Going Herby, Herby

Where did this all begin? Like many ideas, it rumbled along at the bottom of the “think about it” pile and then something forced it to the top.

A trip to the supermarket. There they were, dutifully lined up, packets of cut herbs, ready to add to the weekend’s roast lamb, omelette or stew. (This is Yorkshire, it’s stew here, not casserole.) All neatly plasticised with labels loudly proclaiming how far they had travelled – two sprigs of Rosemary all the way from Ethiopia.

I’m no scientist or economist, but the air miles involved in transporting this culinary delight (albeit boxed up with hundreds of others) are mind boggling when this beautiful, glossy evergreen shrub grows happily in British gardens all year round.

When global warming and its related environmental issues have moved from Sunday newspaper columns to daily necessities, it seems ridiculous that supermarket chains (ironically founded on the convenience factor)  insist on importing goods thousands of kilometres, when they could be harvested outside their giant revolving doors.

It takes just ten minutes to dig a little hole in the ground, pop a young Rosemary plant in, water it, and let it grow – and it behaves itself – with not so much as a gentle pruning back every now and again. Life span? Years…

Evergreen Rosemary - WaltonHerbs.co.uk

In her terrific book, Herbs, Inspiration and Practical Advice for Gardeners, journalist and writer Jane Eastoe writes, “It is a curious anomaly that the British twin passions for both gardening and cookery have not coincided to produce gardens stuffed with culinary herbs.”

So here’s Walton Herbs, we’re going to help do something about it. Walton Herbs opens Saturday April 1 (yes, April fools’ day – anything could happen) and we’re very much looking forward to it.

Being as we our true blooded Tykes, always looking to kill two birds with one stone (not the best analogy in a blog about gardening) we understand the value of growing herbs – when it comes to multi-tasking, they lead above everything growing in a garden.

Rosemary for instance can be used for culinary, medicinal and aromatic purposes. Rosemary infused oil is a synch – take a few dry leaves, pop them in a jar of oil, leave it for two or three weeks, et voila! Rosemary oil. Rub into your hands and breathe in the aroma to help clear a headache (loads of other medicinal uses, please search online).

For cooking and baking, pour a little rosemary oil onto salad, throw a few sprigs into the roasting tin, when roasting just about anything. And try it with cake – here’s rosemary and orange drizzle cake from the BBC bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2001/orange-and-rosemary-drizzle-cake

Grow Rosemary and many herbs in pots, or in the garden, keep them extra handy with a pot or herb patch at the side of the kitchen door. However much you snip off to use, rosemary will grow back. It’s simple, herbs are a very modern convenience which care for you and the environment – what’s not to like? See you at Walton Herbs soon. xx

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