This week has seen our kitchen and dining room turn into a loose-leaf tea production site. We had harvested and dried about 20 kinds of medicinal herbs from our garden over the spring-summer-fall season, and now have packaged them into bags for sale. We were surprised that we filled more than 150 bags (weighing in total aprox. 5 kg) worth of dried herbal loose-leaf blends that we had grown ourselves on our little plot of land designated to herb gardening! And this was not even the full harvest potential, as there was plenty more of the mint, calendula, yarrow, anise hyssop, sage, raspberry leaves, tulsi, and nettle, among others, midway through the season when life got too busy and I wasn't able to keep up with the regular harvest as often as I could have. As well, these numbers don't take into account the other medicinal herbs such as arnica, skullcap, feverfew, burdock, comfrey, etc that we are growing for tinctures and salves. We did have to purchase some extra chamomile, red clover blossoms and lavender from a local organic source, so these are three herbs I'd love to make room for in some underused sunny patch in our yard (but where? maybe the front yard? or maybe a neighbouring yard?). And, although we grow both nettle and rosehips, some of these herbs in our tea blends are wild harvested (carefully) around the city, again due to limitations in our backyard space. We used the greenhouse to dry much of the harvest, and will have to rig up more storage shelving and drying racks for next season. For now, all in all, I am very much satisfied with the end result of this year's herb harvest!
The teas, including Winter Flu Fighter, After Dinner, Less Stress, Sweet Dreams, Mama's Milk, Women's Blend, Strawberry-Rose, 6-Mint Medley, will be available from us, as well as through Bailey's Local Foods in Waterloo and in holiday gift baskets at Golden Hearth Baking Co. in downtown Kitchener.