It’s the middle of Winter.  What that means for me is that Spring is right around the corner. That is so exciting!  As I sit here with my pasta with brie and basil sauce, it’s the time of year for comfort foods and gazing out the window to look past the snow and ice and into the warmer seasons to come. I can look into the garden from my desk and start my planning and dreaming about the plants that are waiting in the garden and the new plants that will join the returning plants this year.

It’s the new plants for this year that always give me a challenge. Not because of the plants, but because I have to guess which ones to grow.  I think forward to July and September when I can get calls like, “Do you have any …?”. No, I didn’t grow that this year because I didn’t know it was going to be in demand.  Or even further into the year, December or January, “Do you have any dried …?”. No, I didn’t dry that as I didn’t know it was needed. I so want to be able to say, “YES, I have that!”.

Farming always has it challenges between weather, bugs, disease or just plain lack of time. I could go on and on, but the hardest for me is to find that I could have grown a crop or harvested and processed a crop if I only knew ahead of time. I can’t go back in time. I can’t grow everything, boy I wish I could – ahh, maybe not – I would like to be able to grow whats needed though.

Growing crops doesn’t always fit well into our fast paced world of, “I’d like that tomorrow.” A season or even a year  is needed to grow many crops. Would it be less challenging for you if you knew that a specific herb/edible flower that you might need is being grown in the area instead of calling around to try and find it when you need it now?

What is helpful for everyone is communication, either during the year, or especially now during the middle of winter when all the planning for the remainder of year is taking place on every farm in the Northeast and beyond. When we are all eating those yummy comfort foods and drinking hot cocoa.  If you have an inkling that you are interested in, an edible flower, herb or cut flower, now is the time to speak up. I so enjoy the conversations when folks speak up and share their thoughts. I am not looking for a commitment, although I won’t turn that down, but instead just a thought that an herb; Thai Basil, Cilantro, Lemon Balm, Borage, Cumin, Salad Burnet, Nettles, etc, or maybe an edible flower; Sunflowers, Violets, Pansy’s, Fennel Flowers, Calendula, etc., might be something you will want during the growing season.  When we communicate our needs together, then we both have a better chance of successfully crossing the communication bridge together. We both can have a part to play in ensuring a strong local food economy.

Whew, so for now, while I wait and plan, I think I’ll have some Herbal Hot Cocoa.  Maybe you can make a cup and then contact me about what you think you might need this year.  I do so love to talk about edible flowers and herbs. Thanks.

Herbal Hot Cocoa

The Cocoa Part:

8 oz of milk of your choice; Coconut, Almond, Dairy, etc

2 TBSP Maple Syrup or Stevia or Taste (a little goes a long way)

2 TBSP Dutch Chocolate

Dash Vanilla

Small pinch of salt


The Herbal Part:

Option One: Pick your herbs – just one or two…

1 TBSP Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis): Calming

1 TBSP Nettles (Urtica dioica): Nutritive

1 TBSP Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): Mind, immune, digestion  


Option Two: Pick your herbs – just one or two…

1 tsp Maca powder (Lepidium meyenii): stress, anxiety

1 tsp Turmeric Powder (Curcuma longa): anti-inflammatory

1 tsp Astragalus Powder(Astragalus propinquus): immune support


Preparation Part:

Option One:   Heat the milk. Add leafy herbs to milk when heating. Do not boil. Turn off and let the herbs steep in the milk for 5 minutes.  Strain the leafy herbs or blend in mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and blend/whisk.

Option Two:  Heat the milk. Do not boil. Turn off heat. Add all ingredients and whisk.

Enjoy! Oh so yummy!