Jun 21, 2021
Earlier in the Spring, Jill and I met up in Asheville to distill some Lemon Balm together. First, we went to her friends’ house, down the road from hers, where we had permission to harvest Lemon Balm from their very abundant gardens right in the city.
The Lemon Balm was in it’s prime.
Jill comes to their house often to help in the gardens and harvest extra herbs to distill or to make medicine.
Stepping into their yard, I thought for a moment that I was suddenly in Berkeley, California, where gardens and quirky folk abound, tucked into an urban weaving of lush flowering plants and treehouses, Redwoods and backyard nooks.
But no, this was Asheville, and the treehouse was in a big healthy Eastern Hemlock tree, the carefully placed rock walls abound, the exposed dirt southern red, the hand built greenhouse off the back of the house full of desert plants one wouldn’t expect deep in Appalachia.
We gathered Lemon Balm by cutting bunches and dug up some young plants to transplant elsewhere. Lemon Balm tends to spread easily in some environments and Jill’s friends wanted us to take some away. I later transported some of these plants back to the land where I’m living for the summer and tucked them into an empty bed and wished them well.
We took our harvest back to Jill’s house, where we had some mid-day Mertails drinks. (Mertails are elixirs that can be used as mixers instead of alcohol, or with alcohol if you desire, Jill talks more about this company she co-owns on the podcast) I felt so good after having one of these, as my drink was very hydrating on what was a hot day.
We started then setting up the copper still Jill owns and got it heating up to prepare for distilling the Lemon Balm into hydrosol. In the time while we were waiting for the still to heat up, we sat down to chat about some of Jill’s projects over the years, including working with trash disposal at festivals, starting a mobile elixir bar, living on the road with intention and more.
Blog post for this episode which includes a photo diary of our Lemon Balm distillation and meetup: www.ofsedgeandsalt.com/podcastblog/jillofnohm