Past News from Blue Owl!

May 5, 2016: The new growing season has begun!

Summer markets: Alas, the Worthington Indoor market season is over and we're looking ahead to somewhat less predictable selling conditions outside at our summer markets..... yeah, we're getting soft, I suppose.

2016 will see us at 2 markets in Central Ohio: Saturdays May 21 through the end of October you'll find us in downtown Granville from 8:30 - noon. On Tuesdays June through October, we'll be at the BRAND NEW Canal Market District farmers market in downtown Newark from 4 - 7 PM. This is a major local foods event for Licking County, come on over and check it out!

If you can't find us at a convenient time or place, remember that Blue Owl products are available year-round at Brasseur's Botanicals in Newark OH.

Herbs & Mushrooms: The first fresh herbs of spring are ready for harvest, with more on the way. Some things that are prime now: sorrel, sweet cicely, chives, lemon balm, chervil, lovage..... and spruce tips!

The shrooms are happy with this weather, too. While the mushroom inoculation workshare has (mostly) wound down, we now have a new supply of grow-your-own mushroom logs available for purchase. And other workshare opportunities are possible, perhaps raised bed building? Or harvesting/processing garlic? Let me know if you have any particular herb farm skills you'd like to learn!

Feb. 3, 2016: Greetings for the New Year!

Workshops: Making Herbal Beads -- Ever wondered what to do with leftover dried herbs? Or the fragrant dried flowers from an old bouquet, esp. roses? Turn them into beads! Victorians were wild about rose petal beads: made from real roses, these beads were strung into jewelry for both adornment and as a subtle perfume. This age-old crafting tradition can be used with other herbs and fragrant flowers to make necklaces, earrings, bracelets or even linen sachets. Join us as we call on your inner child to grind up herbs, add water, and turn the gooey mess into interesting objects. A great way to preserve fragrant flowers from a special event or even just to use up last year's herbs past their prime. This hand-on workshop will allow participants to create their own beads to turn into a special gift. Ohio Herb Education Center: Feb. 6, 2016 1-2:30 PM, $25/person, register on-line at The Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH.

Winter markets: We'll be selling at the Worthington Indoor Farmers Market Saturdays through the winter to the end of April. One major exception is the OEFFA Conference, Feb. 13-14, held annually in Granville, OH. This year you will find the Blue Owl in the exhibit hall! Another new experience! If you can't find us at a convenient time or place, remember that Blue Owl products are available year-round at Brasseur's Botanicals in Newark OH.

Herbs: Many of you have already seen our new display racks at the Granville or Worthington markets; the increased capacity has allowed us to offer more dried herbs than ever before -- not just more culinary herbs, but more fragrance, dye, medicina, incense-making, and insect repellent herbs. Over 200 varieties! Recently added: fenugreek herb, alfalfa, Arabian mint, patchouli, blackberry leaf, huacatay black mint, caraway thyme, bachelor's buttons, and green shiso; also pine, fir, red cedar, and American hemlock tips in addition to the spruce tips we've had in the past.

There have been a few additions to the Blue Owl line of herbal goodies:

Mushrooms: It's ALMOST time for our mushroom inoculation workshare sessions, scheduled during the month of April. Here's how it works: every Sunday afternoon and Tuesday all-day you have the opportunity to join me in renewing Blue Owl Hollow's mushroom production infrastructure by inoculating new hardwood logs with various types of culinary mushroom spawn. You'll learn the process and have the opportunity to earn your own log to take home. There is no charge for this adventure, but to take home a log, you must contribute 10 logs to the farm's mushroom growing capacity. Email if you are interested.

Lost in the shuffle: Blue Owl Garden Emporium and Blue Owl Hollow were featured in a nice article by Colleen Leonardi in Edible Columbus way back last spring. If you didn't grab an issue when it was available, you can still access the Spring 2015 issue on-line.

Sept. 23, 2015: Happy Fall Equinox!

Summer has come and gone in a flash, but thankfully we're still here and now have a moment to share some of the latest Blue Owl News as we head into fall and winter.

