Thursday, 14 November 2013

Herb Farm and Ginger Factory

Last Saturday I set off on an excursion...just me, myself and I. Nanna Chel from Going Grey and Slightly Green (her blog is just gorgeous and one of my favourites so I suggest you visit one day) posted about ordering some herbs online from a herb farm in Nambour. I have been searching for comfrey in Gympie for a while now as it is supposed to be amazing for your compost and you can make it into a tea for fertilising your plants. When I saw that Shiphard's Nursery stocked comfrey, and many other unusual herbs, I couldn't resist the opportunity to explore.

The nursery is located at the back of Isabell Shiphard's home and is absolutely chock-a-block full of herbs and exotic plants. Isabell and her family are very welcoming and happy to explain the benefits and uses of any plant. Isabell has written several successful books, and intrigued by Nanna Chel's interest in medicinal herbs, I decided to purchase Isabell's herb book. It is an encyclopaedia jam-packed with everything you could possibly want to know about every herb and will be a valuable resource in my home as I expand my horizons on this simple living journey. Thanks Nanna Chel :)

I was given a free aloe vera plant for purchasing the book.

My husband and I favour natural medicines and take a wide variety of supplements, many of which we can grow here. After an hour of looking around and learning heaps about teas, sprouts, seeds and herbs, I decided on the following purchases:

Paul is a big fan of brahmi and as a supplement it is expensive to buy. It is commonly referred to as 'the thinking man's herb'. It is a shade loving perennial ground cover used in traditional ayurvedic medicine. It supports brain, heart and nerve function, mental alertness, learning and concentration, long and short term memory, circulation, digestion and sleep. Wow, that's one handy plant.

This is the comfrey I travelled for. There are two small seedlings in this tub and the leaves can grow as long as my arm, according to Isabell. Comfrey is a good source of vitamin B12, and is rich in iron, potash and nitrogen making it an ideal fertiliser. It is also high in protein so makes good chook food and can be used in poultices.

This is an interesting little fellow called Herb Robert. I heard about this from Nanna Chel and Isabell sells alot of it. You make a tea out of it or eat the leaves in a salad for anti-viral, antioxidant, antibiotic and tonic action. She suggests having it daily for overall wellbeing. It will be a while before we can do this as the seedling is only small.

Due to our warmer climate I have never had much success with growing lavender but this allardi variety apparently grows well here. Lavender has many uses as well as having an aromatic fragrance. It is analgesic, antibiotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, digestive and is great for insomnia.

My last purchase was Aztec Sweet Herb. It is basically another form of sweetener which I thought would be useful as I don't eat sugar. Not sure how to prepare it yet so will have to consult Isabell's book.

After my herb farm visit, I decided to call into the Ginger Factory on the way home. It is at Yandina and if you ever go there I would also suggest visiting the Macadamia Nut Factory which is across the road. I was keen to get my new plants home and out of the heat of my car, so I just did The Ginger Factory.

If you ever see any Ginger Factory or Buderim Ginger products in your supermarket I can highly recommend them. I bought this pack of assorted goodies:

Ginger cordial that you mix with soda water to 'make' ginger beer. Ginger, lemon and lime marmalade. Ginger Sauce. Chilli Ginger Sauce and a pack of naked ginger (yummy sugared ginger treat).

I also couldn't resist this beautiful ginger root. It is larger than my hand and weighs 200g! And it only cost $4. I also learnt that you should grate your ginger while frozen for best results...and I now have my very own porcelain ginger grater which makes the job so much easier. Maybe my ginger beer starter might actually get productive now :)

Isn't it wonderful to go out and have a wander, and to learn and experience new things? All by your very self! I love the journey and the road I am travelling...there are so many rewards around every corner. All you have to do is open your mind and seek them out.

Have you been on a self-indulgent excursion lately?
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