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:
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.