Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rock Ford Plantation

The next stop on our 18th Century Immersion tour was Rock Ford Plantation.  This was a gentleman's farm and was the home of Edward Hand, an adjutant general to George Washington in the American Revolution. 

We were able to tour the four square vegetable and herb gardens, walk the grounds and enjoy a self-guided tour of the elegant Georgian-style mansion built circa 1794.
Rock Ford gave us an idea of refined country living pre-1800, with elegant rooms furnished with an amazing collection of period furniture.  

 After our stop at Rock Ford Plantation, it was a quick hop back on the bus, and a short sprint to the Garden of the Five Senses which is located in the same area, Lancaster County Central Park.

This garden featured running water, fragrant herbs and trees, plants you can touch and plants you shouldn't touch. They certainly had something for all 5 senses. This was a quick little stop for us en route to our next 18th Century stop.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Colonial Plantation, Ridley Creek State Park

Our recent Traveling Herb Seminar was an immersion into the 18th Century.  We began our day at The Colonial Plantation in Ridley Creek State Park. Maury and Barbara presented a talk on traditional farming techniques of the 18th Century.

This is a working farm so there were a variety of animals for us to visit with.

 We spent some time in the herb and vegetable garden. These hoop houses were made of paper.  The herb garden surrounded the vegetables in the beds that were raised up by a stone wall.  

We toured the grounds and the barns, learning about the life style of this working farm.

The original farm house was abandoned in the 1950's and became a Bicentennial Project to restore.  Fortunately, it was used by tenant farmers so for those many years it was never renovated inside.

 Our morning continued with a tour indoors in the Farmhouse, Springhouse learning about the daily living of the Quakers that built this beautiful farm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Herbs and Flowers for Anniversaries

In celebration of their 50th Anniversary, our parents compiled this list of flowers and their symbolic meanings by gleaning through their collection of Victorian Language of Flowers dictionaries and through their many years of marriage!
Bertha & Byron Reppert, May 19, 1945

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Coriander Cream Dip with Apples

Coriander Cream Dip
1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. light cream
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. crushed coriander seed

Mix all ingredients together. Let flavors blend overnight. Serve with fresh apple slices.

Celebrating the 2017 Herb of the Year Cilantro/Coriander at our annual Garden Tour and Tasting Party. One plant, three ways to enjoy it. We served Lemon Coriander Bars with ground coriander, Coriander Cream Dip and apples. The coriander seeds were crushed using a mortar and pestle. And, fresh Cilantro in the Herb of the Year Salsa. It was a tasty night! Lemon Herb Tea was the beverage of choice among most attendees, although Peaches and Ginger was also available.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Lemon Coriander Bars

Celebrating National Herb Week with the 2017 Herb of the Year Coriander/Cilantro. We served Lemon Coriander Bars as a dessert using ground coriander seed.

Lemon Coriander Bars
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
Combine butter, flour, and sugar. Mix well until small crumbs form. Press into bottom of 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. In same bowl, prepare filling. Combine remaining ingredients, pour on baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 Herb of the Year Salsa

Herb of the Year Salsa
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/2 c. cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. jalapeno, minced
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Combine all ingredients, and allow flavors to blend. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Coriander/Cilantro Herb of the Year 2017

The herb of the year for 2017 is Cilantro/Coriander. Two different flavors on the same plant. It is like a BOGO - buy one, get one free. The leaf of the herb is called  Cilantro and is sometimes referred to as Mexican Parsley. It is the very distinctive taste found in fresh made salsa. It seems to be one of those flavors that you either love or hate. 
The seeds of the annual cilantro plant are referred to as Coriander. Coriander, either ground or seeds, is commonly used in baking and frequently found in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. It has almost a spicy/lemony flavor.