Fall and Winter markets: We'll be selling at the Worthington Indoor Farmers Market most Saturdays (usually 3 out of 4 Saturdays) through the winter season starting Nov. 14, with the major exception being the big Granville Thanksgiving Market on Nov. 21..... held outdoors. It's always exciting to see what the weather will be like in Ohio -- last year we had freezing rain which made the street a skating rink! If you can't find us at a convenient time or place, remember that Blue Owl products are available year-round at The Going Green Store in Granville OH and now also at Brasseur's Botanicals in Newark OH.

Herbs: Despite the wet spring, 2015 has turned out to be a vastly better growing year than 2014 for oh-so-many reasons. Many of you have already seen our new display racks at the Granville market; the increased capacity has allowed us to offer more dried herbs than ever before, including not just more culinary herbs, but more fragrance herbs, dye herbs, medicinal herbs, incense-making herbs, and insect repellent herbs. Over 200 varieties! New this year: fenugreek herb, alfalfa, Arabian mint, patchouli, blackberry leaf, huacatay black mint, caraway thyme, bachelor's buttons, and green shiso; also we've added pine, fir, and American hemlock tips to the spruce tips we've had in the past. The exception to the rule is garlic..... we have only a small selection of heirloom garlic for sale this year (6 varieties), with a few braids still available.

There have been a few additions to the Blue Owl line of herbal blends: 2 new herbal teas, in particular Bed of Roses (rose petals, rose-scented geraniums, holy basil) and Blue Hyssop (dried blueberries, purple hyssop, lemon verbena) plus 1 new cookie jar mix, Blue Hooty Creeks (dried cranberries, oatmeal, white chocolate chips, orange balsam thyme). More to come this fall!

Mushrooms: While we'll continue to sell fresh mushrooms at the market as long as the weather holds, we are SOLD OUT of grow-your-own inoculated mushroom logs until next spring. But don't despair, you can plan ahead for our mushroom inoculation workshare sessions, scheduled during the month of April. Here's how it works: every Sunday afternoon and Tuesday all-day you have the opportunity to join me in renewing Blue Owl Hollow's mushroom production infrastructure by inoculating new hardwood logs with various types of culinary mushroom spawn. You'll learn the process and have the opportunity to earn your own log to take home. There is no charge for this adventure, but to take home a log, you must contribute 10 logs to the farm's mushroom growing capacity. Email if you are interested.

Ohio Herb Education Center: As in years past, I will be participating in various events at the Center. First, there is the Herb Group, which meets monthly and features a different herb each session. I'll be covering Cardamon (Oct. 13) and Spicebush (Mar. 8). The herb group also occasionally does pop-up classes, such as Making Sweet-grass Braids (Oct. 6). If you interested in the group, contact the Center to find out more.

I'll also be doing a class open to the public on Oct. 24 (Sat. 1-2 PM), Cooking with Herbs and Mushrooms. Too often relegated to garnish, mushrooms can be the centerpiece for a meal, as well as a complement to either vegetarian or meat dishes. Become acquainted with a number of mushroom varieties available and differences in taste and seasonality. Explore various methods of preparation, as well as well-known and not-so-well-known herbal seasoning partners. Recipes provided. $35/person, register on-line at The Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH.

Lost in the shuffle: Blue Owl Garden Emporium and Blue Owl Hollow were featured in a nice article by Colleen Leonardi in Edible Columbus way back last spring. If you didn't grab an issue when it was available, you can still access the Spring 2015 issue on-line.

March 27, 2015: Officially, it's now spring.....

... and regardless of what's happening outside, things are HEATING UP here at the Blue Owl! The mushroom cultivation season began in earnest last week (during Spring Break), as we felled trees for the first batch of mushroom logs. This year we focused on an area badly damaged in the Xmas 2004 ice storm.... a fascinating study in natural re-generation, it's also a source for large numbers of storm-damaged trees suitable to use in mushroom production. As the Blue Owl mushroom workshare program kicks off on Sunday (see below), almost all activity for the next 6 weeks will focus on one or more aspects of mushroom culture.

Mushroom workshare: As in past years, a series of mushroom inoculation workshare sessions are scheduled during the month of April. Basically, every Sunday afternoon and Tuesday all-day you have the opportunity to join me in renewing Blue Owl Hollow's mushroom production infrastructure by inoculating new hardwood logs with various types of culinary mushroom spawn. You'll learn the process and have the opportunity to earn your own log to take home. There is no charge for this adventure, but to take home a log, you must contribute 10 logs to the farm's mushroom growing capacity. Sundays are mostly full, but Tuesday slots are available. Email if you are interested in signing up.

