Farmers Market Blend Beginnings January 23 2015I began making Farmers Market Blend tea many years ago when I actually went to the local Farmers Market to sell my tea. The rules there were that vendors could only sell those things that they grew. So I made a blend out of herbs and flowers that grew in my yard.
I have a great profusion of Lemon Balm and many kinds of mint growing in my yard, and I love roses, especially the fragrant ones, so that became the base of my homegrown tea. I bought a dehydrator, and dried the flowers and herbs as I picked them.
The tea was a combination of Lemon Balm, Mint, Raspberry Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Nettle Leaves, Pineapple Sage and Stevia Leaf. I would pick those herbs that grew best according to the time of year, and dehydrated them. Then I mixed the herbs together and added whatever flowers I had.
There are lots of colorful, edible flowers beside roses that grow in profusion at different times of year. We have Roses, Calendula, Viola, Pansies, Fuchsias, Nasturtiums, Lavender and Honeysuckle to name a few.
The Herbal Infusion was always different, always delicious and always beautiful. It became quite popular. Then I realized that I was having trouble keeping up with demand, and there seemed to be no way I could make enough tea to keep for winter and early spring. So I made a blend that included not only those herbs and flowers that I could grow, but a number of ingredients that I could buy organically and knew to be especially healthy. That blend, and the healthy aspect of those ingredients will be the subject of another blog.
It's fun to think about how some of the Mendocino Tea Company's blends came into being.
Homemade Winter Herbal Infusions January 03 2015
We live in the Pacific Northwest, so these ideas for homegrown infusions will mostly work for our area, but they can give you ideas about what you can grow, or gather, wherever you are for the future. The best way to have delicious infusion materials available is to gather herbs and flowers that appeal to you all year long and dehydrate them, pack them in jars and store them in a dark, cool, dry place or you can reuse the black bags that our tea comes in, and just store them in a cool place.
Since it is winter now, I will concentrate on things that can be gathered and used today. Try:
Candy Cap Mushrooms
Mint or Sage
I even found some Roses, but I know it's something special and unusual this time of year. Rose Petals are always wonderful in herbal infusions, they add color and flavor.
Once you gather these things, you can make your infusions with the fresh herbs, or dehydrate them and keep them for later. If you can, I recommend that you use a dehydrator, but if not, you can try putting in the oven at the lowest setting for a short period of time spread out on a cookie sheet.