Friday, July 20, 2018

Mississippi Queen, Green Tea

We are so fortunate to have several tea gardens in the United States. The most familiar, and perhaps oldest is the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, SC known for its American Classic tea. But lately, tea plantations are sprouting forth and one of the newer tea gardens is the Great Mississippi Tea Company in Brookhaven, MS. Having planted hundreds of tea seedlings in 2014, they bill themselves as pioneers in artisanal U.S. Farm-to-table teas. You can follow their tea growing adventure on their facebook page as well, watching the planting, plucking, harvesting processes through pictures and stories, success and occasional failures.
Their yield is limited, and offered through The Cultured Cup out of Dallas, TX, Expect to pay a premium price for this quality USA grown tea and coupled with postage charges makes it a specialty treat. It was exciting to receive this 100% Mississippi hand-plucked and processed green tea. I purchased some from their autumnal harvest last fall. The dry leaf, above, was wiry and assorted sizes.

 Brewed, according to the instruction on the package (4 heaping teaspoons, 8 oz. water, 195 degrees, and 3.5 minutes steeping time), it yields a delightful cup of American grown tea. The flavor notes are touted to be 'savory notes of edamame, spring peas, and southern fried okra. A taste of Mississippi.' Not sure I detected the fried okra, but it was an enjoyable cup, one to be savored.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Herbal Books by Bertha

Bertha P. Reppert, our mother and the founder of The Rosemary House was a prolific writer. She wrote numerous articles for many magazines, a featured article in the New York Times about Saffron, and a weekly article on herbs for the small local paper.

Her first book, A Heritage of Herbs, was her bicentennial project and focuses on Native Herbs.  She was way ahead of her time on the concept of growing Native plants.

Next came Herbs with Confidence. This award wining book is a primer on growing herbs. It opens with the basic requirements for herb gardening and the use of herbs, while the back of the book features individual monographs on each culinary herb with how to grow it, how to use it and a recipe and craft for each herb. 

Growing your Herb Business was published by Storey Publications and is an encouraging "How-To" book for opening your shop, farm stand or booth. Since it was written pre-internet, it does not include info on web marketing. However, it is still considered a "must read" for those who aspire to own a little brick and mortar shop or stand.

The Brides Herbal features many creative ideas for weddings and showers with a romantic, sentimental herbal theme. Favors, Decorations, Bouquets and Recipes complete this fun book.

Mrs Reppert's TwelveMonth Herbal is a favorite of all who read it. Written as a daily journal of herb musings, uses, recipes, facts, lore and trivia this book can be picked up and read over and over.  Many folks tell us they add some of there special herb moments to each of the pages. It is a lovely inspiring herbal that can be picked up and enjoyed starting with any page of the book!
Thanks Mom, for this great legacy of herbal knowledge! 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Mulberry Creek Herb Farm

It is always fun for us to visit other Herb Farms and Herb Shops. On a recent trip to Michigan, we stopped at Mulberry Creek Herb Farm . It was a day that they were scheduled to be closed so we fully anticipated just viewing the farm from outside the gates. Happily, Karen and Mark were there watering and cleaning up from their spring Fairy Festival Weekend so we were invited in. I am so pleased we got to take a peak in these super clean green houses as they are gorgeous and it is clear that Mulberry Creek can grow plants!
Rosemary Trees

Bonsai Trees

This wonderful collection of Scented Geraniums were all well labeled with their name and use and even a recipe or two.
Lots of Fairy Gardens as we were visiting a day after the festival.

                                                 The tires are both colorful and functional!
Love this garden located in Huron, OH with all its special touches. So glad we were able to visit!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Wedding Rice or, Happy Anniversary, Susanna & David!

One of the very first products we added to The Rosemary House shelves in 1968 was Wedding Rice. The beautiful artwork created for the wedding rice package was designed and hand drawn by artist Marj. Reppert and it features herbal symbolism and bridal themes as a frame for the wedding portrait of our maternal grandparents, Ottylie Elgert and Gustav Peplau, who were wed on February 12, 1907.

Wedding Rice was a mixture of white and pink rice (dyed pink by dear old dad) combined with Rose petals for Love and Rosemary for Remembrance. Rice was traditionally thrown and symbolizes fruitfulness, or fertility. 

        This mixture would be sold in bulk or packaged in individual small tulle favors for flower girls to pass out after the ceremony. Rice dyes nicely with food coloring and we would even create a custom color to match your wedding colors. When it was no longer popular to toss rice, we created "Bride Seed" which was a blend of Bird Seed, Rosemary and Rosebuds. Now we remember this product from day's gone by as a once clever idea but no longer popular at today's bridal celebrations.

Speaking of weddings, Happy 20th Anniversary to Susanna and David! A memorable wedding took place at Peace Church followed by a celebratory reception in the gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances. Stroll down memory lane with this blog post!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sparkly Glass in the Garden

While traveling in Ohio last month , this bottle tree caught my eye.  Love all the blue and the way the bottles are hung.