Herb-growing workshare: Alternatively, if you are interested in learning more about growing herbs in Ohio, for the first time this year we're offering an herb-growing workshare. Starting in May, on Tuesdays you are welcome to come out and help with the seeding, planting, weeding, bed-building, or whatever else is happening. T'is hard work, but you'll learn a lot and be able to take home some Blue Owl herbs in exchange. Contact me if you are interested.

Herbal Salads class at the Ohio Herb Education Center. Who said a salad _has_ to have lettuce in it? Try a salad of herbal greens instead and experience a new taste sensation! Not to mention the added benefit of flexibility. Your herbal salad mix changes with the seasons: many of herbal greens thrive in the heat of summer when lettuce wilts and many are very frost hardy, the first to appear in spring and still green and vibrant into early winter when other fresh local produce is past. Come nibble on a variety of herbal greens suitable for the salad course and learn when they are at their peak, where to find them and/or grow them. Sat. April 18, 1 -2 PM and Tue. April 28, 6:30 - 7:30 PM. Contact The Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH to sign up.

Spring markets: We'll be selling at the Worthington Indoor Farmers Market every Saturday in April. After a brief interlude doing some special events in early May, e.g., Gahanna Herb Day Celebration, we'll start our regular summer market season in Granville on May 23. If you can't find us at a convenient time or place, remember that Blue Owl products are available year-round at The Going Green Store in Granville OH.

CSA: Partnering with Bird's Haven Farms

Again this year we're offering a Blue Owl Herb CSA add-on in conjunction with Bird's Haven Farms 2015 CSA program! Don't know quite what you get from a CSA subscription? Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a set amount of produce, but other products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "subscription") and in return receive a bag of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

It is also possible to expand your subscription to include products from other local businesses. For example, in addition to your Bird's Haven produce, you may now purchase a Blue Owl Herb CSA add-on to include some Blue Owl Garden Emporium dried culinary herbs in your weekly bag. CSA add-ons supporting other local producers are also available, including: Oink, Moo, Cluck, Osage Lane Creamery, One Line Coffee, and Lucky Cat Bakery. Learn more about how to sign-up and the pick-up locations and times in Central Ohio. What a wonderful way to support a whole community with just one bag!

Plan ahead for the May 9th Ohio Herb Day Celebration: Come celebrate all things herbal! Speakers, local artists, vendors, herb demonstrations, live music, and herb plants for sale from Mill Creek and others. Blue Owl will have a booth selling early season fresh herbs (think ramps!), the full range of dried herbal goodies, as well as fresh mushrooms and grow-your-own mushroom logs. In the afternoon, Janell will give an herbal craft demonstration: how to make fresh herbal tea wreaths with herbs and edible flowers. Creekside Plaza in Gahanna OH. Sponsored by The Ohio Herb Education Center 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH 9 AM - 4 PM. Mark your calendars now!

Jan. 8, 2015: Happy New Year!

And with the New Year, winter has arrived in force. With lessons learned from last year, we went to much greater lengths to winterize the more tender plantings and hopefully it will be enough. It is also time to start planning for the new growing season and scheduling classes, workshops, and other activities. Stay tuned as these are added to the schedule in the near future.

Mushroom workshare: I know it seems like the deepest, darkest part of winter (and it is!), but not too early to start thinking spring and mushrooms! As in past years, I will be doing a series of mushroom inoculation workshare sessions during the month of April. Basically, every Sunday afternoon and Tuesday all-day you have the opportunity to join me in renewing Blue Owl Hollow's mushroom production infrastructure by inoculating new hardwood logs with various types of culinary mushroom spawn. You'll learn the process and have the opportunity to earn your own log to take home. There is no charge for this adventure, but to take home a log, you must contribute 10 logs to the farm's mushroom growing capacity. Email me to reserve your spot.

Herb-growing workshare: If you are interested in learning more about growing herbs in Ohio, I am planning some herb-growing workshare sessions this spring. Starting in May, Tuesdays you are welcome to come on out and help with the seeding, planting, weeding, bed-building, or whatever else is happening. T'is hard work, but you will have the opportunity to take home some Blue Owl herbs in exchange. Contact me if you are interested.

Winter markets: Just a reminder that we'll be selling at the Worthington Indoor Farmers Market several Saturdays each month through the end of April; because of the OEFFA conference in February, we'll only be attending the New Albany Indoor Farmers Market once more on March 21. Check below for exact dates . If you can't find us at a convenient time or place, remember that Blue Owl products are available year-round at The Going Green Store in Granville OH.

Mixing & Using Herbal Tea class: Nothing makes us feel cozy in winter like a steaming cup of herbal tea. We think of tea as a soothing treat, but it’s easy to overlook the many health benefits, from improving digestion, calming ragged nerves, and improving sleep, to adding key nutrients to our diet. Local herb farmer Janell Baran of Blue Owl Garden Emporium will introduce a variety of suitable tea herbs and spices -- many locally and sustainably grown in Licking County -- as well as the best brewing techniques. Attendees will have an opportunity to experiment with their own herbal tea blends and sample a number of common and uncommon herbal flavor combinations. Join us for some fun with herbs at the Ohio Herb Education Center at 100 Mill St. in downtown Gahanna OH on either Sat. Jan. 17 (1-2:30 PM) or Tue. Jan 27 (6:30-8 PM). Signup online or call (614) 342-4250 to register.

New and returning products: Despite 2014's weather challenges, a couple of old favorites are again available for sale at this winter. White sage and sweet grass bundles, epazote, anise hyssop, and za'atar herb are back, as is Cardamom Anise Hyssop Chai tea. We have a new mushroom offering from Japan, Nameko aka Pholiota nameko. New to many winter market customers, we now have an herbed poultry brine blend, just in time for Thanksgiving. A couple other goodies in the making will be available soon. Check out the latest availability for more details.

More grow-your-own mushroom logs: although we're already sold out of this year's Shiitake logs, we now have Nameko, Box Elder Oyster, and Lion's Mane logs for sale. These varieties are a little more challenging than Shiitake, with different cultivation requirements, but are well worth the effort. Recommended for folks who already have some mushroom cultivation experience.

News as of Oct. 31, 2014:

Winter Farmers Market season begins: our first winter market is this Saturday, Nov. 1 at The Shops at Worthington in Worthington, OH. Although we've had some light frosts, our offerings this week will include:

2014 herb growing challenges:
2014 was quite a year! Winter 2013/2014 was the worst in 50 years (so they say!), with lots of snow and repeated COLD lows down to -25°F. Spring revealed death and destruction in the herb beds, esp. among the woody perennials like rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, oregano, roses, and even winter savory. Then, after an ambitious start to re-establishing those high-demand herbs, Janell crashed hard with a case of mononucleosis (at her age!). It was late July before the worst symptoms passed, but somehow -- with generous assistance from friends, family, neighbors, and loyal customers (THANK YOU!) -- we managed the necessary planting and attended summer markets with almost the full spectrum of Blue Owl herbs.

But, adding insult to injury, summer was cool and wet, causing fungal problems with many herbs that thrive in hot sun, esp. basils. The most immediate result will be decreased supply of 2014 dried herbs for sale until (hopefully) the 2015 crops start coming in. Sadly, the Almanac predicts an equally bad winter to come, but with lessons learned perhaps the outcome will be less depressing.

May 10, 2014, 9 AM - 4 PM. Ohio Herb Day Celebration:
Come celebrate all things herbal! Speakers, local artists, vendors, herb demonstrations, live music, and herb plants for sale from Mill Creek. Blue Owl will have a booth selling early season fresh herbs (think ramps!), the full range of dried herbal goodies, as well as fresh mushrooms and grow-your-own mushroom logs. In the afternoon, Janell will demonstrate how to make herbal whisk brooms. Creekside Plaza & The Ohio Herb Education Center 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH. Mark your calendars now!

Feb. 21, 2014: Whew! Is it STILL winter!?!

Actually I would have enjoyed this winter's weather -- sun flashing off blindingly white snow under a brilliant blue sky, cold crisp air curling your nose hairs, wind chills that can turn tears into miniature icicles, the joy of a roaring fire in the woodstove, and the unbelievable brightness of stars at night -- truly a nostalgic flashback to my early days growing up in Minnesota….

