The featured speakers for this year's University of Illinois Herb Day will share their time-honored tips about herbs used in cooking and gardening with some special regional flair, according to a U of I Extension herb specialist. The event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center near Lincoln Avenue and I-74 in Urbana.
"This is the 13th annual Herb Day," said Chuck Voigt, University of Illinois Extension vegetable and herb specialist and coordinator of the event. "We have speakers this year coming from several colorful cooking regions in the U. S. who will bring a unique flavor to the day."
One speaker, Jason Powell from Petals from the Past in Jemison, Alabama, will give two presentations. "Jason became one of the Rose Rustlers while in grad school in Texas and carried a love for old roses back with him to his home in Alabama," Voigt said. "In addition to a wonderful line of old roses, Jason and his family now run an eclectic nursery, garden center, fruit farm, and jam- and jelly-making business." Powell's two presentations will be about garden roses and herbs.
Linda Franzo, from Passionate Platter in Slidell, Louisiana, is a native New Yorker transplanted to the New Orleans area. "Linda will whisk us away from the Midwestern winter and take us on a culinary adventure called 'Under the Tuscan Sun,'" Voigt said.
Ann McCormick, from the Herb 'n Cowgirl, in Fort Worth, Texas, will provide her take on "Seasoning the Melting Pot." She is the author of "10 Must-Have Herbs for Cooks." Her presentation will look at how the diverse immigrants to the U.S. have influenced its cuisine.
In addition to the speakers, there will be a retail area selling a wide variety of herb, spice and gardening products as well as books and products from the presenters.
Advance registration of $60, which includes an herb-themed lunch buffet, must be received by Jan. 13 to guarantee lunch. For more information, call Linda Harvey at 217-244-1693, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On-site registration on Jan. 21 begins at 8 a.m. only as space allows and does not include lunch. The first educational session begins promptly at 9 a.m.