The first Saturday in May is special to horse racing fans because the Kentucky Derby is run then. But for Aiken County residents who love plants, the first Saturday in May means it’s time for the Spring Herb Faire at Pascalina, a historic home in Montmorenci.
The Herb Faire is scheduled this year for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 4.
“We want to provide a place where people can be outside and get away from their TVs and cell phones,” said Linda Oswald, whose parents, Jackie and Earl Heath, own Pascalina. “We also hope we are going to broaden people’s awareness and appreciation of locally produced useful products.”
Nearly 30 vendors are expected to participate in the Herb Faire, according to Oswald. Among those new to the event will be Rocky Oswald, who will offer hand-built, one-man wooden boats; Charlie Burgess, who collects and reconditions antique cast iron cookware; and Susan Scoggins, who creates keepsakes from flowers and herbs.
Other products for sale will include local goat cheese and honey, goat milk soaps and lotions, pottery and stone-ground grits and cornmeal.
Rosemary, oregano and thyme will be among the fresh and/or dried herbs available for purchase.
“We have the basics, but we also try to offer herbs that people can’t just go anywhere and find,” Linda Oswald said. “Along with regular basil, you might find six or eight different other kinds of basil here. We’ll have stevia, which is used as a sweetener.”
For people who aren’t sure what they want to buy, “we will have little bundles of fresh herbs,” Oswald said. “They can take them home and kind of experiment with them to decide if they want to go through the trouble of growing them. We’ll also have little bundles of dried herbs that people can throw into a pot of soup or a pot of spaghetti.”
Pascalina has been home to the Heaths since 1964. An asparagus plantation used to be located on the surrounding property.
Cyril Pascalis, a civil engineer, formerly owned Pascalina. In the 1800s prior to the Civil War, he helped survey the route of the railroad between Hamburg and Charleston. He also was involved in surveying and laying out the streets of Aiken. During the Civil War, Pascalina served as a headquarters for Union officers as troops made their way to the coast.
In addition to the Spring Herb Faire on the first Saturday in May, Pascalina hosts another Herb Faire on the last Saturday in September each year. The Spring Herb Faire is usually the larger of the two events, attracting as many as 1,200 people, Oswald estimated.
Pascalina offered its first herb-related function in 1999.
“My mom and her friends had a little herb group and it was kind of way to share information and sell herbs,” Oswald said. “There were about five different people selling herbs and herb products. Then, over the years, they saw the interest in it grow and they kept on doing it. My brother, Mike Heath, and I joined in with our mom and dad on the farm part of it. That opened up the opportunity even more for people to get to see the farm and see the where the things they are buying from us are growing.”
Pascalina’s address is 3250 Charleston Highway (Highway 78).
For more information about the Spring Herb Faire, call Oswald at 803-646-3774. There is no cost to attend the event.
Oswald said anyone attending the Spring Herb Fair will be able to sign up to receive email notifications about what vegetables, herbs and cut flowers are available during Pascalina’s growing seasons.