Would have, that is, if I did not own an herb farm with several hundred perennial herbs NOT HARDY to Minnesota's Zone 3 temperatures!!!! Oh, well, such is the life of a farmer.

It is seed ordering time, though. If you have a hankering for a particular herb, now is the time to let me know; I'll try growing just about anything at least once, and more likely half a dozen times, before I give up on it. As usual, I have a couple of new basil cultivars in mind, as well as some different edible flowers (lemon bee balm, clary sage) and herbal greens (Good King Henry, perpetual spinach, magenta spreen).

News of Note: Partnering with Bird's Haven Farms

Yup, this year we're offering a Blue Owl Herb CSA add-on in conjunction with Bird's Haven Farms 2014 CSA program! Don't know quite what you get from a CSA subscription? Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a set amount of produce, but other products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "subscription") and in return receive a bag of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

It is also possible to expand your subscription to include products from other local businesses. For example, in addition to your Bird's Haven produce, you may now purchase a Blue Owl Herb CSA add-on to include some Blue Owl Garden Emporium dried culinary herbs in your weekly bag. CSA add-ons supporting other local producers are also available, including: Oink, Moo, Cluck, Osage Lane Creamery, One Line Coffee, and Lucky Cat Bakery. Learn more about how to sign-up and the pick-up locations and times in New Albany, Granville, and Westerville. What a wonderful way to support a whole community with just one bag!

Looking forward to 2014...

New Products:

We've expanded our offerings of unusual dried herbs suitable for teas, cooking, pot pourri, and other crafting uses, ~50 new items. Some examples include: chasteberry, southernwood, roselle, black cumin, coriander, meadowsweet, feverfew, and purple coneflower petals.... to name a few. We are now also offering gluten-free versions of all our jar mixes. Check 'em out on the updated availability.

New Markets:

We'll now be selling at the Winter/Indoor Worthington Farmers Market during the winter, see below for dates/times. And don't forget to visit us on 2nd Saturdays of each month at the New Albany Winter Market.

New Events:

The Blue Owl will be represented at several upcoming local events on topics ranging from forest foods to gardening with herbs to herbal crafts. Here are some details:

Feb. 1 and Feb. 25, 2014. Making Herbal Beads:
Victorians were wild about rose petal beads: made from real roses, these beads were strung into jewelry for both adornment and as a subtle perfume. This age-old crafting tradition can be used with other herbs and fragrant flowers to make necklaces, earrings, bracelets or even linen sachets. Join local herb farmer Janell Baran of Blue Owl Garden Emporium as she calls on your inner child to grind up herbs, add water, and turn the gooey mess into interesting objects. This hand-on workshop will allow participants to create their own beads to turn into a special gift. Appropriate for ages 13 and older. Pre-registration required, space is limited. $20/$25. Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH.

Feb. 15-16, 2014. Growing Mediterranean Herbs in Ohio's Un-Mediterranean Climate:
Growing herbs native to warmer, more arid climates here in Ohio can be challenging, but not impossible. Lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon and other lesser-known herbs can all be grown as perennials, given the proper attention. Janell Baran, owner of Blue Owl Garden Emporium, raises hundreds of culinary herbs from all around the globe, and will discuss management strategies from planting to harvest. 35th Annual OEFFA Conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground, Granville OH.

For those who missed the conference and/or workshop, the hand-out is available on-line.

Mar. 11, 2014. Woodland Edibles:
Forests are not only beautiful to look at and fun to hike in, they can be a wonderful source for food, too. Expand your culinary horizons as Janell, wearing her forest farmer hat, introduces you to a variety of native foodstuffs growing among the trees. Licking Co. Soil & Water Conservation District Office, 771 E. Main St., Newark, OH. Watch the SWCD website for additional details and to sign up.

Sat. Mar. 29, 2014. Four Seasons of Gardening Conference "Spring Garden Party":
Sponsored by Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers and Licking Co. OSU Extension. We will be doing mushroom log inoculation demos and selling inoculated logs at the Blue Owl Hollow table; our regular dried culinary herb products, as well as the very first of spring fresh herbs (if spring ever comes!) will be available for sale at the adjacent Blue Owl Garden Emporium table. 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at C-TEC Career & Technology Education Center, 150 Price Rd, Newark OH. Speaker schedule, vendor details and sign up details are available on-line.

