Thank a Farmer Thursday: A Mention of Mint

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 A few weeks ago, I got up to the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market to enjoy a morning of fresh air, food, and friendly faces. The market was abundant with local Ontario produce: sharp and delightfully crimson rhubarb, soft and sensuous oyster mushrooms, and the last curling whorls of fiddlehead season.

I stopped to survey the produce showcased by the kind folks at P & H Farms. The table was teeming with dewy herbs, glistening beets, and long green onions. I immediately set my eyes on the Moroccan mint and after a jovial exchange mint and I went home.

The Mentha genus, also known as mint, is a well-known family of plants. Many of us are familiar with mint as a flavour, but we may not be as savvy with mint as the hardy and enduring plant.

Is it a mint? With many common mints, simply rolling the stem between your fingers is telling enough—its stem is square and strong. Secondly, a peek at the leaves, which grow opposite to each other along the stem, provides an easy cue. And thirdly, plucking a leaf and crushing it will reveal a telltale aroma. Learn some common mints around you such as catnip (a favourite of mine), peppermint, and spearmint. Beware, however, some plants may look like a cheery mint but are most certainly not. Take for example stinging nettle!

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I am a regular urban-harvester of mint and also an avid tea drinker. I enjoy collecting dried teas and mixing blends for fun. Thus, I dried my Moroccan mint and enjoyed it just the other day, combining its wakeful flavour with local cedar, lavender, and raspberry leaf. It was perfect!

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So, what’s the lesson of the day? Ex-spear-a-mint with a mint. It’s refreshing! 

 

-- Jenny Chan, Communications Assistant 

 

 

With images from Wikimedia Commons:

  • Mint leaves by Kham Tran
  • Brennnessel by Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven
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