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Stream Cliff Herb Farm

Commiskey tourist site thrives

Mannings offer several
special events, seminars each year

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

COMMISKEY, Ind. (June 2006) – Stream Cliff Herb Farm in Commiskey, Ind., has been in Betty Manning’s family for generations. Her great-grandfather lived on the farm, and it has been passed down from generation to generation since then.

Betty Manning

Photo by Kim Aldridge

Besides 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,” Betty said.
Elizabeth runs the Twig and Sprig Tearoom at the farm, while Greg, a horticulturist, works in the farm’s 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 is.
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 farm’s 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 Betty’s grandmother, who quilted and worked in the farm’s gardens for more than 50 years. Each garden has its own unique quilt design, including the walled quilt-shaped Grandmo-ther’s 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.

Betty and Elizabeth Manning

Photo by Kim Aldridge

Betty Manning’s daughter,
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 to shop.

• For more information on Stream Cliff Herb Farm, hours or events, call (812) 346-5859 or visit: www.streamclifffarm.com

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