Sundays & Tuesdays in April. Mushroom Inoculation Workshare Program:
Early spring means MUSHROOM INOCULATION time. If you want to learn more about growing mushrooms on natural logs, we will be doing the Blue Owl Hollow mushroom inoculation workshare again this year, Sundays (12-5 PM) and Tuesdays (10 AM - 5 PM) in April. Come out and earn yourself an inoculated mushroom log! Gain direct hands-on experience with various aspects of culinary mushroom production by assisting us with our seasonal propagation chores. Email to sign up for a time slot.

May 10, 2014, 9 AM - 4 PM. Ohio Herb Day Celebration:
Come celebrate all things herbal! Speakers, local artists, vendors, herb demonstrations, live music, and herb plants for sale from Mill Creek. Blue Owl will have a booth selling early season fresh herbs (think ramps!), the full range of dried herbal goodies, as well as fresh mushrooms and grow-your-own mushroom logs. In the afternoon, Janell will demonstrate how to make herbal whisk brooms. Creekside Plaza & The Ohio Herb Education Center 110 Mill St., Gahanna OH. Mark your calendars now!

Dec. 12, 2013 Happy Holidays! Certainly looks like it's going to be a White Xmas this year. I like the snow (good insulation for the root systems of perennial & woody plants as well as providing a bright and festive look to the landscape), but the unusually cold temps so early in the season I could do without.

Here is our Winter availability list. Come see us at the New Albany Winter Farmer's Market on Saturday.

Sept. 30, 2013: Early fall update. The leaves are turning color and we got Oh-so-close (35° F) to frost last week, so I guess it's time to update the news!

Only 2 weeks left for us at the Granville Summer Farmers Market! We will miss the last market of the season due to the Forestry Field Day and the current plan for Oct. 12th is to bring only dried herbs, mushrooms, and veggies (sunchokes, horseradish, hot peppers, tomatillos). I will, however, be happy to take special orders for delivery at the market that morning. Check out the current availability list (subject to change due to weather, of course).

Preparation for the Forestry Field Day is our primary focus right now. Mark your calendars for the event: Saturday, Oct. 19th, 9-5 at Blue Owl Hollow tree farm. RSVP soon to Licking SWCD by email or phone (740) 670-5330. Volunteers are needed for the day of the event.... if interested, please contact Licking SWCD.

Aug. 6, 2013: Mid-summer update. Markets have been keeping us plenty busy, but summer's end is in sight and fall will follow soon enough. The weather has been much kinder than last year, at least for growing. Herbs and mushrooms have responded with a constant supply for markets, which have been rather more on the damp side than usual! The full catalog of fresh herbs is available now until frost, so stop by either the Granville or New Albany Farmers Markets to check out herbs for every taste:

Tree farm activities take a back seat during the summer, but planning for this fall's Forestry Field Day on Oct. 19 is already well underway and we will again be demonstrating mushroom cultivation at the Hartford Fair in the Natural Resources Area (see below).

Aug. 7, 2013: Hartford Fair, Croton OH. Janell presented a short talk followed by an exhibit and mushroom inoculation demonstration at the Natural Resources area. The theme was Mushrooms in Your Garden, in particular all the ways you can incorporate edible fungi into your home landscape. This talk builds on several previous talks she's given and links to various mushroom-related handouts are included below:

Feb. 18, 2013: Winter is over! More or less. With the recent OEFFA conference only a pleasant memory, Blue Owl farm operations now "officially" move into early spring mode. It's a busy time, so an update on farm happenings seems to be in order:

Mushrooms: Early spring means MUSHROOM INOCULATION time. ODOT and AEP have both _generously_ provided us with a variety of sizes, shapes and species of hardwoods suitable for mushroom production. If you want to learn more about growing mushrooms on natural logs, there are several upcoming opportunities...

Markets: Tis a busy time for both tree farm (mushroom propagation, tree/shrub planting, trail work, milling) and herb farm projects (seed starting, bed preparation, planting), so we scheduled only a couple of spring markets (see schedule below). Hope we see you at one of these events, but don't forget you can always special order from us or shop at The Going Green Store, open 7 days a week.

