• Tea bud and leaves. Tea plantations, Sri Lanka
    Herbs & Ingredients

    Tea, before the cuppa

    Have you ever seen Tea (Camellia sinensis) growing? I never realized the Tea plant is an evergreen shrub (to small tree) that can be harvested for 40-100 years, depending on the variety. The young shoots, leaves and buds, are usually picked by hand as machinery is too rough on the tender leaves and may damage them. There are four basic categories of Tea- white, green, oolong, and black-  and each uses a different method of processing after harvest for its different qualities. For green Tea, the leaves are quickly heated, either steamed or pan-fried, then dried to prevent oxidation of the leaves. This allows the Tea to retain its green…

  • closeup of jerusalem artichoke flowers
    In the Herb Garden

    Perennial sunflowers you can eat

    Our last harvest of the year, Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus, also called Jerusalem artichoke). A species of sunflower native to eastern North America, Sunchokes were originally cultivated as a food source by Native Americans. Their tubers can be dug until the ground freezes and with proper storage can last through Winter. Europeans must’ve really taken to Sunchokes after trying them during the colonization of the east coast. They were shipped back home and are now more commonly eaten there than they are here in the states. Normally tan/brown-skinned, we grow a variety that was bred in France to have red skin with fewer bumps. “Tompinambour” is the French name for Sunchoke-…