The Thyme Garden Herb Company – Biographies – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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The Thyme Garden Herb Company

Company Name: The Thyme Garden Herb Company

Location: Alsea, Oregon

A Brief Company History: The Thyme Garden specializes in growing organic seeds from herbs and useful plants, as well as using them in cooking and other beneficial ways. The herbs grown in their gardens are used in caterings for luncheons, tours, weddings and special events on their grounds. They work to increase habitat for the fish in their streams and life on the land and also enjoy raising bees for pollination of their seeds and the honey the bees provide.

The Thyme Garden Herb Company is a family-owned and operated business that the Hagen family — Rolfe, Janet and Bethany — started from the seeds of their country restaurant in 1990. 2014 is their twenty-fifth year in business. Their 80-acre farm is located in the beautiful coast Range Mountains of Oregon where their restaurant, The Farmer’s Kitchen, was also located.

The Hagens’ beginning in the culinary arts started in their restaurant. Rolfe was a custom homebuilder at the time the restaurant was purchased, and he immediately started in on remodeling the landmark that had fallen into disrepair over the years. At the same time, they built herb gardens surrounding the building to provide them fresh herbs and edible flowers to use in their cooking. Meanwhile, Janet was becoming a master chef in the kitchen, perfecting some of the recipes that would later be used in the three cookbooks Janet and Bethany would produce years down the road. Over 30 years have passed, but their experience using herbs in cooking continues to grow with every season.

The Thyme Garden’s greenhouses and extensive display gardens that produce their organically grown seeds, the hop field, and wedding facilities are surrounded by the company’s own nature preserve with two mountain streams, a pond, forests and meadows. This keeps the Hagens’ immersed in nature with every step they take. Understanding nature and working with it has always been their number one interest as well as the desire to leave their space better than it was when they arrived.

The Thyme Garden has grown all their seeds and hop rhizomes organically for over 25 years. They believe in growing the soil with compost instead of commercial fertilizers. Their food garden provides some of the organic produce for preparing their luncheons, weddings and caterings. Free-range chickens complete a whole cycle in the garden. In winter they are allowed to forage the garden and eat scraps from the kitchen, and by spring, the chicken house is cleaned to produce manure for the garden. And in return, the chickens give back rich eggs to use in all the foods the Thyme Garden prepares.

In line with leaving the world a better place, the Hagen’s have done extensive salmon recovery projects in their two streams and pond to improve the habitat for Coho salmon as well as Chinook salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout and lampreys. Tours and luncheons are offered during the week throughout the summer. The walkabout explores these recovery projects and is meant to inspire others to do the same on their own property, if possible. The herb garden portion of the walk helps to educate visitors about the use of herbs in cooking, medicine, dyes, insect repellants and many other uses, as well as describes the herbs that will be used in the day’s herbal luncheon.

The Thyme Garden family has a lot to share with MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers.

Meet The Thyme Garden Staff

Rolfe Hagen. Rolfe has 48 years experience as a homebuilder and carpenter shared with his time as a chef at the Hagen’s restaurant and catering at The Thyme Garden. He enjoys gardening, cooking with herbs, growing herbs for seeds and beekeeping. He also has published several articles about herbs in Fine Gardening Magazine.

Janet Hagen. Janet is remnant of the 60’s, “Peace, Love, Joy” era. She is peacefully living on the farm,loving her family, friends and business, and is joyful to be serving herbal luncheons, hosting weddings, harvesting seeds and providing organic seeds to her wonderful customers.

Bethany Hagen. Bethany is the General Manager of The Thyme Garden Herb Company and a second generation organic gardener and nature lover. Her youngest years were in her parents’ restaurant kitchen where she got an early exposure to food that was made fresh from great ingredients and was presented as a work of art. From there, her family moved on to start The Thyme Garden, and she has been working with them ever since. For a number of years, Bethany engaged her love of color and knowledge of flowers as a florist. She also completed her degree in Natural Resources and after a few years of working in the research field realized that what really makes her feel alive is being outside, in the garden, around good food and great people, and that brought her full circle to where she is today. An avid DIYer, Bethany lives with her husband and son in a fixer-upper with a great backyard they have big dreams for!

Company Specialties: Organic Herb Seeds, Organic Hop Rhizomes, Dried Herbs, Teas and Seasonings, Honey and Cooking with Herbs at luncheons, Weddings, and Special Events

Other Fun Facts about The Thyme Garden: This is The Thyme Garden’s 25th year as a family-run business. The Thyme Garden offers one of the largest collections of organic herb seeds in the country. In addition to their online and mail-order business, they have beautiful display gardens of herbs, grouped by the herbs’ uses, as well as miles of trails to walk through the land the company stewards. Habitat restoration is important to the company and The Thyme Garden has worked for years to rebuild salmon spawning habitat, as well as provide food for the butterflies, birds, and bees. They host summer weddings and special events.

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