Exotic Herbs Farm

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Exotic Herbs a Specialty at Weed Farm                  
by Dale Piper

Not all family farms in Vermont are dairy farms.  Especially now, when dairy
farms are struggling with low milk prices, high fuel costs and other factors,
those who wish to work the land and live an agrarian lifestyle may want to find
ways to diversify.  Some have sheep, some have goats, some raise fruits and
vegetables – and at least one has taken diversification to a whole new level.

About half a mile up the hill from Lincoln village, on Quaker Street, is Weed
Just as the name implies, Sue Borg grows herbs -- all certified organic,
many of which the uninitiated see as common weeds.   There are the better-
known varieties like basil, parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme, but many are
more exotic such as angelica, ashwaganda, skullcap and mugwort.   Some are
culinary herbs, some are medicinal and many serve both purposes.

Weed Farm was started five years ago for a very specific reason.  “All my life I’
ve been self employed, so I have no retirement plan,” said Sue.  “I wanted to
have something that I could do well into my old age, and this is it!”  In addition
to producing the herbs, Sue teaches a series of classes at the farm all during the
spring and summer and into the fall.  Her students learn how to plan an
organic garden, start seedlings, prepare oils and salves, tinctures and vinegars
and cook with herbs.  There is also a class on using plants and herbs to make
gift items.

Today, Sue points out, medicine is so complex and costly and herbs are largely
preventative, so it makes sense to use them as much as possible.  Many
varieties, such as
Echinacea, strengthen the immune system and certain herbs
are recommended to enhance the body’s various systems.  Weed Farm’s
catalog is quick to point out that no curative claims are made for any herb and
serious illness or injury are best tended to by a medical professional, but if we
can brew teas and cook with common plants it will certainly keep us healthier.

In addition to selling herb plants and seeds, Weed Farm raises organically fed
broiler chickens for subscription sales.  In the spring, you can order anywhere
from one chicken on up and receive them, all processed, in August.  If orders
warrant it, a second round of chickens is processed in October.  The chicks are
raised in a warm coop and fed organic grain and fresh water and when old
enough, they can go outside and eat plants and bugs.  They are healthier food
than cage-raised, commercial chickens, and customers can pick them up the
same day they are processed.  Weed farm chickens are usually of the Cornish
Cross variety, but Sue will be trying out two others, White Orpington and
Kosher King, this season.

The farm is also an unusual pick-your-own herbs destination.  You can pick
anything from a few sprigs of an exotic herb for a special recipe, or for a bundle
(or many) to dry for future use.  During the summer, the farm stand also sells
books, herb processing materials and supplies and crafts and gift items made
from herbs.

Plants are grown on raised beds on the farm’s hillside in full sun, while down
the hill are handmade “teepee” arbors that support hop vines.  Farther down,
over the bank among the trees, are other plants that do better in a shadier
environment.  In addition to being a purveyor of plants, the farm offers a
bucolic, relaxing spot to walk among the different plantings.  

So if you’re ever off the beaten path in Lincoln, Vermont, give Weed Farm a
visit – for quick snips of herbs, plantings for your herb garden, or a delicious
chicken, or just to relax on the farm.  For more information contact:

Weed Farm
613 Quaker Street
Lincoln VT 05443
(802) 453-7395

How to get there: 1/2 mile up Quaker St. from the Lincoln Store) Open
Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Farmstand, PYO herbs. E-mail:

About the author:

Dale Piper lives and writes in Middlebury, Vermont, where lives with her
husband David.  Mother of two, and grandmother of two, she graduated from
St. Lawrence University and Middlebury College.  Writing since high school,
where she was Feature Editor for the school newspaper, she worked for the
State of Vermont for 33 years until her retirement. Most of her recent work
appears regularly in The Valley Voice, an Addison County, Vermont weekly,
in the form of features, opinion pieces and local color.   
Weed Farm
Dale Piper
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