In a couple of months, look for the cornflowers that should be blooming then. You will find blue salvias with blooms and some without blooms. There was a new entry at our booth which came from Pinders and it’s called “Rose Basil,” and the left overs are now in the Herb/Wellness Garden. It will be interesting to see how they develop and how long they last. The rosemary in the center around the fountain has faded and we are in the process of replacing those plants. The Holy Basil is doing well, some of the gingers have died back as they always do this time of the year. I will be planting Nasturtium seeds soon.
I want to mention that at the October meeting, Marci made a “Pumpkin Sauced Ravioli Bake” that everyone enjoyed so much that we all want the recipe. The tasting table was overflowing for that meeting. You are all such awesome cooks.
Ingrid Menz, Treasurer
I will be addressing significant herbs and how they benefit the skin. Herbs have been proven to assist in: tightening the skin, reducing wrinkles, healing common skin issues such as acne and rosacea, as well as many more serious conditions like eczema and psoriasis. I will also be discussing different herbs to use on each skin type. Medical research has shown that medicinal herbs should be our first defense in avoiding the harsh chemicals and side effects that come with mainstream pharmaceuticals. Let me show you step-by-step how to manage your own skin the ORGANIC, SAFE and NATURAL way!
I began my journey in rural Illinois, surrounded by vegetation, farming and natural ways of life. As a child, I found pleasure in gardening and cooking in mom’s kitchen, honing my skills for many years into young adulthood. When I moved to Florida in late 2000, I knew I had to share my passionate knowledge with the world. Although I have always preferred natural products and remedies, it is apparent that South Florida (as well as many other parts of the world) shares a more “convenient” and chemical filled mindset.
Once I had my two children it was clear to me the kind of world I needed to bring them into: one that although convenience IS important, health and well being should never be sacrificed! Looking for the best most organic and natural products was not easy, so I found my best solution was to head straight to my own home (the kitchen). That’s where The Crunchy Home was born. I went on to manage and run my own all natural health and juice bar, making every product from scratch (let’s just say there were a lot of sleepless nights!) I took classes and taught seminars on why choosing the right products are important. I graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Broward College and am continuing classes to become a certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in Holistic Dermatology. I am currently working as a Medical Assistant at Minars Dermatology in Hollywood, FL.
The Crunchy Home started from my innate love to create. From tinkering and concocting in my mom’s kitchen to running my own all natural product line, it has been what I do for as long as I have been “me”. My goal is to spread awareness and help teach others that there is an alternative to the modern chemical filled world!
SEPTEMBER MEETING: We definitely learned from September’s enthusiastic speaker, Dave Weychert, founder of Majic Earth (worm castings), that earthworms are truly the gardener’s friend. The addition of worm castings, made easy to acquire and use in bags of Majic Earth, makes an astonishing difference to our herb plants, indeed, to all the plants, including orchids in our gardens and backyards.
Dave retails Majic Earth in three different size bags and whole-sales it by the ton. It’s non-toxic, people and pet safe, 100% organic, how much better could a fertilizer be? If you didn’t attend September’s meeting and get a bag or two or three like Fatima NeJame, visit www.majicearth.com for a store near you. Ingrid Menz was the enthusiastic first purchaser of a big bag of worm castings which she’s already applied to some of her favorite plants, watching and waiting to see how their growing process improves. Ingrid is a good grower: her Ylang-Ylang from seed plants and Moujean Tea or, as the locals call, Bahama Berry, show up regularly on the Herb Raffle Table at EHS Meetings, as do her scented Geraniums and Begonia plants.
HERB/WELLNESS GARDEN: Recently Mount’s amazing horticulturist, Joel Crippen and our own Herb Garden Angel, Ingrid Menz, are in the process of updating our garden beds, removing delicate plants like basil and sage plants that suffered too much in the excessive summer heat, pruning that grew too much, preparing the garden beds for winter season additions as our best herb growing season begins in October. New plantings are always on the agenda this month, including our now iconic winter flourish of Nasturtiums, so delightful to see in their full, bouncing glory and with such useful, edible flowers, leaves and seeds. Ingrid has seeds saved from this past growing season, Joel is bringing young plants from the Mount’s Nursery, and I, committed to being a Nasturtium grower from the age of five, slipped a couple of packets of seeds to Ingrid for inclusion in the garden.
The red “false” Roselle with its carmine-colored, edible leaves is very large and an eye-catcher in our green garden. The “false” green Roselle, green leaves and red stems, has the most deep red flowers that resemble red velvet. “Absolutely beautiful,” reports Ingrid. Note that red and green Roselle’s leaves are a tasty vegetable, and the flowers make a delicious tea.
