Herbfest – article in Tone mag

by TeaLady on July 17, 2010

Herbfest was started Fifteen years ago by a small and intimate group of ottawa valley herb enthusiasts and small businesses. There were caterers, body care products, oils and vinegars, medicinal salves, and lovely household decorations like swags and wreaths. This group made it their mission to bring the beauty and
wonder of herbs to the general public in the Ottawa area. Herbfest became open to the public, inspiring the imaginations of creative souls who loved using herbs. They planted community gardens and brought experts to town to speak at dinners and conferences. The Herb Garden was lovingly tilled, sowed and rooted in such a way that we can all enjoy its allure and bask in the spiritual beauty and physical bounty. Our esteemed host, The Herb Garden, is a tourist destination like no other in the Ottawa Area.

Every major city in the world has gardens to visit, and Ottawa is no exception. The Herb Garden is a unique destination and a site rich with landmarks and historical virtue. Today we are lucky to live in a city that has grown tremendously, now encompasses The Herb Garden, and is the home to many successful health and wellness entrepreneurs who employ all sorts of creative ways to use herbs. Herbfest became the most enchanting gathering, with an exaustively wide ranging collection of visionary enterprises relating to herbs, health, and well being.

This annual event boasts an unbroken record of successful midsummer Sundays and an uncanny immunity to bad weather. Except for the occasional 10-
minute shower, Herbfest has NEVER been rained out. Last year when it rained in Ottawa and Stittsville, it did not rain on the Herb Garden. As such, this year we hope to find a way to get the word out to the public about The Herb Garden weather via Facebook, Twitter or local radio stations. Find us on Facebook as “Midsummer Herbfest” and check updates about programming and weather reports.

There has been a lot of talk about how Herbfest has grown and morphed into a larger and more varied event that may appear to have lost the primary focus of herbs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please read on and be assured that this has not been the case. Loyal herbfest attendees have been supporting this event for well over a decade and they can be assured that the integrity of the herbal focus is strong. There have always been herbal vendors with a herbal focus. If the numbers of them have dwindled recently, the reason has been an evolution reflecting the individual herbal vendor’s personal journey. Yet, as a grass-roots non- profit event, Herbfest has a committee that is in touch with the participants and with the guests. We have heard the call for more Herbal
content and I am excited to announce that this year’s herbfest will be a profusion of herbal workshops and products likes of which you never thought possible!

The herb of the year is DILL and our talented chefs will pull out all of their culinary tricks to impress the judges with the flavour of Dill in a dish. You will not want to miss this. There will be herbal cheeses being sampled by a local cheese
sommelier, and the chef cook off will be MC’d by a local wine sommelier. We are grateful and honoured to have confirmed Grandmother Alma Lo as our “herb walker” and so try to be on time for one of the informative strolls through the flora and learn. We have two demo tents where you may find discussions, presentations and workshops on herbal first aid, herbal lore and magic, and herbal meditation. The herbal labyrinth is always open for meditative walks but we will have a guide offering a presentation and a group labyrinth walk. Of
course there will always be the herbal tea tasting table; the garden fairies will be frolicking around spreading their magic, and our line-up of talented musicians will feed your soul through your ears with non-invasive but uplifting melodies. We have an annual army of 70 volunteers who love to come and make this special day tic toc without missing a beat. In addition, we are sponsored by The Table; a vegetarian restaurant that is the Ottawa cornerstone of good local vegetarian eating and fine community involvement. Watch the facebook page or the website for updates about our guest authors as we have some exciting plans still to be confirmed.

ETA: Guest author is Diana Beresford Kroeger!!!! a local hero… botanist, gardener, and author of “A Global Forest”. follow the link to see a clip from her documentary series “Recreating Eden” i’ve linked you to the clip from this episode of “recreating eden”. My heart swells when i watch it. i can’t wait to meet this woman and buy her book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xawq_eQRpyo

Herbfest really is an event like no other, and the offerings described do not even begin to cover the circle of friends, the sense of community and the captivating aura and energy of the gardens and the whole site.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: