Family affair

Mannings have created
oasis at Stream Cliff Herb Farm

Popular garden center opened
March 31 for 2010 season

Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

COMMISKEY, Ind. (April 2010) – Stream Cliff Herb Farm is a place where tradition and new growth join hand in hand. As Betty Manning works to prepare the greenhouses and tea room for the spring opening, she is surrounded with happy reminders that six generations of her family have welcomed spring on the farm.

Betty Manning

Photo provided

For more than 30 years, the
Mannings have welcomed guests
to their Stream Cliff Herb Farm
in Commiskey, Ind.

From the gardens laid out in quilt patterns in honor of Manning’s grandmother to the new wine label featuring a smiling pink pig drawn by her young granddaughter, the farm is a living scrapbook of happy memories. “We’re very family oriented – everyone here is pretty much friends and family,” Manning said.
For more than 30 years, the Commiskey, Ind., farm has welcomed guests to make their own memories at the historic farm. Stream Cliff Herb Farm opened March 31 for the 2010 season. Customer Appreciation Days, featuring 10 percent off plants, runs March 31 - April 3 and again April 7-11. Visitors find the farm to be an excellent source for culinary herbs, perennial and annual flowers, as well as heirloom vegetables and roses.
However, the farm supplies more than just the raw materials needed for a successful garden. Guests can also discover ways to successfully tend their plants and directions how to bring their gardens into their kitchens. Throughout the year, Stream Cliff Farm holds a variety of craft, cooking, and gardening events, certain to provide inspirational ideas.
“There’s pretty much something going on every weekend,” said Manning.
One Stream Cliff event that has become a regular tradition with many families is the annual Mother’s Day lunch. “Mother’s Day is always a huge sell out,” says Manning. Families gather to enjoy a lovely spring meal together. The event has grown so popular that reservations are required.
The successful cooking school classes return this year with two new sessions. After Manning was questioned about what her secret was to her perfect homemade noodles and pie crusts, “Grandma’s Comfort Recipes” was born. Manning had the benefit of learning from a mother and grandmother who were “really good cooks” and now looks to share some of her favorite old-fashioned techniques and recipes. Visitors can also enjoy the new “Favorite Recipes From the Tearoom” course. These cooking classes are unique in that students first sit down to enjoy a meal before moving on the kitchen to learn how to create the wonderful dishes they just ate.
This year also marks an exciting fourth season for the farm’s winery. A new Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a semi-sweet blackberry wine will be available. Manning is particularly pleased with the release of Stream Cliff’s Grandpa’s Blackberry, saying, “I’ve wanted a blackberry wine for a long time.”
Manning and her husband, Gerald, take special care in developing the names and labels for the winery’s offerings. Many of the wines bear horse-themed names, inspired by the fact that the winery once served as a blacksmith’s shop.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the winery,” said Manning. “We were very interested in history, we like really good food, and we are passionate about art. Wine became the fourth leg on the stool – it fit in with our other interests.”
The farm holds an important place not only in the history of Manning’s family, but in Indiana history as well. In 1863, notorious Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his Raiders raided the farm during the Civil War. Manning presents a variety of guided group walks and lectures on the farm, and she reports that the Civil War talk is one of the most popular.
Morgan’s influence is also reflected in the name of one of the favorite farm wines – Stream Cliff’s Kentucky Stud, named in honor of Morgan’s famous stallion.
The farm’s dedication to history and tradition have made it a favorite destination for visitors who return year after year. So for guests looking to grow their own gardens or their own special memories, Stream Cliff Herb Farm offers a lovely escape.

• For more information, visit: www.StreamCliffFarm.com.

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