A week ago I was reading our little local paper, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the story headline "The Joy of Rhubarb"...and the details of a Rhubarb Class to be held in a few days at Uncle John's Home and Garden to discuss rhubarb planting, growing, harvesting and best of all, eating!
Now, anyone that knows me well knows that I LOVE growing, baking and cooking with Rhubarb, and for the past two years I have been on a search to find new varieties of rhubarb plants for our garden, to no avail. Last year it became a quest not unlike the search for the Holy Grail.
And so I immediately called and registered for the class, and could hardly wait to tell Skipper the good news. He happened to be out and about with our son, who is trying to get in as many driving practice hours as he can, as his 16th birthday is roaring up on us! As soon as they got home, Skipper came running in the house to excitedly tell me that they had seen a big sign for a RHUBARB CLASS while they were driving around the countryside. What are the chances? It is fate, I tell you!
And when I stopped laughing at the incredible coincidence of it all and explained to him that not only was it a class, but that there would be "rhubarb tasting" including rhubarb wine...he volunteered to go with me! And when we registered him for the class? He got the LAST seat available - it was a sellout!
We headed up to Uncle John's Home and Garden in Olmstead Falls, a very old and quaint little town. And for a girl that had visited what she thought were the best premier nurseries in Minnesota and northeast Ohio, I WAS BLOWN AWAY!
How had I never heard about this place before? Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, it is no surprise that they were named as the 2016 Best Garden Center by the Cleveland HotList.
We were greeted by the owners, Marcia and Jeff Hawkins, and introduced to our instructor, Laura McDougal. A wonderful sampling of rhubarb appetizers were shared, and rhubarb wine was served as soon as we were seated. SO GOOD!
Laura launched into an interesting and organized presentation, recipes were shared, questions were asked and answered, and everyone was gifted with a prize bag. And the best part? Laura rolled out wagon loads of rhubarb plants that were available for sale. And after searching for ANY variety of rhubarb plants for more than two years at more greenhouses than I care to remember, this was the gold moment!
Never in my life have I found THREE different varieties of Rhubarb before! I'm still squealing! In years to come we will now have four varieties of rhubarb to mix and match! And even more inspiration for all of my Rhubarb Recipes!
The night ended far too quickly...but we were each handed a huge Rhubarb Float to enjoy on our way home. YUMMY! HAPPY TUMMIES!
We also discovered one of the most fabulous garden centers we have ever been to - and our new FAVORITE! I'm still kicking myself that we never heard about this place before. We went back again on Saturday and spent a few hours just walking around and enjoying the healthiest plants, greatest selection and friendliest staff you have ever met! I took my garden planning list and camera along, and we had such a productive morning planning for our 2017 garden. The variety and selection of herbs, garden and landscaping plants, shrubs and trees that are unique and not available anywhere else around here is truly amazing. And I have to admit - I bought a couple more rhubarb plants!
Believe me, you have got to visit this place as soon as you can - it is beyond words!
Uncle John's Home and Garden
8579 Columbia Road
Olmstead Falls, Ohio
As for me, we'll be heading back to Uncle John's Home and Garden again during the next few weekends to pickup fresh herbs and other garden plants. I still can't get over the quality of the plants that we saw here - and you'll be seeing many of these herbs and vegetables in the months to come right here at SNOWFLAKES & COFFEECAKES on my Gardening page. I can hardly wait to share with you as we watch them grow!
I was also asked to share some of my rhubarb recipes with Uncle John's Home and Garden to be posted on their website and linked back. I urge you to visit my Rhubarb Recipe page during the next few months, as many more fresh rhubarb recipes will be posted.
Did I tell you how much I love rhubarb? And Spring?