In a few days, local gardeners will enjoy the aroma of food made with fresh herbs, before it satisfies the taste buds.
The Sampson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers is hosting its “Cooking with Herbs” class from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 8, at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton. A second class will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. The purpose of the workshop is to teach participants how to cook using herbs, which can be used as a substitute for salt.
Mary Burke-Bass,president of the Master Gardener Volunteers, is looking forward to the event, which is a first for the local organization.During the hands-on session, participants will help prepare and cook food. Later, they will have the opportunity to enjoy a full course meal.
“It’s basically giving you the benefits of using herbs,” Burke-Bass said. “Instead of using salt, you can use herbs to season your food good.”
The herbs will come from plants grown inside the greenhouse at the Extension Center. Some of them include basil, cilantro, oregano and parsley. Seeds were planted in winter and maintained in the greenhouse.
According to Extension Agent Sydney Johnson, herbs are an alternative to sodium, which is found in salt. It’s often found in canned and processed foods. Eating less salt may reduce the risk of blood pressure and other chronic diseases.
Burke-Bass also appreciates the alternative to sodium. When it comes to growing herbs, many gardeners believe the fresh approach is better than buying seasoning from the store.
“You know where it comes from,” Burke-Bass said while advocating for gardening. “When you go to the store and buy them, they may come from (another country) or something.”
She compared the difference of the freshness to different vegetables and fruits that may sit for awhile.
“It’s just like having corn,” Burke-Bass pointed out. “It’s not going to taste as sweet as corn that was just picked.”
The Master Gardener Volunteers will provide that education to attendees on Saturday. In addition to the cooking class, the Master Gardener Volunteers will host an “Art in the Park” event. The event will have unique pieces of art on display for viewers. One example is a colorful Mardi Gras bicycle.
“It’s something that will let the public know that they can do anything with the junk they have,” Burke-Bass said. “They took the pieces they have at home and created something out of it.”
During the day, the organization plans to sell homegrown 3-gallon azaleas, geraniums and superbells. The members will also teach attendees about fairy gardens.
“I hope we have a really good turnout for the Art in the Park event too,” she said.
The registration fee is $15 and class size is limited. For more information, contact the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office at 910-592-7161, 910-214-1963 or visit the organization’s website at https://sampson.ces.ncsu.edu/
The Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program provide research-based information on gardens, lawns and landscapes. It began at Washington State University in 1972 as a way to offer gardening advice. Years later, the idea came to North Carolina and now the program is available in 90 counties across the state and includes more than 4,500 volunteers.
With the help of extension agents, volunteers complete training programs, examinations and complete internships.