Cliff Herb Farm
tourist site thrives
special events, seminars each year
COMMISKEY, Ind. (June 2006) Stream Cliff Herb
Farm in Commiskey, Ind., has been in Betty Mannings family for
generations. Her great-grandfather lived on the farm, and it has been
passed down from generation to generation since then.
by Kim Aldridge
growing plants, Betty Manning
offers herb cooking classes
at Stream Cliff Farm.
Now Betty and her husband, Gerald, work happily alongside
their adult children, Elizabeth and Greg. It is wonderful to have
a family operation in which my children are also participating,
Elizabeth runs the Twig and Sprig Tearoom at the farm, while Greg, a
horticulturist, works in the farms greenhouse management and landscape
design. They make the fifth generation of the family to live and work
at Stream Cliff Farm.
Betty and Gerald first opened the farm to the public back in the 1970s
on a limited basis. At that time, they started with a handmade crafts
business. Gradually, they switched their focus to herbs and perennials,
but handmade crafts are still available at the farm. Betty said that
in the beginning, they mainly did shows with their handicrafts but then
became interested in growing herbs and cooking with herbs. They eventually
expanded their business operations and public availability. She said
she always assumed it would be a successful venture, and it certainly
Stream Cliff, with its beautiful gardens and historic buildings, is
a wonderful place to simply relax and explore, the Mannings say. The
farm also provides lectures, classes and many other educational opportunities
for those wanting to learn more about herbs, plants and landscape designs.
The historic buildings are a treasure for the farm and are still used
for a variety of purposes. The Keeping Room, which is used as a classroom,
was built in 1868 by a railroad company for a boarding house for constructions
workers. The Country Store, Cabin and Summer Kitchen shop and the barn
are all original buildings dating far back into the farms history.
The brick farmhouse in which the Mannings reside was built in 1821,
and the owner at that time baked all of the bricks for the house himself.
The gardens, which have been featured in a number of national magazines
and publications, are dedicated to Bettys grandmother, who quilted
and worked in the farms gardens for more than 50 years. Each garden
has its own unique quilt design, including the walled quilt-shaped Grandmo-thers
Fan Garden and the new Sanctuary Garden, an outdoor church.
In addition to numerous classes and other events scheduled for each
season, Stream Cliff Herb Farm offers several annual events, including
the Garden Festival and the Mum Festival.
by Kim Aldridge
Elizabeth Manning (left), runs the
Twig & Sprig Teamroom at the farm.
The Garden Festival, which will be held from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. June 3, will feature a garden theme. The event, which is free
to the public, will have various presentations, including a cooking
lecture by Betty. Greg will give a presentation on the many plant choices
in landscaping. There will be exhibitor booths with garden-related handicrafts,
such as scented wax, birdhouses and homemade jewelry. A cooking demonstration
and samplings of recipes using various herbs will be offered as well.
The Twigs and Sprigs Tearoom will offer its wonderful delights, or a
box lunch is available for anyone wishing to dine in the garden. Of
course, the traditional hat contest, which includes the Most Beautiful,
Most Original, and Best Red Hat, categories
will be held.
Anyone wishing to participate simply needs to show up wearing a hat.
Betty said the Garden Festival is just a wonderful and fun way to spend
the day with the family and relax.
The annual Mum Festival, held Aug. 26, is to highlight the start of
the fall season. Timed for when the hundreds of amazing mums grown at
the farm are in bloom, Stream Cliff will offer numerous presentations,
a cooking demonstration and an array of craft booths. The mums are always
popular items because of their size and beauty, and they sell quickly.
It is best to arrive early at the farm during the festival in order
For more information on Stream Cliff Herb Farm,
hours or events, call (812) 346-5859 or visit: www.streamclifffarm.com
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