As I was weeding the herb spiral in the lower garden at Slide Ranch on Friday, I said to myself in a partially silly, partially serious way: “Can thyme save us?”
The herbs in the Slide Ranch garden are a great way to invite children and other visitors to deepen their experience with the outdoors and connect to home-grown food. Intensely aromatic scents of rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, savory, marjoram, and oregano all speak to senses and are part of some of our favorite culinary dishes, and they remind us that every satisfying pleasure sources from primary elements like sunlight, water, soil, seeds… and, of course, time.
This connection is one reason our camp cooking projects are so exciting. Campers can follow their noses in our organic garden and harvest herbs to add their wood-fired pizza, scallion pancakes, lemon verbena tea, mint lemonade, and more. Through this farm to fork experience, campers of all ages see how a small amount of herbs can make a big impact in any dish. It plants the seed that one potted thyme, basil or mint plant can provide a large quantity of herbs for a huge array of homemade dishes, and the best news is that this fresh produce can be grown at home in pots on a porch or in window boxes.
What a great way to empower children to participate in creative meal preparation at home. Let them follow their noses the next time you’re wondering what those potatoes need. Perhaps a bit of dill or cilantro or rosemary… or maybe it’s thyme that will save them.