Before or after you pick up your share under the pavilion, take a few minutes to explore the Culinary Herb Garden, located between the greenhouse and the farm fields. Sara, our herb gardener and volunteer coordinator, will be sharing information throughout the season on how to harvest the many herb varieties we grow and how to use them to enhance your meals.
In general, the herbs in the Culinary Garden are available for you to pick yourself. As with other pick-your-own crops, they can be harvested on the day you pick up, or one day later. All of the herbs in the garden are labelled. Any herb ready for harvest will have a yellow circle placed next to the sign to indicate that it is ready to be picked.
Please only harvest where you see the circles! Whether herbs are ready for harvest depends on a variety of factors and each herb will have its chance during the season.
The perennial herbs that are ready to pick this week include lovage, marjoram, oregano and thyme. The warm spring and regular rainfall has provided us with early bounty!
- Lovage is an excellent accompaniment to soups and stews. A little goes a long way, and it freezes well for future use.
- Marjoram has a scent and flavor similar to oregano and can be used as a milder substitute. Marjoram aids in digestion. It can also help protect against common illnesses, reduce inflammation and relieve stress. Try it fresh or dried in soups, sauces, salads and stews.
- Oregano has a strong aroma like sage and thyme, with a warm pungent taste. This herb has strong antiseptic properties and is a highly potent antibiotic.
- Thyme has a piney and peppery taste with slightly lemony and minty notes. It is frequently used in Mediterranean dishes and pairs perfectly with fish, chicken, beans, tomatoes, lemons and wine. Thyme has been long known for its antiseptic properties and can relieve head and chest congestion. It has been used as a gargle to relieve sore throats and mouth ulcers.
Herb Harvesting Guidelines
As when harvesting any plant, picking herbs requires care in order to preserve them and enable them to continue to grow. Follow these instructions (and watch this video Ember made last summer) to harvest your herbs while ensuring the plants remain strong and keep growing through the entire season.
- Please always use scissors to cut a small amount from each of several different plants. Bring your own pair!
- Snip individual stems no more than 1/3 of the way toward the bottom of the plant. Think of harvesting as giving the herbs a trim so you are always leaving plenty of the plant behind to keep it healthy.
- Never pull or tug at herb plants with your hands; you might pull out the roots with the stem and prevent the herb from growing more leaves.
- For the marjoram and oregano, please be mindful at this time to trim the tops several inches down to keep the herbs from flowering. We want to avoid these herbs in particular from going to flower so early in the season!
The herb garden will be open frequently so you can pick fresh. Please only harvest what you can use in a given week. If you’re hoping to dry your herbs for the winter, pick a little every week so that over time you collect enough while still leaving fresh herbs for everyone to share. Please be mindful as you harvest and always supervise your children very closely in the gardens.
If you ever need assistance or are unsure about how to pick a herb, please ask a farm staff member for help. If you ever have questions or comments about the herbs or would like to help out in the garden, feel free to get in touch with Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to to meeting you in the Culinary Herb Garden and keep your eyes out for a new addition this year we will be featuring later in the season!