Herbs can be used for cooking, medicine, and a variety of other uses. Karyn Woodward makes it her mission to educate people on their uses.
She has been teaching people in Florence about herbs and their various uses in monthly classes called herb workshops for a year.
Woodward has been growing herbs for 20 years. She said she started after a class with famous chef Julia Child.
“At that time I was a single mom with four kids and didn’t have health insurance so I started using herbs in my cooking for health reasons, and I never saw a doctor’s bill until they moved away to college,” Woodward said.
Woodward’s garden is packed full of 25 to 30 different types of herbs. She said her previous garden was twice that size.
“They’re all over the buildings side and getting bigger,” she said. “The garden is half a block with herbs everywhere.”
Woodward moved to Florence from Wichita last year after retiring.
“I did the vacation thing and I got bored,” she said. “So I decided to teach again.”
Woodward bought an old school building and fixed it up.
“I thought I could restore it and it would be the perfect place to hold classes,” she said. “The plot was big enough to have a sizable garden.”
She utilizes the garden to teach people how to use the herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes. Saturday’s class taught people how to make pesto out of basil or parsley.
Her next class will be dedicated to teaching students how to start their own herb garden.
“They’re all so healthy and good for you,” she said. “With all the different types and tastes you can use them for anything and in anything.”
Woodward said thyme can be used for medicinal purposes and make your potato soup better.
Woodward said Julia Child used to say, “If in doubt, use thyme.”
“Rosemary can be very strong,” she said. “It all depends on your taste and what you like, I really enjoy chives,” Woodward said.
She said her classes give people a chance to taste herbs and see what they like.
“I try to cover as much useful information as possible,” she said. “From how to grow them, to how to cook them.”
Woodward says for now she tells her students to get their garden ground ready for the spring.
“That way come planting time they can be ready to go,” she said.
Woodward is an herb expert according to Phoebe Janzen. Janzen said she is learning how to grow an herb garden of her own.
“I’ve been attending workshops and have learned a lot but I’m still a novice,” she said.
Woodward plans to teach canning and wreath making classes over the cooler months.
“A lot of this stuff can be really simple and fun for people once they get the basics down,” she said.
Woodward plans to significantly add to her garden next spring.