Monday, June 21, 2010

Herbal Memories--Celebrating the Summer Solstice at Caprilands!

I had all of these wonderful memories flood back to me as I read MoonCat Farms post over the weekend.  I have decided to do a series of posts about my herbal visits over the years.  I have done a lot of traveling  to wonderful herbal places and I'm going to relive my favorite moments with you, dear herbal readers.  Here I am (Yes, that's me!) with Adelma Simmons at Caprilands Herb Farm.  You can't miss that beanie of hers.  Also, there is a sign above her head.  Here she is looking at a picture of my garden at the time and telling me what lovely artemisia I had!  I remember that gave me chills in a good way!

So back in the day Caprilands was an herbal Mecca of sorts.  Here is the main house.  The Herbal Husband and I visited on the Summer Solstice, a high day of herbal celebration.  We had lunch in the main house with the floors strewn with rose petals.  We had mugwort wreathes on our heads to revive the weary traveler.  Photos do exist at least of me and maybe in another post, I will share them!  Here are those rose strewn floors.
The star of the lunch was a big bowl of edible flowers, herbs and lettuce that made a grand entrance.  It has the WOW factor, doesn't it?

I remember we started with Strawberry Soup and that's why when I read Julie's post from MoonCat Farms, the wonderful herbal memories came back to me.  Here is Caprilands Strawberry Soup recipe:

Caprilands Strawberry Soup

2 cups of strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream

Run strawberries through blender, add cream, blend.  Add sour cream and a few whole berries before serving.

It was decadent in its simplicity.  As I recall recipes, I will share them with you.  I remember she took a recipe from this book and another recipe from another book.  She was a very smart herbal business woman!  I remember a chicken (The more I think about it the more I think it was a seafood casserole and The Herbal Husband ate it!  He is not a big fan of seafood!  I happily make up for his dislike of seafood!) casserole of some kind.  Adelma had a fabulous cook, but in the end it was all about herbs.

You can always find Adelma's books on Bookfinder.  As you know, I get in a lot of trouble on that website.  If you click Caprilands Herb Farm link above, it does not take you to a website for Caprilands, but to a story on that describes a visit to Caprilands in 2001 or so.  I tried to get on the Caprilands website and could not find it.  I read on another site that it is closed.  So hope you live vicariously through The Herbal Husband and I.  Enjoy Caprilands Herb Farm!


Martha said...

I have several of her books and lucky you to visit that wonderful garden -- she was certainly ahead of the pack with herbs and her herbal knowledge.

Thanks for sharing!

I did know that she passed away (but don't remember when) so perhaps there was no one to carry on her work at Caprilands.

lemonverbenalady said...

Hi Martha,

She passed away in 1997 at 93. Her third husband tried to continue, but he had a court battle with her children who wanted the property sold. He did win the battle, but in the end I guess lost the war. The last time I was there was in 1999 with The Rosemary House. The gardens were in disarray and dinner was not like it was in Adelma's day. I thought he was making progress, but in the end, it couldn't stay open. Thanks as always for your comments.

Carol said...

That soup recipe sounds heavenly. Especially on these super hot days we've been having here in Missouri. I just may have to serve that tomorrow night.

lemonverbenalady said...

It is so delicious, Carol and obviously very simple to make. Thanks for stopping by!

Jules @ MoonCat Farms said...

I'm glad I could help spur you on to share your travels (and yummy recipes) with us. How wonderful to have met - and still be meeting - so many of these icons in the herbal world. Thank you for letting us adventure with you.

lemonverbenalady said...

Yes, Adelma was a real herbal character in every sense! Thanks for triggering great memories, Julie!

taylorsoutback said...

So enjoyed reading your Caprilands memories. You are fortunate to have photos! I cannot locate mine from my day there back in 1989. If you have time, please visit my recent blog entry "Come Dance With Me" where I also share memories of Adelma. It is fun to compare notes.
Hope you can drop by soon.

Rosemary said...

This was a fun tribute Nancy. Loved the photos! I enjoyed the step back in time!

katknit said...

The grounds at Caprilands are still open to the public, but the gardens are not what they used to be. No more lectures or luncheons, or shops. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I,too,will never forget Ms.Simmons ,and her herbal magic that I have never found anywhere else in my travels. I never wanted to leave the farm. I was enchanted with the food,the gardens,and the wonderful smells.Luckily,I have 3 autographed books of hers that I cherish.

Colorado Mom said...

My family moved to Coventry in 1985, into a little cape cod house, just up the road from the herb farm. There were days that I would walk down and stroll through the gardens for hours before finally realizing that I had to hurry home to be there for the kids when they got home from school. I loved it so much that I finally submitted an application for a job, willing to do anything needed, just to spend time working along side everyone at Caprilands. On the day before I was to start my job, my car was hit from behind and demolished, along with my ability to get around (for quite a few years). I'm still moved to tears when I think of that missed opportunity and the times that were to never be mine. I miss the teas, the luncheons and the special times of instruction from Mrs. Simmons. Most of all, I miss her kindness and that beautiful smile...