Herb Fair 2004

In keeping with tradition I am posting this year’s Herb Fair haul. And in further keeping with tradition I was a complete glutton.

This year I got smart and devised a buggy system that would allow me to carry lots of herbs (that buggy was one of the best purchases of the season!). My buggy had a large closed box in the bottom and another open box on top which allowed me to carry two layers of plants! I know I’m probably not the first person to devise such a system but I want to believe that it was sheer genius on my part. Allow me my small victories. I felt like the crazy cart lady bumping into people, losing control of the cart, and generally being the youngest person on earth to walk around with a cart. My status was confirmed when another crazy cart lady (who left her cart at home. She had cart envy.) engaged me in a conversation about the trials of hauling your cart across town. But I digress. Here’s my list:

Rose Petal Thyme – I’ve been known to rave about basil but I seem to be expanding into The World of Thyme. There are so many! This year already I have purchased orange thyme (amazing!), lime thyme (less amazing) and silver thyme.

Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) – I posted this info years ago but will repost cause it’s interesting stuff. Culantro is a cilantro-esque herb that is related to the Sea Holly and is also known as Mexican coriander, cilantrillo, thorny coriander and pak chee farang (among other names). It does not look anything like coriander but does taste like it. Here’s a photo from the plant I grew in 2002. Interestingly enough there are other coriander-alikes including a personal fave rau-ram (aka Vietnamese coriander). If you can’t find this in your garden centre ask about it at asian food stores.

Basils – Lesbos basil, African Blue basil, West African basil, red rubin, sacred basil, purple bush basil, and dark opal. I also bought Mrs. Burns lemon basil the other day which is by far the best lemon basil variety.

Geraniums – I used to be really anti-geranium but now I can’t seem to get enough of the scented varieties. I rubbed so many geranium varieties at the Richters booth that I couldn’t distinguish between them after a while. I did eventually purchase: apple geranium (a personal favourite), Attar of roses, and variegated nutmeg (another photo). I did not purchase ‘Old Spice’ geranium but thought it was “interesting”. Amy, my fellow shopper, purchased cinnamon geranium which I deeply regret leaving behind. Perhaps we could do a little cuttings trade hint hint.

Pineapple Sage – Smells delish, gorgeous red flowers, sadly not hardy in this area.

Tangerine Sage – Similar to pineapple sage but even more smellerific.

Tomatoes – I also bought a few tomato plants at the fair. I did not grow tomatoes from seed this year. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I realised I had neglected to procure some of my old faves (Silver Fir Tree!!). I thought certainly the tomato lady would have them but she did not. Well she did have one sunrise III plant left. It was in rough shape so she gave it to me for free! Sunrise III is a little determinate plant that does well in containers. The fruit is a bit bigger than your standard cherry and very delicious. Dagmar suggested I try another plant called slava to take the place of sunrise III. Some research online has me concerned. Slava is an indeterminate while sunrise III is a determinate. That spells trouble since I’m growing the plant in the kind of smaller pot I usually save for the determinates. I also could not resist cherokee purple which was one of my faves from last year and orange strawberry, a plant that was also recommended by Dagmar. She showed me a photo from her heirloom tomato book and I was sold.

See also: 2003 | 2002

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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