Herbs give a taste of farming

Friday, August 18, 2017
Annabelle Morris tends her raised bed of various herbs and marigolds.
Ralph Pokorny

When people usually think about FFA projects, something involving livestock or other typical farming activities usually comes to mind. That is not true anymore.

As farming has evolved to include other activities, so have FFA projects.

Bronaugh sophomore Annabelle Morris said she first thought about doing something involving livestock, but her grandmother, Sharon Pruitt, suggested that she plant an herb garden, and after thinking about it, that is what she chose for her FFA supervised agriculture experience project for this year.

“I decided that I would have more access to it,” Morris, who does not live on a farm and does not yet have her driver license, said.

She said that Pruitt purchased the soil for the raised planting bed and the herb plants, and gave her the seeds for the marigolds that are interspersed with the herbs.

And Annie’s Fresh Herbs was born.

As part of her FFA project Morris said she must keep track of all the expenses involved with the project and the money she makes from selling the herbs.

Annabelle said she has 11 different herb plants this year: Parsley, Greek oregano, chives, basil, lavender, thyme, mint, lemon balm, rosemary and sage.

If she ever runs short of the herbs she has grown, Janis Collins, the Master Gardener who takes of the herb garden at the Bushwhacker Museum, told her she could use the herbs from the herb garden at the museum.

She said she has advertised her business on Facebook and has distributed some of the posters she had printed.

“I’ve had several Facebook customers,” she said.

She has also been to the Neal Center at lunchtime and to the community center in the mornings when people are walking for exercise.

“Mike Parson was really great, offering to let me come to the senior center,” she said.

Annabelle’s mother, Sarah Morris, said “She has had late nights preparing the herbs for orders to be delivered the next day — cutting, washing them and putting them in the fridge.”

Earlier this summer Annabelle attended the Leadership in Practice workshop sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and she said while working on this project she has been able to put some of the lessons she learned at the leadership workshop into practice.

“Integrity” she said. “It’s been hard doing the right thing over and over.”

Her mother said that although Annabelle has had some help from her family, it has her project.

“This is her baby. She weeds and waters the garden. She cuts the plants and washes them,” Sarah said.

Next summer the Bronaugh FFA has an opportunity to attend the FFA Washington Leadership Conference and each student must pay part of the cost to attend and that Annabelle is saving the money she makes from the sale of herbs for that purpose.

She is already planning for next year, with a second raised herb garden so she can raise more plants and even making pots of herbs that people can raise indoors. With the additional herb garden, she plans to add some different varieties.

“I want to add some more varieties of mints. Maybe chocolate mint and lemon mint,” she said.

She has also learned how to dry herbs.

“Dried lavender looks pretty and can be used for decorations,” she said.

Her mother said that Annabelle likes to cook and to experiment with different herbs in soups and stews. She said she was surprised to find that fresh herbs provided more seasoning than dried herbs did.

Annabelle said that she has learned that the time of day you water your garden is important.

“You should water plants early in the morning of at night. Not during the middle of the day when they can be sunburned. My grandmother taught me that,” Annabelle said.

In addition to raising herbs, Annabelle has busy schedule during the school year.

This year she will be the chaplain for the Bronaugh FFA. She will also be in the Bronaugh High School band, a member of the academic team, and plays softball, volleyball and basketball. Last year she was also in speech and debate. And she was waiting to see if she had been successful with her audition for the National FFA band.

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