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An Ode to Herbs

You'll Wax Poetic... When You Visit Caprilands Herb Farm in Connecticut

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Caprilands Herb Farm CT - Photo

Taste, buy and stroll among the herbs at Caprilands Herb Farm in Connecticut.

(c) 2001 Kim Knox Beckius
You can eat them in a soup,
You can eat them with your group.
You can eat them with a goat,
You can eat the ones that float.
You can buy them in a jar,
You can keep them in your car!

OK, that's hardly an ode. In fact, even calling it "Seuss-ish" would be lavishing myself with far too much credit. But... that doesn't detract from the fact that I left Caprilands Herb Farm feeling quite inspired about herbs--cooking with herbs, decorating with herbs, sipping herbs, even bringing myself good fortune with--you guessed it--herbs!

Caprilands is located in Connecticut's "Quiet Corner," the northeastern region of the state. It's about a 40-minute drive from either Hartford, Connecticut, or Sturbridge, Massachusetts. It's just a click away when you join me for a virtual tour .

Caprilands, which is Latin for "goat lands," was the brainchild of Adelma Grenier Simmons, who died in 1997. Simmons purchased the deserted farm in Coventry in 1930. Originally a goat farm and dairy, it became an herb farm following one summer drought when, as Simmons' husband and the estate's executor, Edward Cook, tells it, "everything died but the herbs. She believed she'd been 'spoken to,' he said."

Visitors are welcome to wander among the property's themed herbal and floral gardens, which include a Cook's Garden, Saint's Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Medieval Garden, Bride's Garden, and many more. A printable map is available at the Caprilands Web site.

It would require infinite willpower to leave Caprilands without purchasing something. My shopping bag was loaded down with Caprilands Tea, a delightful, soothing blend of a variety of herbs related to mental and physical well-being; a jar of Caprilands Mixed Herbs designed for sprinkling in salads, sauces, soups and herb spreads; and a small booklet titled, Wedding Herbs… for a Happy Household. I almost scooped loose lavender into a small sack to use as an herbal car freshener, as well, but I decided I needed a reason to return to Caprilands. The Gift Barn, Greenhouse Conservatory and Dried Flower Shop are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. year round.

The best time to visit, though, is during one of the scheduled lecture/luncheon or high tea events held during the year.

Edward Cook carries on many of the traditions that have made Caprilands a popular destination since the 1950s, when Adelma Grenier Simmons began serving luncheon guests. Our luncheon featured luscious, herb-laden preparations, and Cook kept their herbal ingredients a well-guarded secret until after we'd finished eating. I'll tell you more about the menu and show you some of the colorful, tasty dishes we consumed on our virtual tour .

While weekday luncheons at Caprilands are reserved for private groups or parties, high tea is served every Sunday from April through December at 2 p.m. and is open to the public by reservation. Call (860) 742-7244 to reserve your place at this herbal feast featuring wine punch, tea, canapés, breads, tea sandwiches, salad, soup and dessert. The cost is $12 per person.

Special lectures on herbal topics hosted by Caprilands are followed by an herbal luncheon, as well. Call ahead or visit the Caprilands Web site for a schedule of upcoming events.

Ready to see why Caprilands made me wax poetic? Come along on this virtual culinary adventure .

Getting there... From I-84 East, take exit 59 for Route 384. When 384 ends, turn left on Route 44 East. Silver Street is a right turn off 44. From I-84 West, take exit 67 and proceed south on Route 31 for about seven miles. Turn left onto Route 44. Silver Street is the second street on the right.

If you can't get to Caprilands... You can still order products from the Herb Farm by phone.

Caprilands Herb Farm
534 Silver Street
Coventry, Connecticut 06238
Phone: (860) 742-7244
Orders: 800 568-7132 info@pointsebago.com
Web site: http://www.caprilands.com

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