by Michael Wren
BOXBOROUGH, MA — After setting up for the Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo on Nov. 8, 2016, exhibitors and attendees were invited to an educational specialty cocktail hour. Here, Sue Adams of Adams Farm and Greenhouses, complete with a mobile herb garden, offered attendees the opportunity to choose, pluck and flavor their favorite cocktails with a variety of basil, mint and thyme. Also offered at the reception was a red and white rosemary sangria made with apples and cranberries. While sangria is often viewed as a summertime drink with fresh fruit, using apples, cranberries and rosemary makes it a good candidate for a Thanksgiving sipper.
Sue Adams, who has long been in the growing business, is showing a new method in which to broaden the growth and use of herbs. “I want everyone in the world to start growing plants,” says Adams. She began infusing water in 2013 and recently began looking for new uses for basil and rosemary. After asking several restaurants if they had any new basil or rosemary recipes, the first three responses she obtained were from bartenders and were about using vodka infused with herbs or simple syrup. While this isn’t necessarily a new idea in the beverage industry it is a good way for greenhouse growers to find a place to sell their herbs. Whether it be directly to a bar or selling herbs to do-it-yourselfers who want to add a touch of green to their at-home cocktail parties, there is definitely a new market emerging in the herb industry.
Sue Adams held this reception as she put it, “To get people to think outside the window box and attract new people to using and growing herbs.” While herbs have always had a place on the spice rack for cooking, more and more people are beginning to use them in their drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. With the rising popularity of using herbs, growers will be able to take advantage of the trend selling herb kits or simply selling fresh cuttings of their herbs on-site.
Millenials enjoy DIY growing projects as well as locally grown foods. Bring them into your market by holding infusing classes where you teach and explain the different possibilities of herb use. While this might take a bit of learning beforehand on how to best infuse drinks, this gives you the opportunity to bring people into your greenhouse or store that may have never ventured in.
No matter how you do it, if you can find a way to incorporate the growth of herbs into your store it could play a big role in spicing up your sales.
Drinking with herbs
by Michael Wren