International Herb Association Conference in Fernandina Beach, Florida

comments (6) November 19th, 2015

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cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
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The Jewel of Centre Street, St. Peters Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach was a charming spot to hold the IHA conference.
Coming from northern climes, it was a delight to see water lilies in bloom on our field trip to Marge Powells backyard garden.
Marges outdoor oven was used to smoke the turkey which she served for lunch for fieldtrip attendees. Besides soup and salad, homemade wine and cider, we had killer sauerkraut balls made from Marges homemade kraut.
This is inside Magnolia Hill Soap Companys apothecary, where Marge creates soaps, salves, lotions and more.
Heres my demo table at the annual IHA conference themed Spice it Up!--my program was on Chiles & Chocolate--I made a veggie chili; rich hot chocolat with anchos; and dark chocolate, chipotle & salted pistachio bark.
Though a bit out of focus--you get the idea that this ghost pepper and ghost pepper salt which I had just sampled--are quite hot!
Pictured here are Matthias Reisen, President of the IHA and Holly Bellebuono. Hollys book Women Healers of the World received the Thomas DeBaggio Book Award for best herb book of 2014. It is a gorgeous tome.
Women Healers of the World by Holly Bellebuono was honored by the IHA with the Thomas DeBaggio Book Award. It is a beautiful book full of history and herbal information. www.vineyardherbs.com
The live oak is a symbolic tree of the south for me (and of course the palm tree). They are gorgeous old trees providing shady restbits from the hot sun. Many of the trees are draped in Spanish moss and ferns. This one is in front of the Cummer Museum is Jacksonville.
On the post-conference tour we visited Linda Cunninghams nursery, where we enjoyed her backyard full of a huge variety of plants and a delicious lunch of soups and salad and lemon tarts (with lemons from her tree). Linda has quite a collection of chile peppers and the biggest datil pepper plants that I have ever seen.
Fruity-scented sage (Salvia dorisiana) was in bloom in Lindas garden--Ive only ever seen it bloom in captivity--indoors in my greenhouse. It has a delightful tutti-frutti aroma and kids love it.
View from Lindas marsh walk--theres a boardwalk leading from her backyard through the swamp full of wild plants, cypress, saw palmetto and more.
The Jewel of Centre Street, St. Peters Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach was a charming spot to hold the IHA conference.Click To Enlarge

"The Jewel of Centre Street", St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Fernandina Beach was a charming spot to hold the IHA conference.

Photo: Susan Belsinger

Here's a brief synopsis of a wonderful trip to Fernandina Beach, Florida for the recent IHA conference--a good time was had by all gathered--and we so enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine (a break from the cold temps back in my Maryland garden!). It seems so odd to have all of the leaves off of the trees and the woodstove going and then arriving at a place with warm sunshine, balmy breezes and tropical plants in bloom. (I even went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and it was quite pleasant--not cold at all.)

Well it is challenging to fit a whole conference into one short blog, however I will hit some of the highlights. You can go on www.iherb.org and read about the conference and speakers and even order a copy of the proceedings. It is always inspiring to get together with like-minded people and share gardening and herbal tips, ideas, recipes and just the general camaraderie; this IHA group is especially dear to me and it is like getting together with old friends.

This conference which was themed "Spice It Up!" was particularly stimulating for me as it was all about chile peppers since Capsicum is Herb of the Year for 2016. We had some great speakers (too numerous to mention each one here) and I was pleased to meet keynote Dr. Mark Uchanski from the University of New Mexico, who gave two informative programs on capsicums. Although, I have co-authored three books on chile peppers, I still learned new info from him!

Jane Taylor, won the Otto Richter Award and gave a wonderful program on Childrens' Gardens--she is the guru of designing kids' gardens--and it was great to view so many of her accomplishments. Way to go Jane!

My program was on Chiles & Chocolate--I made a veggie chili; rich hot chocolat with anchos; and dark chocolate, chipotle & salted pistachio bark. I had more than a few folks tell me that it was the best chili that they had ever eaten, so I will post the recipe for it soon. And the chocolate chipotle nut bark is simply divine--I'll post that recipe next --since it would make a great holiday gift for your favorite chocoholic or chilehead.

The pre- and post- conference tours were good fun. We visited two different members' gardens, that of Marge Powell and Linda Cunningham, both in Jacksonville. We got to see where Marge creates her wonderful products like soaps, salves, lotions and more, in her Magnolia Hill Soap Company's apothecary. (www.magnoliahillsoap.com)

On the post conference tour we visited Linda's private home with a backyard chocablock full of plants. Linda holds herbal events throughout the year and she has one coming up the first week of December in time to shop for the holidays! (http://events.jacksonville.com/event/herbal-celebration).

Our awards banquet always features a rousing auction, which raises money for our foundation. Long-time member Betsy Williams received the Professional Achievement Award and Women Healers of the World by Holly Bellebuono was honored by the IHA with the Thomas DeBaggio Book Award. It is a beautiful book full of history and herbal information. This book would make the ideal holiday gift for any gardener, herbalist, historian or woman in your life.

Fernandina Beach is a lovely, small town situated on Amelia Island in Northern, Florida. We were able to walkabout the town easily, shop and dine and even ride the trolley back and forth to the church where the event was held. We even got to walk on the beach and along the backstreets and waterfront. I'd go back there for a visit anytime!

We had really good vendors--and I tried to buy something from each one of them. The interns, conference committee, helpers/volunteers and caterers all did a great job--thanks to each and every one of you!

 

 


posted in: chiles, capsicum herb of the year 2016, fernandina beach, international herb association conference

Comments (6)

EllenPhelps writes: beautiful house
Posted: 1:50 am on October 28th
PedroNorris writes: It's great
Posted: 1:17 am on October 14th
JenkinsTina writes: so charming
Posted: 6:04 am on October 12th
AlexVardy writes: It's big house and beautiful design
Posted: 9:02 am on August 14th
toriwilson writes: It's really awesome..
Posted: 11:29 am on August 1st
hardythomson writes: hi good morning friends..

Thanks for sharing this.. great information and great views of experts.
Posted: 12:46 am on November 20th
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