Monday, 7 July 2014

Featured Grower: Herb & Co.

We're coaxing some of the Barn Market growers, designers, makers and creatives out of their studios and workspaces to share their unique stories and passions behind the beautiful handmade and grown items they bring along to the market.

There is a real passion for gardening behind Herb & Co's range of edible and medicinal plants. Jane and Harriet work from their greenhouses at home, promoting seasonal growing and organic gardening practices. Working on a smaller scale than your average nursery, Jane and Harriet's plants are living proof of their commitment to gardening and raising the healthiest of plants to bring to the market. 

We asked them to share a little bit more about their unique Tasmanian business, Herb & Co.

What brought you both together to create Herb & Co?
Harriet and I met at the Botanical Gardens (RTBG) in early 2011, when we both embarked on a new career and life-changing course. We were both accepted into the RTBG’s inaugural Certificates 1, 2 & 3 in Horticulture. Both of us had young families and were looking for a new focus in our lives.  This course was just what we were looking for. Juggling young families and all that life throws at us, we were nearing the completion of our course in 2012 when an opportunity to purchase a stall at Salamanca Market arose.  In what has become our signature style we jumped at the chance.
We began our small business venture in April 2012, purchasing the Salamanca Market Stall.
After an enthusiastic start with a dash of blind ignorance thrown in, Herb and Co is now up and running.

What has been the most challenging aspect of running Herb & Co:
We work from greenhouses set up at our homes and continue to juggle the busy, unpredictable lives of our families, but it works and we love it.
Finding our way in an industry that was new to us both has been the greatest challenge. Our course at the RTBG was fantastic and gave us the skills to grow and propagate our plants but what it didn't teach us was the skills to negotiate a new industry. 

We all have bad days at work, what is it about Herb & co that keeps you going?            Not the money! (We are still working on that part of the business).To be honest we laugh a lot! Also we are passionate about growing and promoting edible (and medicinal) plants that are suited to Hobart's climatic conditions. We love talking to like minded customers and sharing ideas and experiences.

Is there anything you wish you could say to everyone who stops by your stall at the market?
Lots of keen gardeners are confused about when to plant basil and coriander! Plant your basil in late spring when you put your tomatoes in! Basil needs hot weather conditions. Coriander is a short lived plant that thrives in our calmer, cool weather; plant it in early autumn all the way through to spring. Plant coriander every 3 weeks for a continuous supply.

It's midwinter, is there anything we should be growing right now in our gardens and windowsills?
At the moment we have strawberries, rhubarb crowns, saffron, parsley, winter greens and all your perennial plants (lavender, sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary). These can go into your gardens now ready to take off in spring.
It is always nice to have a few annual herbs sitting on your window sill ready to go. Parsley, coriander, heartsease (edible viola) and even a nice pot of winter greens always look good on your windowsill.

Herb and Co are newbies at the Barn Market, what can we expect to see for your first market and into the future?
We are excited to be joining an Eastern Shore market. We will have a large range of beautifully presented herb and vegetable plants, gifts of potted herbs and fruit. Plus our clever husbands hand made recycled timer boxes of herbs. Our range of plants will continually evolve with the seasons.  Expect a smile and lots of enthusiasm.

We can't wait to have such a fabulous plant stall joining us at the Barn Market on July 19th. Please give Harriet and Jane a warm- welcome !

You can find Herb & Co on facebook and at the Barn Market.

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