The same house had lots of glass touches here and there. 
If I lived near here I know I would be making friends.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Sarsaparilla and Birch Beer

Each year at the Kutztown Folk Festival the Birch Beer, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla Sodas are always popular. Back in the day the roots were distilled and the beverage did have a small percent of alcohol in it. There are a large number of roots used to make the sodas: Birch Bark, Sassafras, Sarsaparilla, Pipsissewa, Wintergreen,  Licorice, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root and many others. Spices are also used such as ginger, star anise, and cinnamon. 
We hope to see you at the festival this year! It runs from Saturday, June 30th through Sunday, July 8, 2018. Look for Susanna at the 'Herb Garden' area. She'll be sipping sarsaparilla soda and vending herbs, teas, soaps, and fragrant oils.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

PA German Flower Lore

This colorful placard is posted at the Kutztown Folk Festival. This annual event is held the first week in July. (June 30 - July 8, 2018)  It runs for 10 days and features artisans and crafters of PA German heritage. We organize the herb garden for the event and have a booth as well. Not saying "Thank You" for a plant is a big deal around here as they won't grow or flower.  Do you do that as well?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Mayor's Magic Mustard Mix

The Mayor's Magic Mustard Mix is one of the popular products to grace the shelves at The Rosemary House. It's a blend of 23 (!) herbs that you add to regular, inexpensive, salad style prepared mustard to create a unique flavor combination for your next bar-b-q, hot dog or as a dipping sauce for pretzels. It is also yummy on glazed ham. The packet of herbs includes recipes for Mustard Butter, Potato Salad and much more. 

Over the years, mom created specialty blends that honored family members. Obviously, this one was created in honor of dear ol' Dad, Byron Reppert, Mayor of Mechanicsburg from 1978-1982. The artwork depicts his political soapbox, the gavel he used during meetings, and shows him blending a batch of mayor's mustard mix in a Reppert crock.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Rosemary House Timeline

A Rosemary House Timeline


1968 – The doors opened with just one room of sparse inventory displayed on metal shelving purchased from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.

1969 – MYOB was part of The Rosemary House, you may remember this phrase as “Mind Your Own Business” in this case it stood for My Own Business and it was a shop inside a shop, selling patches, love beads, tissue paper flowers.  This area has morphed over the years and is now our fairy corner.

1970 – Our goal was to add one product to the shelves monthly.  We introduced the Mint Mold candy molds in the shop and at the Hershey Dutch Days craft show.  Our herbal products and mint molds proved so popular Bertha Reppert went home and stayed up all night to type and mimeograph our first mail order catalog.

1976 – Bertha Reppert publishes her first book, A Heritage of Herbs. Her bi-centennial project, this book features native herbs.  Our best selling Roastmary achieves fame in a feature article in the Patriot News.

1979- Roastmary is sold to 38 states and 4 countries

1984 – Marj Reppert opens Rosemary Remembrances II, Jim Thorpe, PA

1985 – Susanna Reppert takes over as manager of The Rosemary House

1986 – Herbs with Confidence is printed

1989 – Roastmary has been sold in 47 states and 7 countries

1990 – Nancy Reppert opens Sweet Remembrances Tea Room

1993 – We begin our “Herbal Affair” event which quickly becomes our Fairy Festival.  We had 30 attendees and we were excited!

1994 – Bertha Reppert writes “Growing Your Herb Business” book published by Storey Publications

1996 – TwelveMonth Herbal is published and Bertha Reppert wins the herbal professional award by the International Herb Association

1999- Bertha Reppert gives lectures in 8 states but dies suddenly in June. 

2000 – Susanna Reppert completes her Herbal Therapeutics Course

2001 – Roastmary is sold in all 50 states and 14 countries

2005- The Rosemary House receives a face lift replacing all the original metal shelving and peg board.

2011 – Byron Reppert, the behind the scenes support man passes.

2013 – The Fairy Festival reaches attendance of 600.  Overwhelmed!

2017 – Pennsylvania Tea Festival begins, attendance 500. We were prepared!
2018 - Celebrating 50 years! And Continuing the Traditions!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy First Day of Summer!

                                           We're taking tea in the garden today. And you?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Celebrating Dear Old Dad on Father's Day!

As Rosemary House celebrates their 50th Anniversary this year, we would be remiss in not honoring dear old dad, Byron L. Reppert. Our father was such an important part of The Rosemary House. From the very beginning, he was responsible for the 'book work'. He would sit at his desk and complete all the necessary forms and information to keep the government happy. He's also the handyman that laid the original brickwork in the gardens behind the shop, creating a little cottage garden where mom would hold her garden talks. He was mom's mode of transportation as she never learned to drive. Whatever lecture she gave, he was there, tending shop in the back of the lecture hall. He loved to meet and greet people, and could always find a connection to continue the conversation.
Always in attendance at special events held at the shop, he was also an important part of the tea room. This pair formed the foundation that is The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances.

And he wore many other hats, too! errr, costumes!

While residing in NJ, and working as a sales representative for Atlantic Richfield, here he was captured in this photo helping one of his filling station clients with an Easter promotion in 1958.

And, after moving to Mechanicsburg, his community responsibilities included serving on the Borough Council, and he was elected Mayor in the mid '70s. He also enjoyed playing Santa, arriving on a firetruck to the enthusiastic smiles of the towns littlest people. This photo was taken with his son-in-law Phil and his adorable grandchildren, Jessica and Jacob.

If you have a fond memory of Byron, please share it on our Rosemary House Guest Book page!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rhubarb Nut Bread

Rhubarb has been in abundance in the veggie box we receive weekly from Spiral Path Farm, our certified organic local farm that offers membership in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) endeavor. Not really experienced with working with rhubarb, it has offered a new adventure in the kitchen. I found a recipe for Rhubarb Nut Bread in my well worn and tattered (so tattered it no longer has a cover) Penn Cumberland Garden Club A Bountiful Collection Cookbook. No longer in print, it features recipes, crafts, and gardening tips from members of the club. 
 Rhubarb Nut Bread
1-1/2 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 c. diced raw rhubarb
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 x 3 inch loaf pans. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil and egg. In a small measuring cup, combine buttermilk, soda, salt and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with the flour, beating well after each addition. Gently fold in the diced rhubarb and pecans. Divide batter into two loaf pans. Mix the sugar with the melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over the loaves. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

This bread was very easy to mix together, and produces a moist and flavorful bread. Yummy!