Annual Wheeling Herb Society Spring Luncheon to Feature Talk on Hops

Annual Wheeling Herb Society Spring Luncheon to Feature Talk on Hops

WHEELING — A yearly rite of spring will bring herbs, raffles, delicious food and a good time together at the 34th annual Wheeling Herb Society Spring Luncheon set for Friday, May 3 at Oglebay Park’s Pine Room.

This year’s luncheon will prove to be a delightful twist on herbs as Chad Hill, co-owner of The Brewing Company at 2247 Market St. in the Center Market area of Wheeling, will present a talk titled “Who Knew Hops Was an Herb?” Doors open at 11:15 a.m. Paid reservations must be received by Friday, April 26 by calling 740-537-3570 or 304-639-8097.

For 31 years, the event was held at Oglebay’s Garden Center that is now home to the trendy eatery known as the Bistro. Three years ago, Oglebay made the Pine Room available to the Herb Society for the event. This enabled the group to increase the number of attendees.

Members of the herb group have spent many hours making plans and preparations for this annual luncheon that includes many spring-themed raffle items and door prizes provided by loyal vendors and gardening supporters. Guests at the luncheon will be greeted by beautiful spring decor, with white linen tablecloths and napkins, gifts of herbs on the tables for each person attending and door prizes in spring gift bags that will dot the room.

The meal will be served at 12:30 p.m. when door prizes also will be distributed. Each guest will be given an herb plant to take home.

Wheeling Herb Society President Lorrinda Saxby, Ph.D., said the luncheon is known for its array of delicious herbal appetizers prepared by society members. She noted that 2019 is the Herbal Year of Hops. Guest speaker Hill will focus his talk on beer-making and the use of hops as a versatile culinary herb.

The Herb Society was formed in 1983, and is dedicated to promoting knowledge of herbs and gardening. Members also plant and tend the herb garden at the Oglebay Park Civic Garden Center near the Burton Center.

Membership ranges from novice to expert in their knowledge of gardening and the use of herbs. Currently, there are members from across the tri-state area. The group meets at 10:30 a.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, March through December, at Wilson Lodge in Oglebay. Dues are $10 a year. Call or text Lorrinda Saxby at 740-391-0418 for more information about joining.

The Herb of the Year is selected annually by the International Herb Association and is based on the herb being outstanding in two of three categories: medicinal, culinary and/or decorative. Hops are the cone-shaped flowers of the hop plant Humulus Lupulis, a member of the Cannabaceae family. The plant has been cultivated for more than 1,000 years, with the earliest documentation occurring in Germany in the ’70s. While recognized for flavoring and preserving beer, hops have been known for their calming, sedative effect and even as an anti-inflammatory. They were traditionally brewed for medicinal purposes.

There are more than 170 varieties of hops, and depending on the variety selected, when used for culinary purposes, can impart a spicy, fruity, earthy or citrus flavor. As with most herbs, if you don’t want to grow and harvest, hops can be purchased fresh, dried or frozen.

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