Learn more about herbs at 23rd annual Spring Herb Festival

From the press release from the Western Carolina chapter of the N.C. Herb Association:

The 23rd annual Spring Herb Festival will take place at the WNC Farmers Market May 4, 5, and 6, 2012, bringing together the largest annual gathering of herb enthusiasts in the southeast. The festival, now in its 23rd year, attracts more than 25,000 herb lovers and more than sixty professional growers and retailers to Asheville each spring.

The Festival is open Friday and Saturday from 9:00 to 5:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 3:00. Admission and parking are free, and a free shuttle will transport visitors and purchases between parking areas and the Festival booths.
May is the ideal time to set out most herbs, and the festival features such traditional and familiar herbs as basil, tarragon, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, and lavender. In addition, there are new varieties cross-bred for flavor, size, and pest resistance, as well as herbal soaps, lotions, and medicinal products, gardening books, herb-friendly pots and containers, and rain-barrels to conserve water.

Most familiar herbs have a Mediterranean origin, so they’ve evolved to thrive in rocky soils, hot sun, even drought conditions. For modern gardeners, that means that the herbs they want to plant are versatile and low-maintenance, thriving in a spare corner of a yard, a raised bed, or containers on a sunny deck.

“A lot of herbs are perennials,” notes Festival founder Rick Morgan. “Once they’re established, even after a year, perennials use less water than annuals.” Both for home gardeners and professionals, that makes herbs an attractive addition to any landscape design – especially in the southeast, where drought is a repeated, familiar, and growing problem.

As always, the NC Agricultural Extension Service will have a booth staffed with Master Gardeners to answer questions.

Details in a nutshell
The 2012 Spring Herb Festival is open Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday hours are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There’s no admission or parking fee. Festival parking is available at the exhibit area and throughout the Farmers Market grounds. During peak hours, a free shuttle will transport visitors – and their plants – between parking areas and the Festival booths.

The WNC Farmers Market is conveniently located at the intersection of I-40 and U.S. 191, Brevard Road, and less than two miles from I-26. For more information, visit the festival website at www.ashevilleherbfestival.com, or call the Farmers Market at 828-253-1691 or the Festival Coordinator at 828-301-8968.


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