Joel and Ingrid have renewed the raised garden beds with the beautiful and light mix of soil that Mounts Garden has available. The Gingers are slowly giving it up as the weather is changing and now is the time to harvest edible Ginger. The Gingers will rest during our winter (and it’s supposed to be a chilly one) and reappear in the Spring. The Bay Laurel bushes at the Garden’s entrance are a show stopper, they’ve grown so large and very healthy. Bay is one of the Christmas herbs, along with Rosemary. Follow Joel and Ingrid’s example: Refurbish your garden now. October/November is the time to plant herbs!
MOUNTS FALL PLANT SALE: EHS’s big Herb Booth is in the same place as always. Volunteers work a shift or two, some the entire day; Sunday’s shifts particularly need volunteers so ante up and call Ingrid (561-762-6749c.) or sign up at the October Meeting on the 27th. If you don’t volunteer, you don’t get to enjoy the weekend lunch spread the Board Members make and donate (and, WOW, how neat, volunteers often bring a dish or a plate of cookies). No chairs are allowed in the tent, so if you’re a bit of a “sitter,” bring your own chair and remember to sit behind the tent. We’re continually grateful to Past President, Dennis Hessing for storing our 10’ by 20’ tent and all its gear every year and then, setting up and taking down the tent. It’s such a “guy thing,” and Coconut Art and Craft, Marcus Alphage is always there to help too.
Past President Meg Vandereedt has been working on ordering the herbs for the Plant Sale since the summer. This is certainly one of the most taxing jobs at EHS. How many of each variety of herbs to order, going over past sale lists of ordered herbs, and then the close-up list of what sold and what didn’t... and one can never be completely sure. We run out of Catnip, baskets and pots, one sale, so we order a bit more for the next sale and we have enough Catnip left over, for all the feral cats in Palm Beach? Why? Who knows, but it’ll drive you crazy. Anyway, Meg has been ordering plants for years, successfully and professionally, and the plants always look good and scent the air around EHS’ Booth in such an appealing way. Keeping track with our growers, Kitchen Gardens in Naples and Pinders Nursery in Stuart (our major supplier which Meg found for EHS) about how the growing season is going, and no growing season is ever the same, weather and plant disease and insect infestation are all possible. Meg is so good at all this, the growers love working with her, and EHS always has an enticing tent of herbs, but as in any horticultural event, a lot of finger-nail biting has gone into it, because as any gardener will tell you, “It’s a crap game out there”.
When the plants do arrive at Mounts, the day before the sale, Dennis has the tent set up and Ingrid Menz and other volunteers whip the flats of plants into alphabetical order and get the hanging baskets up on the tent poles. They’re very good at this and have it down pat, having it done for so long. We are ready for the next day!!!
The Plant Sale opens on Saturday, November 7th, at 8 am for Mounts Members with a free continental breakfast in the Hutchinson portico, until 9 am when the Garden officially opens to the public. We, at the EHS Booth, hope to see all of you there, Saturday or Sunday. Some of us will be there both days, since there’s so much to see and buy and carry home.
SEPTEMBER TASTING TABLE: Apples and their many uses was the food of the month, and a good half of the Tasting Table did feature apples. No one brought their recipes in for publication in this Newsletter and we, the grateful members who ate all that good food, love recipes and we love to print them. Cooks, work on this, won’t you?
Punch/fresh cider & fruit also sliced Carambola/Starfruit from Donnie Brown; Tropical Hibiscus Tea with Lemonade, also a fantastic Waldorf Salad with Romaine Leaves from Marci Green; Kale Salad with Apples from Ingrid Menz; Chaya with Onion, Butter and Olive Oil from Jeanie Fernsworth; Quinoa-Apple-Swiss Chard Salad & Blue Corn Chips from Ruth Lynch; Apple Galette from Kitty Philips; fresh Apples from Sagaponack, L.I. NY from Ginny McCreery; Triple Ginger Snaps and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Vanilla Wafers from Jane Lee.
HOLIDAY POTLUCK DINNER: Start thinking about what delicious dish you’ll be bringing to our annual celebration. The Fall issue of the Mount’s Leaflet listed the time as 7pm, that is INCORRECT. The time to sit down to eat and celebrate is 6 pm. The date is December 8th, a Tuesday, and as usual, we’re in the Auditorium. Do come on time, so that the Holiday Table is full and the food is still warm.
Donnie Brown, President Emeritus