Heirloom Tomatoes: Tasting & Talk with Amy Hicks



Thursday, July 10th / 6:00 to 7:00PM


Ellwood’s Community Classroom


Amy Hicks of Amy’s Garden

Amy’s Garden has been growing and selling great organic produce, plants and cut flowers since 1995. What began as an ambitious backyard hobby garden quickly blossomed into a full time farming career for husband and wife team Amy Hicks & George Ferguson. With the help of seasonal employees they now grow an amazingly diverse selection of vegetables, small fruits and cut flowers on their organic farm in historic Charles City county, VA. The farm is also home to a small flock of laying hens, the occasional pig or two and one very cute beagle.

Amy’s Garden sells their USDA Certified Organic produce and flowers at Ellwood Thompson’s, local farmers markets in Richmond and Williamsburg, and offers the only Certified Organic CSA option in the area.


It’s that time of year in Richmond when temperatures climb, you all but have to swim through the humidity, and tomatoes are prime for the pickin’! If you don’t grow your own, Amy Hicks of Amy’s Garden has got you covered. She’ll be in our Community Room with a variety of her own USDA Certified Organic, locally grown, heirloom and heritage variety tomatoes to guide you through this juicy tasting. Hear the unique perspective of being an organic farmer from the grower herself as she discusses the life as a small-scale organic farmer. Plus, you’ll enjoy the fruits of her labor as she explains the difference between these summer favorites and maybe discover a favorite variety of your own! She’ll also have some tomatoes for sale, pop-up farmer’s market style, so you can be sure to take some home for yourself.





Register for class

There is limited seating for this tasting & talk so you must register ahead of time.

Register online for the class below.

Ellwood Thompson’s & Amy’s Garden Present:


Call the customer service desk at 804-359-7525 or email Taylor at trichardson@ellwoodthompsons.com.

Solarize RVA: Richmond’s Solar Bulk Purchasing Program

7.9.14 Solarize RVA banner


Wednesday, July 9th / 6:00 to 8:00PM


Ellwood’s Community Classroom

Sponsored by

Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA)


Join in SolarizeRVA’s final Q&A session and wrap party!  Program and special pricing end July 15th.

SolarizeRVA is a program of the Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA), a local community service nonprofit. By going solar as a community, we’re able to tap into the power of bulk purchasing to get the most competitive prices on solar installations. SolarizeRVA’s two participating solar contractors represent the best intersection of price, product, and experience in our area. Attend this final solar education workshop will have one of our contractors on-hand to answer your questions:

  •  Learn about the benefits of solar energy
  • Find out what solar costs and the return on your investment
  • Explore whether your home is a good candidate

Learn more about SolarizeRVA on their website.





Register for class

There is limited seating for this workshop and it is the last one offered, so be sure to register ahead of time.

Register online for the class here.


Call the customer service desk at 804-359-7525.

Tincture Making 101

One of my favorite parts of being an herbalist is making my own medicines: tinctures, teas, salves, poultices, infusions…I feel like I’m in potions class in my own kitchen. It’s pretty easy to make your own herbal medicines if you have the right equipment and good quality ingredients. The best part is the experimentation (and the failures, sometimes) and getting things juuuuuust right in the end! Tinctures are especially fun to make during the summer months because SO much is in season right now. Right in your backyard you may find dandelions, red clover, ground ivy, mullein, even yarrow!

Heres the basic 101 version of how to make an herbal tincture:

You will always have marc (the actual herb or product you’re working with) and menstrum (whatever you’re soaking the herb in – alcohol, water, vinegar, glycerin etc).

You should also have a ratio of marc to menstrum (ie, how much herb you should mix with how much liquid. Michael Moore’s Materia Medica 5th Edition is always my standby for looking up tincture ratios. It’s laid out by botanical name, so start brushing up on your latin!

We have lots of options for our menstrum, and there are pro’s and cons to each:

  1. Alcohol – LONG shelf life, extracts resin, nutrients, alkaloids, aromatics, sterilizing. DOES NOT extract fats or mucilage. Also, some folks just aren’t good with alcohol, and alcoholic tinctures are often more expensive.
  2. Vinegar – Nourishing in the body, more affordable and often tastes better. However it tends to be a poor extractor of the medicinal constituents. Very short shelf life.
  3. Glycerin – Often used for kids. Makes a gooey, sweet tincture which can be tasty.
  4. Water – extracts starches (polysaccharides), mucilage, aromatics, volatile oils, tannins, vitamin nutrients, alkaloids a little. DOES NOT extract resins or fats and has a very short shelf life.

Alcohol will extract about 90-95% of what you want from an herb. Vinegar will extract about 15-20% and glycerin only about 5-10%. I usually always use alcohol for my tinctures, something like vodka or at least 95% proof. If I use a vinegar, I usually use rice vinegar.


I recently got a batch of fresh Kava kava root (Piper methysticum) and decided to make a large tincture batch to keep it fresh. Here is the “recipe”:

Tincture: Recent dry root 1:5, 60% alcohol.

This ratio (1:5) is the marc:menstrum (herb:liquid)

We should always calculate to 100%

I had about 100 grams of herb (the marc) which means I will need 500ml of liquid (menstrum). 60% of that liquid should be alcohol, so I need 300ml of alcohol and 200ml of water to = 500ml total of menstrum. Got it?

I pulverized the root in my vitamix. It’s always best to grind your own herbs so less oxidation occurs and more surface area is exposed for the extraction process. After it’s all pulverized, I poured my alcohol + water cocktail into the vitamix and mixed it all together for a few pulses.

Then I transferred the contents to a class jar and covered with a lid (I keep it out of direct sunlight, too). I will let this sit for about 2 months before I strain it out and bottle it.


Simple, right? If you’re looking for a beginners guide to medicine making with tons of fun recipes, check out James Green’s “The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook”. He also touches on the folklorist version of medicine making with very little measuring (if math isn’t your thing) and just using what you have on hand.]

Keep in mind, if you’re working with FRESH plants, you will need very little water as the plants already contain plenty of water in their fresh form. These will usually be 100% alcohol or close to it.

If you wild harvest your own herbs, make sure to get good quality herbs (I don’t really recommend herb gathering out by the road or near drainage areas….) and harvest responsibly. Take no more than 10% of a particular species in one place and don’t take more than you need. Michael Vertolli has some great tips of ethical wild crafting.

Have fun, and enjoy your medicine making!


Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com