By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Kula Farm in Asbury Park, which grows herbs and vegetables year round in its oversized greenhouse, is presenting classes for those who would like to learn to cook healthier meals.
Recently, teacher Laura Mayer, presented ways to create an herbal Thanksgiving meal.
Those attending learned how to cook a wild rice dish with astragalus and paleo pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, both loaded with healthy herbs.
Mayer took classes on medicinal herbs and how they help the human body.
“Before pharmaceuticals, that’s what we used,” she said.
Mayer, an Avon native, returned to the East Coast after living in California, where she studied at three schools that teach medicinal herbs. While living in Oregon she attended the Hawthorne Institute to study herbal medicine.
“Herbs support us in staying well,” she said. “They are not just to flavor food.”
Mayer is well versed in regular kitchen herbs and spices that have medicinal value. She also grows most of her own herbs, which she incorporates into her recipes.
Steff Mags and Liz Lau drove up from Long Beach Island to attend their first class at Kula Farm.
“We’re using herbs so we won’t get sick,” Mags said.
Teresa Maltz of Tinton Falls said she attended to learn about wholesome ingredients.
“I come from a family that buys everything in cans,” she said. “It’s awesome to be able to have the community provide help. You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Maltz has attended other classes at the farm as well and said she uses herbs on a seasonal basis.
“It’s an energizing workshop…and being in this great space, it’s calm and a breath of fresh air,” she said.
Gail Dixon of Neptune was familiar with Kula Farm through her church which runs a children’s program there. She said she is hoping to learn more about herbal cooking.
“I hope so, I use ginger a lot,” she said.
Suggested donation for classes is $20