03 June 2012

Herbfest 2012

Saturday was Herbfest, which I found out about through a friend.  She was trying to organize a group to be there all day; I couldn't go until after class.  So I told her I would just go on my own.  I got there just as the morning's steady rain turned into a true gullywasher - and apparently just as the foraging class got to the edge of the woods.

When I decided to wade across the rushing walkway, since it looked as if the gullies would get washed for quite a while yet, I passed the two tents where farms sold plants.  Checked in, paying $5 and adding my nonperishable food items to the cartons by the door.  Was directed to the two classrooms, and got to the kitchen to find that everybody was just starting to straggle back from their morning swim.

As the students dried off and the teacher, Lynn Murdock, started to explain what they had managed to gather (and sent someone out to collect some nettles from the side of the barn, so that people could see what they looked like - the cutter was advised to hold a basket underneath and cut so that the pieces fell into it, to avoid touching the stinging hairs), Bun Lai of Miya's Sushi walked in.  He started cooking some of the greens, showed the class the multigrain sushi rice he had brought, and rolled up some sushi for us to try, integrating the clover, plantain, lamb's quarters, and dandelion greens.  While cooking, Bun and Lynn discussed sustainable eating, Bun's latest ventures in expanding the locavote options, and answered questions from the class.

You can see a picture of the finished sushi on Bun's blog - my friends Caryl and Bill are two of the smiling faces in the background, but I was too far back to make it into the shot.

After an abbreviated lunch break (because of the cooking time - but we had two or three bites of sushi, which tided me over for a bit) I went to the other building for the next two classes I wanted to take:  a class on Nutritional Herbs with Rosemari Roast followed by one on making tinctures with Debra Hultgren.  These two classes fit well together.  In the first one, I received a sample of dried nettle, about one day's worth if you drink the strong infusion that several teachers recommend.  It was interesting that when asked, the attendees defined "nutrition" in terms of "balance" and "organic" and "eat a variety of foods", only getting down to "vitamins" as the seventh or eighth thing on our list.  Apparently this is unusual even for persons interested in health and "Food as Medicine."

After the second class, I went back to see if there was anything else I wanted to buy, having done a speed-shop through the small vendor hall (a few vendors apparently couldn't make it in the torrents of the morning) and picked up some freeze-dried corn and peas .  I love these!  They make such a great snack.  You can see the total of my shopping here:

OK, the knitting piled up at the bottom is not a new purchase.  It was the auto-knitting I took to work on during classes when I wasn't taking notes.  It will be a basic variation on the Steppe Sweater for Mittens for Akkol's tween collection, Patons Classic Wool doubled on US#10.5 needles.  I started after my morning class (the bit I did in class was too wide, frogged and restarted) so the 7" shown here was only the Herbfest knitting.  Yes, it's a very easy pattern to follow!  Just plain knitting.

Specifics about my purchases are:
A "Got Organic" clay-dyed T-shirt, a rosemary flaxseed-filled muscle warming pad (microwave briefly, apply to sore or tense area, repeat as needed), a pair of beesewax candles, and a small bar of beeswax.  Sewers know about the benefit of waxing thread that will be used in high-stress areas, such as buttons, for added strength.  I've wanted a clay-dyed T-shirt since seeing some in a store on my family's trip through the Southwest last year, and not wanting to promote a specific company.  This one is perfect!

You can see the peas and corn in this photo, plus the bag of dried nettles from my afternoon class.  Also showing are four bars of soap:  Chocolate and Coffee, which will be gifts for my SIL, and Ginger-Lemon and Rosemary-Sage for me.

The baskets were made by a women's cooperative in Vietnam, and were on clear-out by the vendor.  He said that they had closed their shop and he was tired of paying inventory tax.  I bought one whole set, and the remaining baskets from a set that was broken.  They are very smooth inside, and will be handy for storing and organzing things.

Two items are not in the photo:  lemon balm and may apple.  I bought live plants and put them in the ground as soon as I got home.  The rain had stopped and the earth was of course very soft and wet, perfect for setting the plents.  Both of these (I am completely unfamiliar with may apple) are supposed to grow well in shade, and that is mostly what my property has (and why I can't grow more of the herbs that I love and wish I could have on hand, as I did in Texas).  We shall see!