Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Aromas and Flavors from Jeanie

My blogger friend Jeanie recently wrote about her visit to Grand Oak Herb Farm in mid-Michigan to enjoy a flavorful tea and learn some new aromatherapy ideas. Her blog post about the farm had lots of thoughts on delightful aromas and flavors that contrast with the reading I've been doing, and especially because she included a number of ideas for crafting sachets and other aromatic items. I'm not much into crafting, but I thought it was a wonderful way to think more about the world of fragrance and flavor.

Jeanie kindly gave me permission to make a long excerpt from her blog post, "Taking Tea at Grand Oak Herb Farm." She wrote:

We arrived a little early -- with a bit of time to walk around the grounds and check out the greenhouse, where fairy gardens were plentiful!
Numerous flights of fancy passed through our minds as we enjoyed the wee gardens and the soon-to-be larger plants within.
Then on to tea, ...and entering the tea room.
The table was lovely with easy-to-make tiered sandwich/dessert trays, ...

They were packed with sandwiches and sweets. We learned that the savory flavors were at the bottom, the saltier bits might be on the next level and at the top, the sweets! And, that you eat from the bottom up!
My plate included Beulah's wonderful basil-curry chicken salad, ham with orange marmelade and dill on pumpernickel, a potato quesadilla and the most divine crostini with an herb butter that included herbs and parmesan cheese. (I could have eaten the whole plate of that!) Other sandwiches included an open face corned beef with horshradish and mint and wee cucumber sandwich rounds.
We were most captivated by her candles. Here's how to do it: In jars, put lemon verbena and orange wedges at the bottom, add a few more fragrant greens if you like. Add water and add a floating candle. What sweet fragrance! 
We had an iced and hot tea. Beulah makes her own teas and both were delicious!
After we worked our way up the tray, Beulah and Peg offered a variety of demonstrations and sharing of products they make and sell at the shop -- and were generous in sharing their. Because I don't sew, 
I bought one of the micro-or-freezer sinus pillows, made from lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary and mint. Lavender brings with it healing properties -- and of course it smells wonderful!

My favorite was the firestarters and I will be collecting pine cones to do this. 
Start with a dried pine cone and tie a long wick around the middle and knot it, so it has two ends. With twine or curling ribbon, tie dried lavender stems and if need be, a drop of lavender oil. Then melt wax -- soy wax is recommended over paraffin, but I suppose both would work. drip that on the knot. Then using a piece of pretty fabric, tie a knot. (The one I bought as a sample at the shop also had a blob of the wax on the bottom of the firestarter, too.) Light both ends of the wicks and off you go! (I suppose you could use wheat or raffia in place of the fabric for a different look.) 
Another easy idea -- buy or make muslin tie bags, fill them with dried lavender buds and use in the dryer.
Peg showed us how to make bath bags -- use epsom salts, lavender, ice cream salts, baking soda and a few drops of lavender and bergemot essential oils. Put into a bag to hand over the shower nozzle or  hang over the faucet/float in the tub.

(With all items, using a cellophane bag is better than a poly one or baggie because the fragrance will leak.

Another idea -- a hankie pillow. Instead of tossing Grandma's tatted hankie, fold in half, stitch along two sides, fill with fragrance (they used lavender, lemon verbena, bergemot and mint) and stitch the top. Place between your pillows for a healing sleep!
They also discussed tinctures -- the importance of essential oils which are pure and so much more! They make their own moth repellent with cedar shavings, dried cedar, rosemary, lavender, cloves and bay along with eucalyptus oil. No chemicals. No moths, either!
I think our tea with Peg and Beulah was over too soon -- so much to learn, to savor, to sniff, to see! We wrapped up our visit exploring the grounds a bit more...

For those who live in the mid-Michigan area, Grand Oak Herb Farm is well worth the drive to Bancroft, a small town easily accessible by I-69. To give you an idea how popular this spot is, we had guests at our table from as far as Detroit! Please check out the website HERE for additional teas and workshops this summer and return for ones this fall.

Again, I thank Jeanie for allowing me to excerpt this from her blog, The Marmelade Gypsy.


~~louise~~ said...

Hi Mae!!!

Thank you to both you and Jeanie for sharing this visit. Oh how I adore herb farms. I miss Caprilands so much. Perhaps one day I will make it back to Michigan:)

Thanks again for sharing, Mae...

P.S. Yes, yes, I'm back to blogging after my long hiatus. I must say, it's GREAT to be back!

Jeanie said...

Hi, Mae,

You did a great job of editing and I am honored that you wanted to incorporate parts of my post and photos in Mae Food. It really is a wonderful place and one to which I plan to return. I hope other readers of yours around mid-Michigan will take a look!