Mount Lebanon Heritage Herb Festival Planned

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PostcardHerbFest copyThe third annual Mount Lebanon Heritage Herb Festival celebrates the illustrious past of herbs in town history as well as the Native American and Shaker traditions in the heart of the Lebanon Valley of New York, considered the birthplace of the herbal pharmacy in the United States.

The event takes place on Saturday, June 7, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the historic grounds of Darrow School, at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.   More than eighteen talks, walks and workshops explore the role of herbs in food, gardens, medicine and health from the early days of the Native Americans to current practices.

New Lebanon has an unparalleled history with herbs. Its famous warm spring feeds the Shaker Swamp downtown, supporting an extraordinary collection of wild herbs long used by Native Americans. The Shakers, who based their national headquarters in New Lebanon, expanded on the uses of these herbs and created an industry around their sales. In 1824 Elam Tilden put this knowledge towards the start of the nation’s first pharmaceutical company, The Tilden Company, using herbal tinctures, extracts and compounds derived in New Lebanon and eventually marketed around the world.

The HerbFest offers a choice of sessions throughout the day for people of all level of interests and expertise. Learn tips from an expert on growing useful and unusual herbs in your garden. Hear about herbs as powerful foods and drink, and learn about the special relationship between bees, herbs and honey.

Take a guided walk through beautiful wetland terrain that reveals the special role of the Shaker Swamp as a local source for powerful herbs, and find out about current efforts to conserve and explore the swamp.

Hear herbalists describe the modern-day uses of herbs historically found here and discuss a variety of healing traditions around herbs. Join a family forage in a search for herbs and edible plants in the wild. Take a tour through a Shaker Wash House and find out how to make herbal soap.

Hear historians tell the story that herbs have played in the area for Native Americans, Shakers, and in the creation of the herbal pharmaceutical industry, as well as an expert discussion about thirty years of rising interest in herbs today.

Lunch and snacks will be offered for sale by Blueberry Hill Market Cafe. Noted local herbalists and vendors will offer herbal products to sell. There will be a plant sale offered by Zema’s Nursery and a book sale offered by Storey Publishing.

Admission to the June 7th Herb Fest is $10 per person or $20 per family. Pre-register on the website for a $2 discount.  Seminars are offered in the morning and walks and workshops in the afternoon.

A listing of events is available at and on Facebook.

The Darrow School is located at 110 Darrow Road, New Lebanon, NY. The HerbFest is held rain or shine. Picnics are welcome on the grounds, but pets are not allowed.

Grow the Valley (previously known as the Lebanon Valley Business Association) sponsors the Herb Fest and other projects. For Information or for a vendor application, contact Linda Hursa at 518-794-8800 or


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