Thomas Jefferson is quoted as once writing, "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden." The third president of the United States had a passion for agriculture, as well as a passion for food.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello and see his passions come to life. The Heritage Harvest Festival, hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Seed Savers Exchange and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, brings together people interested in gardening, sustainability, food, history, and more.
I am in love with the garden at Monticello. If you have ANY interest in gardening or plants, it is hard not to fall in love with the beauty of it. I would love to wake up every morning and have that view.
Just the variety of vegetables is amazing. I can't wait until I have that amount of space to garden and grow all sorts of items. (on my agenda for new items for 2017 is sesame!)
One of the highlights of the event seems to be the Tasting Tent, where you can not only taste lots of different tomatoes, melons, and peppers, but also where you can taste all the delicious items that local vendors have to offer. I purchased quite a lot from those vendors, ranging from seed packets (9 different ones) to kombucha, to hand-harvested sea salt.
I also had the opportunity to attend Jeanine Davis' presentation on "Unusual Edible Plants & Fungi for Home Gardens." Jeanine is a horticulture extension specialist with North Carolina State University (my alma mater), and she made me eager to try my hand at growing wasabi again. I love unusual plants (which explains why I'm attempting to grow ginseng behind my house). She brought a lot of different items for us to touch, smell, taste (such as dried ramps for a ramp spice rub), and take home!
The staff and volunteers all worked really hard to provide a fun event for everyone. My legs were tired from walking, my arms were tired from carrying around all of my purchases, but my stomach was full from trying different products and my mind was happy.
It's worth taking a trip to Monticello to view the beauty of the area, but I certainly suggest that you plan to attend the Heritage Harvest Festival next year!
For more pictures of the Heritage Harvest Festival, please visit my personal blog, The Southern Belle Blogs.