from left: Nancy Wolf (Head of School), Congressman
Chris Gibson, Geoffrey Miller (Darrow School),
Fiona Lally (President of LBVA), Christopher
Zema (Zema's Nursery), Mike Benson (Supervisor
Town of New Lebanon), Linda Hursa (Angel's Trumpet).
Photo by Jane Feldman
June 11, 2012
Herbfest combines cooking classes, history
Courtesy Hudson-Catskill Newspapers (Register-Star.com)
LEBANON - Hundreds of people looking to learn
about herbs and their uses were drawn this weekend
to a new festival put on by the Lebanon Valley
Business Association with help from the Darrow
two-day Mount Lebanon Herbfest was considered
a success by all who worked on it. The event
included more than 30 nature walks, educational
presentations and classes.
a first time event, but its got so much energy,
attendance, professionalism and fun," said
Devin Franklin, a member of the festival's committee.
Saturday, the New Lebanon Business Council brought
out 14 local vendors who sold herb-themed food
and wares in downtown New Lebanon.
that 170 people attended the Herbfest Sunday
for a series of informative lectures and swamp
walks at the Darrow School. Visitors learned
to cook with herbs, make their own massage lotions
and oils, create their own household cleaners
made from herbs and identify edible herbs in
their own backyards.
also discussed New Lebanon's history in medicinal
herbs, which began with the local Native Americans.
In the early 1800s, the area was home to the
Tilden Company, one of the country's oldest
and lectures touched on various topics ranging
from fellow herb experts to newcomers finding
their green thumbs.
was great to get so many people here from diverse
locations," said Michelle Apland, an LVBA
member and executive director of Flying Deer
Farm. "It's great to see a lot of people
I know from this area, but also see a lot of
Lally, LVBA president and the mastermind behind
Herbfest, said the only negative comment she
heard over the course of the festival was that
people couldn't get to every single class or
set it up that way," Lally said. "We
knew it would be heart-breaking but we also
knew that that meant there would be something
for everybody, all the time."
of the most successful attractions Sunday were
the swamp walks, where visitors got a tour of
the Shaker Swamp, which is known for its bounty
of medicinal herbs.
were led into the swamp in search of Shaker
ruins and rare medicinal plants, which can only
flourish in the limestone-rich waters of the
Ross, a volunteer with the event, attended a
nature walk led by Claudia and Conrad Vispo,
from the Hawthorn Valley Farmscape Ecology Program.
led us through a swamped forest environment
and was pointed out native plants and medicinals
that the Shakers used, according to the books
we have on what they used," she said.
vendors who use or grow and incorporated various
herbs into their products were also present
was good," said Helen Rice, of Pittstown,
in Rensselaer County, who was one visitor happy
with the event. "I want to emphasize the
classes. There were a lot of interesting classes."
planners are already looking toward next year,
when they hope to bring in more attendees with
a more robust advertising campaign. Lally and
others said they have already been approached
by locals who want to volunteer and be a part
of next year's event.