Every Sunday, I usually spend the roughly 16 hours that I’m awake knocking out a long to-do list and I don’t bother “to-do” very much relaxing. But not today – today I attended an herb workshop for only $5 in the Visitor’s Center at the scenic Farnsley-Moremen Landing that was informative and casual. Located along the river, the atmosphere was peaceful and magical in a way that made me feel truly connected with nature. Hours later, I’m still in a great mood AND I managed to get my to-do list completed quickly with the motivation from treating myself to a little bit of me-time!
The workshop was taught by Nola Lillie. She is charismatic, possesses an extremely impressive knowledge of herbs and spices, and has a true gift for teaching. Also, she very quickly created a communal atmosphere by making it clear that she loves when workshop guests share ideas. Everyone felt free to get involved in the discussion, offering tips and asking questions. Best of all, we were having fun and learning, which is a great combination!
Each of us received fantastic handouts full of recipes, tips, and information about herbs. Then, after a quick introduction, Nola took us to the historical garden, which still produces the same flowers, herbs, and vegetables that were commonly grown during the 1800s! It is stunningly beautiful and all-natural – absolutely no preservatives or pesticides are used.
We all picked out several herbs to clip and use. I chose gorgeous sprigs left and right, but my favorite was the Lamb’s Ear that I picked – it’s so soft that I’ve been rubbing it against my cheek all day and getting warm fuzzies. When we were in the garden, I learned that they were used in ancient wars as comfy emergency bandages for wounded warriors.
When we got back inside, we tied bouquet garnis for simmering in soups, learned to bundle and freeze chives, and made our own mini bottles of herbal vinegar to take home. Nola even thoughtfully prepared some lavender honey and a delectable herb-packed cream cheese spread for us to sample with our little cups of lemonade.
Some pearls of information from the workshop:
+ Herbs are a healthy and delicious way to control sodium! A mixture of oregano, basil, fennel, and thyme with garlic powder adds enough flavor to dishes that no salt is necessary.
+ In the 19th century, herbs were considered to be medicinal and were eaten for the specific health benefits that each one provided, from soothing a sore throat to helping one fall asleep, and everything in between!
+ Rosemary and lavender help keep critters away from your winter clothes while they’re packed up during warmer months.
+ Adding herbs at the start of cooking creates a subtle taste, whereas adding them at the end will give your dish a more pronounced punch of flavor.
This barely scratches the surface of everything we were taught, so be sure to make it to the next workshop if you’d like to learn more! Also, be sure to try and make the Herbal Cosmetics Workshop on Sept. 9th, where Nola will be teaching us how to make things like natural lip balm and much more!
This inexpensive and welcoming workshop was impressively effective for retaining what’s important when cooking with herbs and starting an herb garden. The sun shone brightly, there was a gentle breeze, I learned useful information, and I went home relaxed. Best $5 I’ve ever spent.
Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
7410 Moorman Rd.
Louisville, KY 40272
Each herb was labelled with a sign giving the name, usage, and interesting facts.