The Busiest Weekend Yet

June 9, 2008

Talk about hot and sticky weather! I took a road trip with my sister and nephew down to Brampton this weekend and the humidity was a little unbearable.

On the way back, we stopped off at Richter’s Herbs, the mecca for Canadian herbs. I was pretty excited to check out their plants for sale and entered their stinking-hot greenhouse in anticipation.

Oh man, someone really needed to crack a window in there as I started sweating immediately upon entering. It was too bad as it would have been nice to stay longer but it was just too ridiculously hot and humid. I headed towards the mint section, specifically looking for the New Westerfield hybrid mints, a trademark of mint-crazy Jim Westerfield in Illinois, USA.

Mint does not come true from seed (meaning it may or may not have the same characteristics as the parent plant) and the best way to ensure that you have the right type is to get a cutting or buy a plant. Since I wanted to get a mint that would do well candied in a glass of iced tea or lemonade, I decided to buy a Fruit Sensations mint. At Richter’s, I kept lightly rubbing the leaves to smell the subtle differences between the different plants, however, at some point all the smells got jumbled together. I do have to say that Sweet Pear (one of the first ones I sniffed) didn’t really smell as much like pear as I’d hoped and Jim’s Fruit mint has a real in-your-face minty scent.

I also picked up some Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander, lime balm and Zorba Red oregano, an ornamental. The only thing I regret not looking for was zaatar, a Middle Eastern herb used in hummus.

Of course there were seeds:

and gifts:

We packed up our herb plants, got back in the air-conditioned car and tootled off to the Cottage Gardener!

We happened to catch them on their last day of selling plants to the public. There was a little nursery with all of their plants for sale:

We did a quick tour of their isolation beds, separated by distance and trees to reduce cross-pollination.

Since Sunday was their last day, they were going to plant all of the plants that were left-over from their stand. They also get late frost in their area and were waiting until this week to start planting out into their isolation beds.

Here’s a funny little story:

My dad was one of the founders of the Organic Crop Producers & Processors (OCPP) back when we were growing up. My sister, then a teenager, designed the logo. When I checked the Cottage Gardener’s website for their address on my phone, I noticed they had been certified organic by OCPP so I told them the story about our family and how my sister had created the logo. Well, they were so happy to meet her they gave her a Djena Lee’s Golden Girl tomato plant, an heirloom tomato plant chosen by Slow Food USA as part of its Ark of Taste.  This is the first year that the Cottage Gardener had this variety and it was so new that it wasn’t in the catalogue yet.  So of course, I wanted one too so we bartered and my sister and I did some Inuit throat singing for a Djena Lee for me. I have to say that was the first time I’ve ever throat sang for a plant!

I’ll have a report on the Kemptville Farmer’s Market and Veg Stock as soon as I relax a bit from our whirl-wind trip.

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8 Responses to “The Busiest Weekend Yet”

  1. Donica Ben Says:

    I have chocolate, orange, spear and pepper mint plants.

    Want to trade cuttings? I’m in the states (about 7 minutes from the border – an hour from Ottawa) so if you think they’d be held up in customs for too long to bother, I understand (never shipped anything to Canada). :-)

    BTW, I was looking at Richter’s website last week. Mother’s Day gifts for the next decade will be bought there. :-D

  2. Joy Says:

    Now I have some “pictures” in mind when I read the catalog .. they are a great company but I understand about the heat and humidity .. Kingston is a pressure cooker with it all too !
    Great post and pictures !
    Joy

  3. Kathy Says:

    Donica, definitely, let’s trade! Are you in Ogdensburg? I go there about once a month (more when I was going gardening crazy) to Wal-Mart, Lowes and Jo-Ann’s. I actually want to go back soon and pick up some more Amish baskets from the ladies off the 37. I’m only 20 minutes from the border in Kemptville so maybe we can visit each other’s gardens. I can bring mint cuttings too.

    Thanks Joy! I wish I had been more comfortable walking around there but it was just too darn hot.

  4. Gillian Says:

    Throat singing? For real?
    If so, that’s very cool!

    What was the report on the Farmer’s Market? How did it go?

  5. Donica Ben Says:

    Ack! I’m so sorry I lost track of this site. :-)

    I’ve actually just purchased some westerfields (pear, wild berries and iced latte) and a banana mint. They’re set to ship next week.

    However, the US nursery that carries westerfields doesn’t have berries and cream. DYING for it. :-)

    Email me? donicaben1977 at yahoo :-D

  6. Donica Ben Says:

    How did you know I was in Ogdensburg? :-D Actually a little hamlet called Flackville five minutes away from it on 68.

  7. Donica Ben Says:

    How far away is Richter’s from me then? :-) I thought it was out near t-dot.


  8. [...] of years ago), Mary from the Cottage Gardener (we visited her farm last year and did a bit of impromptu throat singing), another Kemptville area gardener as crazy about tomatoes as me and Telsing from The Veggie Patch [...]


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