You know how, when you go to a store you've never been, or you're in a library and you don't know what to read, and so you ask the shopkeeper or librarian - "what do YOU like?". The theory being that someone that is around the goods all day, every day, knows the cream of the crop? Well, I believe that theory is sound and rely on it alot, when I'm in places where I'm feeling curious, yet overhwelmed. (Most recently, in fantastic asian food stores!)
So this post is about a few random things we love, vaugely herb-related.
BOOKS! There are a million bajillion herb books on the market. Narrowing it down to just one is literally impossible. If I could only have ONE book about essential oils, this would be it: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless. I have an older copy. There are plenty of other good ones. This would just be my first pick, if allowed only one.
If allowed ONLY one general book about herbs, I'd have to go with Under The Sun, a fantastic collection of articles written by passionate herbalists. It's a wonderful overview of the many aspects of herbs - dyeing, crafting, potpourri, perfumery, soapmaking, gardening, harvesting, eating, drinking, medicinal...yep. great book :)
We buy nearly all our herbs from one source: Ameriherb. For bulk herbs, price and quality, they simply cannot be beat! Their website stinks, admittedly! But, I do appreciate a business that puts their energy into good products, and these folks do. No flashy websites or color catalogs, just bare-bones newsprint and plain catalog. We shopped around alot in the early days, purchasing from all the big-name supppliers from across the nation, and then happily chose the one in our own backyard (they are about 30 miles away, I can go pick up stuff if needed).
If you're delving into the world of herb tea drinking and blending your own herbs, you're dealing with loose tea, which is a bit more hassle than just throwing a teabag into a hot cup of water. I personally think a french press is the ONLY way to deal with loose tea. I have never found a tea strainer or tea ball that really was worth fussing with. And let's face it. If it's a big hassle, we're probably not going to do it. So, invest in a french press. They're not expensive, and you won't be sorry. :)
So, what are your "desert island" herb tools, suppliers, books or gadgets? Inquiring minds want to know!