Nov. 30, 2012: Holiday News:

Blue Owl Products for the Holidays:
*NEW* Blue Owl Garden Kitchen Herb Racks *NEW*...just like the displays we have at market, each will contain 16 of your favorite dried herbs & seasoning blends nestled in a custom-made hardwood panel.  Choose from several different native hardwoods, each sustainably harvested and milled right here at Blue Owl Hollow tree farm. For regular Blue Owl customers who already have a full collection of herbs, the racks are also available un-filled. A great gift for your favorite cook!  Prices for filled racks start at $115 and un-filled racks at $30; price varies based on choice of wood and herbs. Contact us for details.

Old favorites for gift-giving are also available:

Nov. 2, 2012: Non-Timber Forest Products Workshop: Rural Action sponsored a 1-day workshop for forest landowners, forestry professionals, and other interested parties on Non-Timber Forest Products: Income Opportunities and Management Strategies For Ohio Woodland Owners.  Janell presented on gourmet mushroom cultivation; other topics included ramps, growing ginseng and goldenseal, and natural hardwood charcoal production.  Her handout is available as a PDF download.

Oct. 25, 2012: Late Fall/Early Winter Market Update

And just like that the Granville Farmer's Market Summer season ends.... and the Granville Winter Market begins!

Granville Winter Market: Every Saturday, 9:30-noon, through the end of Feb.  Come join us for the kick-off Oct. 27 at the Granville Elementary School on Granger Street.  We'll have a fine selection of fresh mushrooms (both shiitake and oyster), the hardier fresh herbs -- including mints, dill, parsley, cilantro, thymes, rosemary, oreganos, and even some lemongrass -- as well as the full selection of dried herbs, seasoning blends, herbal jar mixes, and herbal teas.  Support your neighbors, buy local!

Aug. 7, 2012: Mid-season Market Update: As one might expect, recent storms have provided us with additional hardwood logs for mushroom inoculation.  A good thing, too, because the hot, dry weather has forced a goodly number of our shiitake production logs into dormancy!  Sadly, that means we have fewer fresh shiitakes for sale at market, but it also means we'll still have plenty of Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Logs for sale this fall. Remember, they make great Christmas and birthday gifts!

The storms also brought some much-needed rain and the herbs have responded valiantly.  We're now at the peak of summer herb production with a huge number of offerings, for example:

Finally, a reminder that many of our dried herbal products are available at the Going Green Store on River Road in Granville.  If you would like to see other items there, or at any of our other markets, please email me and we'll get it to you.

Aug. 8, 2012: Hartford Fair, Croton OH. Janell is presenting a short talk (11:30 AM - noon), followed by an exhibit and mushroom inoculation demonstration (noon - 4:30 PM) in the pavilion at the Natural Resources area. The theme is Mushrooms in Your Garden, in particular all the ways you can incorporate edible fungi into your home landscape. This talk builds on several previous talks she's given and links to various mushroom-related handouts are included below:

Sept. 16th, 1 PM -  5 PM: Experience Granville, Granville, OH.  We will be doing another mushroom exhibit at Bryn Du Mansion's Experience Granville event.  As part of the "Homestead Pantry" hosted by the Granville Library, we'll demonstrate a variety of mushroom cultivation techniques, display tools of the trade, provide sources for tools & materials, and answer questions.

June 28, 2012: New Albany Farmer's Market opens, Thursdays 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM: The unusual weather continues to make growing produce this year most challenging, but at least the Mediterranean herbs are happy! This is a new market -- our first mid-week -- for those of you in the area, please come by and say hi.

May 19, 2012: Granville Farmer's Market opens, every Saturday 8:30 AM - noon: Memorial Day is almost here.... the start of summer.  Could have fooled me!  I thought it started months ago.....

The odd weather has confused the herbs and mushrooms, in both good and bad ways. Lots of herbs are out early (~40 varieties!), although the cool season herbs are moving to seed, e.g., cilantro, chervil, sweet cicely, and won't be available much longer.  Cilantro-cumin potato salad is a natural for outdoor holiday parties....as is sun tea.  Edible flowers are ahead of schedule, too.  The heirloom roses are outstandingly fragrant, perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to experiment with making their own rose water or rose petal jelly.

The mushrooms are being rather persnickety -- they would like more rain -- but we have a few beautiful ones for sale.  Great for stuffing or grilling.  And we have not 1, but 2 species of mushroom logs for sale this year:  the old standard shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and new-this-year elm oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius).

