Coon Creek Herbs
Yesss, gentle reader, I have a nice surprise for you . . . it’s not for everybody . . . just for little you.
Coon Creek Herbs is the name of my new business, and I’ll have lots more to tell you about it in the days and weeks to come. I’ll share the story behind the name, and the little lady raccoon it’s named after. 🙂 For today: our first Coon Creek Herbs product line is a set of three dried herb mixes, raised here on our tiny farms, dried, and mixed into delicious blends. They are totally grown with love, with no chemical sprays, then are harvested and processed by hand. They are truly small-batch products: once this year’s supply is gone, it’s gone.
That’s always a sad day. The day of gone-ness.
Especially with winter barreling down on us, I’m paying attention to the good things in each day: our little farm, my aromatic herb gardens, my hoop house full of winter greens and edible flowers, and all the endless wonders of God’s creation. My good husband. Our goofy dogs. My leggy fabulous loud son Mack. Our ducks and geese and chickens. Our turkey, Jenny. My dear friends and family. (Maybe I will be so busy studying what’s good in my life this winter that I won’t even notice frost-bitten toes. Icy sidewalks. Days when I drink a jillion cups of boiling hot tea to try to warm myself up. Yeaaah.)
Before I tell you any more about my new venture, I need to fill you in on a bit of a backstory. My farming friend Gene doesn’t even know this story, and how he played a part in keeping me sane and my family well-fed for real, a couple of years ago . . .
Settle down with your milk and cookies, kiddos, it’s story time: We’ll climb into my time machine and travel back in time, to our kitchen remodel (if you’re interested, you can click on that link and read about all our missteps and triumphs) that we tackled a few years ago. We tore down the kitchen wall in late summer, and optimistic hubby and I had visions of enjoying the new kitchen with the fam that Thanksgiving. I think that would have been three or four months later.
*cue blank open-mouthed stare of incredulity at our naiveté*
Gentle. Readers. We actually sailed past TWO Thanksgivings before we were able to move back into the kitchen and start using it. There is a limit to how much fuel our pure optimism would propel us to finish it all. Fact: You may believe–quite ardently!–that something will happen, and you may work very hard toward your goal, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to occur on your timeline. Positive Thinking alone doesn’t rebuild walls or apply varnish to new cabinetry, you could say. Even if you pair that positive thinking with puh-lenty of elbow grease. Things happen. Snags occur.
Our contractor, Reubsy by name, from the beginning had the insight/experience to insist on establishing a “temporary party kitchen” for me, on our sun porch (which flanks the kitchen), though I (in turn) insisted that it was not necessary. Cooking with a Crock pot and an electric skillet on a card table for two or three months wouldn’t kill me, I pointed out.
I’m glad Reuben didn’t listen to me on this point.
We packed up all my kitchen stuff in a huge rush of excitement (Bryan: “We’re going to demolish that wall in an hour, honey, so pack up all the cabinets!” Me: “Aaaaaaghggh!”), holding back only the scantiest supplies–a few pots and pans, a mixing bowl, a stack of paper plates, my pepper grinder, a salt shaker–with which to make do for the two or three months that I believed we would be displaced. No cookbooks.
We unwittingly stashed the boxes of kitchen stuff wherever we could find a corner, that is to say all over the blessed house: the basement, the caboose (the west end of the house), under the bed in the guest room, etc. (This is the definition of WILLY-NILLY: look it up!) We did all this so quickly that I didn’t pay attention to where everything was going. (Truth: I’m still missing some things.) I knew I could live without it for, ya know, a couple months.
In fact, I was looking forward to it! The culinary version of minimalism would be a real adventure! (Personally: I love peanut butter sandwiches and could live quite happily on them, for some time.) (With pickles. And apples. Nutella. An occasional roasted squash.)
Yeah. You see where I’m going with all this, right, and of course you know what’s coming?
At Christmastime–when it was beginning to dawn on me that this project might not be finished in time for Thanksgiving . . . my mentor-cum-biz partner and friend Gene (formerly known as Papa Geno of Papa Geno’s Herb Farm, yeah, I know I’m lucky!) gave me some baggies of herb mixes, as part of a Christmas gift. Those herb mixes looked modest in their clear plastic baggies, but when I opened them up and took a whiff–yum! They were so aromatic and I couldn’t wait to start using them in my (at that time, scanty) meals.
Even I was beginning to tire of peanut butter sandwiches and baby carrots.
I appreciated Gene’s gift more than most, perhaps, for–though he had no clue about the sad state of my kitchen supplies–I had even packed up all my herbs and spices. Moreover, I was loathe (SOOO loathe, gentle reader) to start digging through all those boxes, looking for them. (I was too busy making this for Reubsy, not to mention countless pots of coffee.)
I love to cook. You might have picked up on this by now. It was hard to make tasty meals with such scanty supplies, and a little discouraging to be serving such boring fare. Gene’s special herb mixes truly made my life so much better, and our meals tastier during those months and (cough) years.
Gene brought me three tasty mixes, all made from his own particular recipes, from herbs that he had grown and harvested and dried himself:
- Spicy Tuscan Italian
- Mexican Madness
- Herbs de Provence
At the time, I didn’t even know that there were also wonderful stories behind Gene’s particular herb mix recipes. What I did know: they were fresher and tastier than anything I could buy in the store. I used an old desk for my countertop/cabinet space for TWO YEARS, and I’d look for reasons to pull open the drawer that I kept those herb mixes in, and pop open the bags, breathing in the wonderful scent of those herbs.
I found dozens of ways to use them.
I shared this experience with Gene, after the remodel was finished(ish!), and how much those simple bags of herb mixes had made my life better. He proposed that we partner together in making the mixes from herbs that we both grow, and then market them together with his signature mix recipes.
Well. How could I say no? I was totally onboard. Gene knows his herbs; I’m learning to grow and process fresh herbs myself, which is a delight! I knew that I would be excited to share them with my friends.
So here we go! My plans–once I finish up about a hundred and three details–are to launch the sale of a limited supply of these herb mixes very soon . . . (honestly, as soon as the labels come from the printer!)
I’ll be releasing details until then, so if you’re interested in learning more you can do the following:
- Subscribe to my blog by adding your email list into the box above right (below my FACE).
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Thanks for popping in, for hanging out with me until the very end. I love ya. I mean it!
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