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Family Affair

Manning family's roots run deep
at Stream Cliff Farm

The winery, gardens, restaurant
open in April for new season

COMMISKEY, Ind. (April 2015) – Spring has finally arrived and with that, the Stream Cliff Farm has opened again for warm weather business. The plant area, gardens, gift shops and Twigs & Sprigs Restaurant all began welcoming customers on April 1. The winery is also open for people to come and enjoy. The farm holds many specialty dinners and live music on occasion.
At Stream Cliff Farm, besides the restaurant and winery, there are also many different types of herbs, flowers, roses and bushes that draw butterflies. The gardens that owner Betty Manning has on display have been highlighted in many different nationally known magazines such as Midwest Living and Better Home & Gardens. The Twigs & Sprigs Tearoom provides distinctive sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts that are prepared with herbs and various kinds of flowers that are edible.

Photo provided

Stream Cliff Farm offers visitors a beautiful rural setting in Commiskey, Ind., to enjoy lunch and wine and shopping.

“I am ready for spring and excited for the cooking classes and gardening classes to get started again this year,” Manning said.
Stream Cliff Farm is definitely a family affair. Greg Manning, Betty’s son, is Stream Cliff’s resident horticulturist. “I love any type of drought tolerant plants because they are low maintenance and very easy to care for,” he said.
He added that if anyone is interested in looking for good foliage to add to their own gardens that “drought tolerant plants were ones to consider.”
Elizabeth Riley, Betty’s daughter, runs the tearoom and restaurant. She graduated from Hanover College in 1992 and has an artistic touch. It is easily seen in the dishes she prepares. She also has the knowledge to use flowers, which are indeed acceptable for human consumption.
Manning spoke about plants as well, saying that annuals should be planted around Derby weekend. She explained that they would also be gardening quite a bit after May 10 because the weather is safe from frost after that date. She said the most vibrant time of the year for the prettiest color in flowers is sometime around June or early July.
Manning published a book in 2012 titled, “Secrets of the Garden Paths.” It contains numerous pictures of the Stream Cliff Farm, many recipes and an entire section devoted to cooking herbs. Several of the recipes included are of foods that have been prepared in the tearoom. Others are recipes that have been considered family secrets at one time while still others have been used at the various different cooking school classes that had been held at the farm. The book is nearly 140 pages long with full color pages.
The book can be purchased online or directly at the farm. If it’s bought from the web, it costs $34.99. That takes care of the book, along with shipping, handling and sales tax. The price for the book at the farm is $24.99.
The book may focus on the present, but the farm has a definite history that could easily fill its own manuscript. Stream Cliff Farm has been around since 1821. In that year, James Harmon came to Indiana from Maine in order to collect his father’s land grant. President George Washington had given out such grants to Revolutionary War soldiers because there was no money to pay them for their service.
Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his group stayed at the farm during their famous raid during the Civil War in July 1863. It was in October of that same year that Harmon died. Since he did not have any children, he left the farm to the Methodist Church. Harmon is buried near the farm at a nearby cemetery. 
Manning’s grandmother’s family bought the farm from the church. Her grandmother was a gardener and quilter. Because of this, Manning decided to create and also dedicate gardens that are shaped like quilts. Her grandmother ended up residing at Stream Cliff Farm for more than 50 years.
Stream Cliff Farm as a business slowly got started 40 years ago. It gradually has grown to the gardens, flowers and herbs that are there today. The family also slowly worked in their interests in culinary herbs, tasty foods wines and florals. All of the above has become the Manning lifestyle. There have been six generations of family reside at the farm and the seventh generation lived in a log house. It was at another part of their farm but is no longer standing. Manning says they have a deep love of their land and also want to try and make the world a better place as well.
Stream Cliff Farm is located one half mile east of State Road 3 on Commiskey Road. The farm is considered to be sitting in a sort of “triangle” between Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.

• Stream Cliff Farm will be open for business 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (812) 346-5859 or visit: www.streamclifffarm.com.

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