“I always say fall is the best time to plant,” explains Kirk Young, owner of Sea Island Savory Herbs. Young, who bought the hidden John’s Island farm from Pete Madsen in 2009, is a walking, talking Wikipedia page on everything herbaceous. For September, he insists you can’t go wrong with rooting rosemary, thyme, and basil. “A lot of the herbs are perennial and will live through winter. You can’t mess up rosemary, it’s very easy to grow, and we carry several varieties—everything from ‘Blue Boy,’ which looks beautiful in pots because it trails, to ‘Tuscan Blue,’ which has wonderful upright growth.”
Follow Young around his 10 greenhouses, which he keeps stocked with more than 300 different types of herbs, and it will quickly become apparent that your run-of-the-mill basil isn’t the only option for pesto and that there are more types of thyme than time to list. “I like to use a lemon thyme to create a dry rub. It’s great on chicken, fish, or pork,” says Young. For hummus, his go-to is Genova basil, a sweet variety that’s not too spicy. “Blend that with chickpeas, garlic, lemon, and tahini—it’s delicious,” he assures. Always one for culinary adventure, Young encourages his shoppers (including many local chefs who source from his farm) to get creative with their recipes. “I like to experiment with lots of different herbs. It’s always fun to see what provides the best flavor,” he says. Simple enough, but you won’t know until you grow.
Sea Island Savory Herb Recipes
Rosemary & Thyme Stuffed Chicken
1 Whole Chicken, washed and patted dry
1 bunch rosemary (about 6 to 10 sprigs)
1 bunch thyme (about 5 sprigs)
¼ cup butter
Salt and Pepper to tast
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stuff chicken with rosemary and thyme leaves. Rub skin with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
Thyme Bison Burgers
2-3 sprigs thyme
1 lb. ground bison
Salt and Pepper to taste
Thoroughly mix ingredients together, make patties and grill.
(Makes 1 cup)
Red onion, finely chopped
2 bell peppers, 1 orange and 1 red, finely chopped
½ cayenne pepper, finely chopped
2 bunches Basil
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and serve.
Lemon Basil Pesto
(Makes 2 cups)
2 cups lemon basil leaves
½ cup pine nuts
2-6 cloves garlic
½ cup Olive Oil
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in food processor and serve
Silver Lemon Thyme Rub
(Makes 1/2 cup)
3 bunches silver lemon thyme
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a food processer to make a paste. Spread evenly on chicken/fish/pork and cook as normal.