Nana’s tasty hobby

Helena Market Days recently wrapped up its last hurrah until 2010.

Declared a success by organizers, vendors and shoppers, the board will be reviewing, in coming months, suggestions and plans for making 2010’s market even better.

One element that set this market apart were the Chef Demos organized by Mary Perko. The demos brought sought–after local chefs to the attention of the broader community.

Nana’s Herbs entrepreneur Wanda Anderson demonstrated a summer vegetable pasta dish at a late season Market Days.

Anderson retired after 14 years from Dayspring Daycare to be home with her 11–month–old granddaughter, Stevie.

Meanwhile, her backporch hobby and experimentation with growing herbs developed into a cottage industry thanks to exposure via the farmer’s market.

With the help of husband Steve, growing capacity has been expanded via a method called square–foot gardening. The Andersons have built table–like wooden structures divided into 12–inch square shallow sections, thus eliminating the need for stooping or hoeing.

“We purchase cow manure, mushroom compost, hen compost, cotton burr compost and combine those with our own backyard compost from grass clippings and vegetable scraps to make our ‘supersoil’ mixture for everything we grow,” said Anderson. “We want to keep everything organic.”

Anderson’s interest recently expanded into herbal infused vinegars after reading an article in “Southern Living.” She now offers a variety of decorative corked cruets. Most popular to date is her own Italian Balsamic recipe.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at

laurabrookhart@yahoo.com.