Last week, Kathleen Gips, the owner of The Village Herb Shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, celebrated Herbfest for the 2011 Herb of the Year, horseradish. Kathleen and I have been friends for a long time. Even before she had an herb shop, I found her selling her jellies, herb mixes and other herbal items at Quailcrest Farm’s herb fair in Wooster, Ohio. I always told her that I was an herbal stalker, but only in the best way!
Kathleen is a multi-talented herbalist and author. She has written a book on herbal vinegar called The Complete Vinegar Book and two books on the language of flowers, one called The Language of Flowers: A Book of Victorian Floral Sentiments, and the other called Flora’s Dictionary. My Herbal Companion, Bonnie, and I have driven the two hours up to The Village Herb Shop many times. This time it was equally relaxing and educational. Kathleen always infuses our minds with herbal knowledge, has some tasty treats for us to try and teaches us how to make and use some delicious mixes and vinegar using horseradish. The treats we got to nibble were Summer Beet Soup garnished with a sweet woodruff flower, bacon horseradish cheddar cheese on a cracker, and spring egg salad with horseradish jelly. (I wonder who made that? ... Me!) A long time customer of Kathleen's made all of the food, except for the jelly. The horseradish jelly is on my blog, but the last two times I made it, it didn't gel. That's a problem. I'm going to tweek the recipe and I will share it with you in a later posting.
These are the products we made in the workshop: Horseradish Mustard Barbecue Rub, Horseradish Onion Vinegar, and Bacon Horseradish Dip Mix. All great additions to this summer's grilling and herbal cooking.
The Village Herb Shop is loaded each season with great gift ideas, the latest Village Herb Shop products and other food and tea items, aromatherapy and spa products, natural cleaning products and gardening elements. She is always having special classes and other events to coincide with Chagrin Falls’ happenings. She also puts together a monthly herb newsletter. This month it is about horseradish. She will also be having another horseradish event in early September to celebrate her 18 years in business. We have all had a rainy spring and it has made The Village Herb Shop's herb garden look lush and beautiful, and this time of year there are organically grown herbs for purchase. It’s an herbal delight in every sense.
Photos by Nancy Heraud
Bonnie and I have learned so much over the years from Kathleen. We are already looking forward to the 2012 Herb of the Year: The rose! I also got to meet a reader of my blog and guest posts while at the herb shop. It does get to be a very small herbal world.
For those of you who can’t get enough information on horseradish, Susan Belsinger wrote a very informative article on horseradish for the February/March 2011 edition of The Herb Companion. As usual, if you have any comments or you want to e-mail me directly, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to stop by my regular blog once in a while at Lemon Verbena Lady’s Herb Garden. Talk to you soon.