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How to Find Locally Growing Herbs

Updated on June 25, 2012

What is an Herb?

Herbs are a classification of plants whose leaves, flowers or seeds may be used for their flavor, aroma, or medicinal use in food, crafts or alternative healing.

Fresh, Local Herbs

If you like to cook or craft, it is often such a special treat to have fresh herbs to work with. Anything grown locally has the advantage of tasting better because it has been likely harvested recently and handled less. Depending on the source, it may also be organic, or not treated with harmful pesticides.

Fortunately today, it is pretty convenient to find locally growing herbs. The easiest place to find local herbs is at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, farmers' market, food co-op, or grocery stores that carry local produce near you.

If you have a green thumb, you can grow herbs in your backyard. And for the nature enthusiast, I recommend learning how to forage for herbs.

Online Directories for Finding Locally Grown Herbs

  • LocalHarvest.org
    Easily search the United States for a farm, CSA, Farmers' Market, or Grocery/Co-op shop near you using the highly populated database at LocalHarvest.
  • LocallyGrown.net
    An online directory for finding small, local farms in the United States.
  • FarmersMarket.com
    Find your local farmers' market (US only).

Purchasing Local Herbs

The availability of herbs at your local farm or market is highly dependendant on the season and the climate you live in. For me, living in the northeastern United States, fresh and local produce is most readily available from April-October. Fortunately it is possible to successfully grow herbs indoors.

Growing an Herb Garden

Most herbs are pretty easy to grow indoors or outside. Check out these great hubs for tips are creating your own herb garden.

Dandelions : Edible and Medicinal Uses

Foraging for Wild Herb Plants

It is important to research and gain knowledge about foraging wild plants. Some plants are toxic and can be harmful if consumed, but many are also completely edible and contain valuable healing properties. So, be sure to get guidance from an expert before beginning.

Hubs Containing Tips on Foraging and Consuming Wild Plants

Selecting Quality Herbs

It is important when purchasing any type of plants or produce, to examine the quality of the product. For herbs, choose ones that appear healthy. Signs of a healthy plant include vibrant color and leaves that are not wilted or spotted with disease. Most herbs also have a pleasant odor and fresh herbs will be more potent in their aroma.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dry herbs easily by tying a rubber band loosely around the stems and hanging upside down in a non-moist environment.Store dried herbs in an air-tight container, such as a recycled glass spice jarGarlic scapes from a local CSA farm. Tip: Keep fresh herbs temporarily stored in a small vase or jar of water until ready to use.
Dry herbs easily by tying a rubber band loosely around the stems and hanging upside down in a non-moist environment.
Dry herbs easily by tying a rubber band loosely around the stems and hanging upside down in a non-moist environment. | Source
Store dried herbs in an air-tight container, such as a recycled glass spice jar
Store dried herbs in an air-tight container, such as a recycled glass spice jar | Source
Garlic scapes from a local CSA farm. Tip: Keep fresh herbs temporarily stored in a small vase or jar of water until ready to use.
Garlic scapes from a local CSA farm. Tip: Keep fresh herbs temporarily stored in a small vase or jar of water until ready to use. | Source

How to Store Herbs

Fresh herbs should be used right away or temporarily stored in a small vase or jar of water, if you have harvested too much to use immediately, they can be frozen or dried.

Freezing Herbs

  1. Finely chop fresh herbs using a sharp knife or herb mill.
  2. Place chopped herbs into ice cube trays.
  3. Top with filtered water and freeze.
  4. Once frozen place cubes in labelled freezer bags.

Herbs frozen in conveniently sized ice cube trays can be easily added to soups, stews, and sauces. Floral herb ice cubes are a fancy way to serve up some homemade herbal tea on a hot summer's day.

Drying Herbs

  1. Gather a small bunch of freshly cut herbs and loosely bind with a rubber band or string.
  2. Hang the herbs upside-down in a warm, airy location, away from direct sunlight.
  3. Once dried, shred them off the stalks and store in an air-tight container, such as a recycled glass jar used for spices.


What to Do With Herbs

In addition to cooking, medicinal herbs contain healing properties and can be used as an alternative remedy to many common illnesses. Herbs can also be used in crafts, home decor, and make lovely gifts, as well. Check out the list of hubs below for inspiration on using herbs.

Herbal Remedies

Crafting with Herbs

Cooking with Herbs

Where Do You Most Often Find Local Herbs?

See results

Comments

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 

      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Nice! Thanks for the great lessons on usage and storage. I have always wanted my own herb garden, and I will grow one soon.

      Voted up and useful

    • Cassandra Goduti profile image

      Cassandra Goduti 

      6 years ago from Guilford, Connecticut

      I don't have a green thumb but I want to grow herbs.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I love this hub! Fresh herbs really "wake up" the flavors in dishes. Voted up!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for putting together such a useful list of resources on how to keep and what to do with herbs! I currently have more thyme and chives than I know what to do with.

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