Mar. 6, 2012: Dried Culinary Herbs for Health and Flavor Workshop, Tues. 6:30 PM, March 6, 2012. Learn about using dried Blue Owl herbs to spice up your winter cooking.  A few spots are still available for this Tuesday, March 6 workshop at The Going Green Store.  Come sample some of Blue Owl's favorite herbal goodies, taste and sniff the herbs being discussed, and take home fresh ideas, tried n' true herbal recipes and some high-quality culinary herbs grown sustainably right here in Central Ohio.  $15/person, limited to 10 participants.  Call 740-963-9644 or email The Going Green Store to reserve your spot.

Feb. 18-19, 2012: Annual OEFFA Conference. Janell is once again presenting at the conference, held in Granville, OH every year. This year she will be talking about Mushrooms in Your Garden, in particular all the ways you can incorporate edible fungi into your home landscape. This talk builds on her previous talks in 2010 and 2011. Links to handouts from all 3 are included below:

2012 workshop description: Mushrooms make a wonderful complement to freshly harvested herbs and vegetables from your garden and are not any more difficult to grow. Janell Baran, owner of Blue Owl Hollow Tree Farm, will demonstrate techniques for raising culinary mushrooms in a variety of outdoor settings, such as compost piles, garden beds, paths, and undesirable or storm-damaged trees.

Feb. 9, 2012: Newark Public Library Backyard Gardening Series. Janell starts off the series with a session on making a garden plan, sourcing seeds and plants and how to schedule your garden activities throughout the year The handout (PDF) listing some of Janell's favorite plant sources is available for download.

Dec. 3, 2011: Granville Winter Market has begun! Located at the Granville Elementary School off of Granger St. in downtown Granville, we'll be offering dried herbs, herbal teas, cookie jar mixes, and other winter-hardy products (e.g., horseradish roots, sunchokes) for sale the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month through March. Hours are 9:30 AM - 12 noon. The current schedule is:

Nov. 18, 2011: Granville Thanksgiving Market, Saturday Nov. 19th, 2011. Should be a beautiful day for a late season market. It's been a good year for herbs.... and mushrooms! We will have plenty of both at the market in downtown Granville. The fresh selection is, of course, a bit constrained, but we'll have plenty of Thanksgiving dinner herb favorites: thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives.... as well as the full selection of dried herbs.

May 18, 2011: The summer Granville Farmers Market season has begun. We have a good selection of fresh herbs and mushrooms available already this year, thanks to the rain (a rare comment around here, to be thankful for the rain!). Some examples of what's in prime season right now: rhubarb, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, cilantro, French tarragon, assorted mints, lovage, chive flowers (and chives, of course), sage, oregano, lemon balm. These are all available by request, as well as at the market.

We will not be at the market this Sat., May 21 (my Mom's birthday!), but come see us again on May 28th!

February 23, 2011: Happy New Year! Hard to believe with all the snow and ice that spring is truly coming, but we're already busy planning seed and plant orders and starting mushroom spawn going for this year's market. Suggestions are welcome!

Taking a break from that, Janell gave two presentations at this year's OEFFA Conference on Feb. 19-20, 2011:

February 13, 2010: Janell presented at the annual OEFFA Conference on her SARE project to control the invasive tree Ailanthus without the use of herbicides: see the handout Weeds in Your Forest Garden -- What to Do? for more details. Additional information about this work can be found on Blue Owl Projects.

October 30, 2009: The Blue Owl Hollow farm tour went smoothly and the weather was fantastic! If you missed it, I'll be putting up a page with pictures soon.

October 25, 2009: Sunday is the day for the Blue Owl Hollow farm tour, from noon till 5:00 pm. We will be highlighting some of the sustainable forestry practices we've initiated with funding from USDA SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education). Scheduled activities for the afternoon include:

Co-sponsored by OEFFA, ODNR Division of Forestry, and Licking Co. SWCD. Hope to see you here, then!

September 24th, 2009: We've expanded! Dried herbs are now on sale. Coming soon: herbal seasoning blends and herbal teas: contact us if you have any special requests!

Spring features:

Culinary:

Gift Ideas

Crafting: