Happy herbi-days . . . Chemical- and pesticide-free Crooked River Herb Farm (3942 Akron-Peninsula Road, Akron) in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area is having a Holiday Open House on November 13 and 14. Herb farmer Kathleen Varga launched her business in 1993 as an outlet for her own delicate herbed jellies, vinegars, and infused honeys. But since then, the tiny store has become something of a natural foods market, offering an assortment of locally made products, with Varga taking on the role of one-woman clearinghouse for all things organic. Along with Varga's herbal creations -- like a mouthwatering Violet and Lavender Jelly, a knock-your-socks-off Toasted Pecan and Basil Pesto, and a heady Tarragon Champagne Vinegar -- visitors can buy impeccably fresh ch&eagrave;vre and goats' milk feta from Anne Hauser's R-Haven Farm in Lorain County, custom-blended herbal teas from Donna Hohman's Stardust Botanicals in Coventry, herbal skin-care products from Lois Tullis of West Akron, and honey and beeswax candles from Andrew McKinnon in Silver Lake. Among Varga's fresh-herb customers are some of Akron's best restaurants, like Ken Stewart's Grille, Liberty Street Brewing Company, and the Mustard Seed Market and Café. Open house activities will include a chance to sample natural products, meet some of the producers, and visit with Varga's security-minded llamas, Pacha and Turbo, who guard the farm against marauding coyotes. Fall hours, through December 24, are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Tips are encouraged. Contact Elaine T. Cicora at firstname.lastname@example.org.