April Newsletter 2007

Herbal Haven Newsletter April 2007


Hello to you all! Welcome to the first newsletter of the year. I hope you are all excited about the lengthening daylight hours and eyeing up your garden with an increasing amount of enthusiasm, although I know some of you will have been out there for weeks now. Zsuzsa and I have been hard at it since New Year getting everything ready for the season and the tunnels are still jam packed even though we have had a couple of weekends of shows. No complaints about the weather either, on the whole it has been a lovely spring.


Over the Winter we have been organizing the web site so we can do mail order on our plants. For the packaging we’ve got plastic blister packs that protect the plants, and these are then put into cardboard boxes. We have a found a delivery company to take them at a reasonable price and last week I sent out some herbs to friends and family to test the system out. Fingers crossed it seems to have gone ok. Still waiting for the computer experts to organize the website end of it, though they tell me it is imminent. We will send out emails when the mail order is up and running.


Lots of people at the shows that we have been to so far this year seem to be asking if it’s alright to put their herbs outside. The vast majority of the herbs are hardy, including the salad varieties we sell at this time if year – lolla rossa, coriander, lambs lettuce, land cress etc. The ones we are selling are all outside on the nursery, and even when they are younger they are in unheated polytunnels so get frost on them still. The only herbs that we are selling at the moment that we still give some protection to are aloe vera, scented geraniums, African blue basil and lemon grass.



Herbs in April



Some herbs always shoot away in spring and one of the most common ones is sorrel. It is always the first one to give loads of green stuff to eat in spring. I combined it with land cress too as we have plenty of that and I thought it might make it a bit more peppery. There is a recipe at the end of the newsletter.


I thought that this year we could make a bit more use of the various nationalities we have around the nursery with regards to recipes. To this end Zsuzsa has given us a closely guarded Hungarian recipe for sorrel which is also at the end of the newsletter. I was going to make it so I could give you the low down, but I have simply run out of time. So if any of you have a go I’d be really interested to have your comments. Failing that, I’ll let you know what it was like in the next newsletter.


That’s all for now. Email us if there is anything particular you would like me to mention, or a herb that you would like a recipe for.




Sorrel and Land Cress Soup [ Serves four. ]



1 onion
1 or 2 cloves garlic
½ leek
4 smallish potatoes
30 medium sorrel leaves
60 land cress leaves
vegetable stock
1 to 2 tablespoons single cream


1. chop the onion and leek roughly, crush the garlic and sauté them all in the oil.
2. Add the peeled chopped potatoes, and the washed leaves of the herbs ( no need to chop these)
3. Put in enough water to cover, plus a vegetable stock cube or bouillion powder.
4. Put a lid on and simmer gently until the potatoes are soft.
5. Turn the heat off, liquidize and add the cream ( that optional of course)


Zsuzsa’s sweet sorrel sauce



1 kg sorrel leaves
1tbs oil
salt and sugar (or honey)
250mls double cream
2tbsp flour<

1. Mix together the cream and the sieved flour to make a thick paste.
2. Saute the washed sorrel in the oil until soft.
3. Liquidize the sorrel, then add the cream mixture, salt and sugar.

This is used as an accompaniment to meat and potatoes. To make a salty sauce to go with sausages, or under fried eggs, substitute the sorrel with spinach, and the sugar with garlic.