As part of National Herb Week (which is the week leading up to Mother's Day) Susanna hosts a seeing-tasting-touching garden tour where we discuss the herbs in our garden. Following the tour, guests enjoy a sampling of some refreshments featuring the Herb of the Year prepared by Nancy. Depending upon the weather, either hot tea or iced tea is served. This year, a pleasant evening for a garden tour, once inside the tea room we enjoyed hot tea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fairy Cakes

Much to our delight, a fellow vendor in the 'Rainbow Court' area of the Spoutwood Faerie Festival makes and creates these fabulous Fairy Cakes that she graciously shares with neighboring vendors. What a true labor of love to make these tasty little gems, each more beautiful and more creative than the previous design. 
In addition to the intricate details of each cupcake from tiny mushrooms to even tinier lady bugs, although difficult to see in the photos, they are sprinkled with fairy glitter which causes them to sparkle and shine in the light.

Petite little flags silently announce the flavor of each homemade cupcake, making the decision of which one to eat first even more difficult! Which would you choose? And do you select your favorite Fairy Cake by flavor (as did Angelica) or by design?

Angelica's Favorite

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nepal Tea Golden Needles

At a recent meeting for the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association, we received Swag Bags that contained an amazing variety of tea samples. One of the samples was this Golden Needles, a limited edition from MATBA member Nishchal Banskota of Nepal Tea. With the brewing instructions conveniently placed on the package, and a lazy rainy morning, I proceeded to brew these beautiful long thin tea leaves at a temperature of 195 degrees for 5 minutes.

Upon opening the sample pack, there was a hint of chocolate fragrance with the leaves. After brewing and tasting the tea, I was immediately drawn to the complex layer of flavors. Even though originally smelling chocolate tones, there seemed to be delicate floral undertones to this full bodied tea. As the tea cooled, the floral undertones became faint, and the chocolate flavor surfaced. Overall, the tea was quite smooth with no astringency. It yielded a perfect cup of tea that ended much too quickly!
Nischal will be offering a variety of his teas from Nepal to purchase when he joins us for the Pennsylvania Tea Festival in late September. Nepal Tea is a proud sponsor of the Tea Festival. We look forward to his contributions to the festival as a vendor and a speaker. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blueberry Coffee Cake - Morning Snack

We're off on a Rosemary House Traveling Herb Seminar, stepping back in time to the 18th Century and visiting a colonial plantation and a medical heritage foundation. It'll be a fun day of learning about history and life over 250 years ago. But to start the day right, we have a Blueberry Coffee Cake to share with our time travelers. And, the recipe to share with our readers.
Blueberry Coffee Cake
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan. Cream the butter, sugar, and egg. Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, mixing well after each addition. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spread mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Note: it will be a fairly thin layer of batter. Prepare the topping. Combine the sugar, flour, apple pie spice, and butter until fine crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over the blueberry base. Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Enjoy!


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Gnome Home

Also tucked in the gardens of The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances is this adorable Gnome Home. Another creation of Steve Hoke, we are so pleased to be able to provide a location for the gnomes to shelter. Steve's original career was as a prison counselor, but once he retired, he discovered enjoyment in building a variety of gnome homes. Eventually, he received permission to place them throughout Little Buffalo State Park in Perry County, PA for young and old to discover these hidden treasures while walking along the trails. 
Sadly, in early 2016, because of the increased attendance to the park to find the homes, and guests leaving trinkets for the gnomes, Steve and his gnome homes (just shy of 40 homes) received an eviction notice. Apparently it was stated that the homes were not the right for for a park focused on wildlife and conservation. This garnered world wide publicity and when we heard about the displaced gnome homes, we sent an email to Steve letting him know that our backyard was a welcoming habitat for gnomes and fairies alike. 
Much to our surprise and delight, just about a year after we had sent our email, Steve contacted us and asked if we were still interested in some gnome homes. Of course we were! He put the Gnome Home and the Gnome Condo in his truck and came down out of the mountains to hand deliver his creations. We are so pleased to have these little treasure tucked in the garden! A special thank you to Steve Hoke for entrusting us with the care of these adorable little homes. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Gnome Condo

When you have the opportunity to stroll the public herb gardens behind Sweet Remembrances and The Rosemary House (open from dawn to dusk), be sure to find the newest addition to the garden. Nestled in a little corner near the elderberry tree is this adorable pink Gnome condo.

This quirky perky pink condo has been hand crafted by local gnome enthusiast Steve Hoke. Retired and looking for something to keep himself busy, Steve has taken to creating welcoming habitats for the wee folk. We are so thrilled to add his artwork to our gardens.