Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another visit to O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm

Back in the beginning of December, my mother-in-law, best friend and I made another trip to Madison, Fl to visit O'Tooles once again.  The mission for this trip was to see a soap making demonstration with the owner of Magnolia Hill Soap.  She was running a bit late that morning, so we decided to browse the greenhouses.  There are two large greenhouses, one containing mostly herbs and the other veggies.
Browsing the greenhouses
I can't tell you how tempting it is to just pick and eat! Ha!

There were also a few vendors on the grounds (it was open house at the farm), so after browsing the greenhouses we stepped outside to check them out.  It was early morning and they were just beginning to set up, so there were only a handful that we could visit.  One of them was the local Dreaming Cow Creamery from Pavo, Ga.  We spoke with one of the owners, Kyle Wehner, and learned about their sustainable practices on their farm and got to sample their more than delicious yogurt. 

We then stopped over to visit the Golden's who run Golden Acres Ranch in Monticello, Fl.  Bobbie and Fred are a lovely couple and are very happy to share any information they have with you.  They raise goats (you can order their meats) and have a huge lot of mayhaw trees.  We got to sample some of their homemade mayhaw jelly and the absolute best cranberry sauce/jelly in the entire world!  Mayhaws are more of a southern thing, so if you've never hear of them, I would seriously suggest you find yourself some!  To me, it is the best jelly you can get, hands down.

We spent a good bit of time talking with each of these vendors... so much so that we totally missed the soap making demonstration!  We walked up just as she was packing.  We did get to speak with Marge, the owner, for a few minutes, but didn't want to take up too much of her time since she had just gotten through answering those same questions.  I picked up a couple of bars of soap and some calendula salve.  The soaps are amazing and I have been using the salve as a moisturizer. 

Back in the greenhouses, I discovered a method of seed starting that I hadn't even considered yet.
Seed starting tray at O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm
Previously, I have been starting my seeds in a tray with individual cells.  The cells on each are pretty small and it takes a little bit of convincing to get the seedling out without damage.  I imagine just a little scoop in a tray like this will release the little seedlings with no harm and make for easier planting in the ground or larger pots.  If I can ever decide what seeds and which catalog to get them from, I'll be doing my Spring greenhouse seed starting just like this!

This was our last trip to the farm for a little while as she takes a break in January and reopens for the weekends in March.  I'll go back then to get some plants that I only want a couple of and not have to worry with starting difficult seeds!

Are you planning a garden for the Spring?  How about having a small container garden?  You can squeeze in a veggie, herb, or two even in the smallest of places!

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