Long Creek Herbs: A Noteworthy Missouri Herb Farm

If you are in the Missouri area, take a visit to Long Creek Herbs and let Jim Long take you on a tour of his famous herb garden.

| Spring 2016

  • By the 1980s, the Long Creek herb garden had become a showplace worthy of hosting tours and events.
    Photo courtesy www.RareSeeds.com
  • Jim Long feels most comfortable at his herb farm, Long Creek Herbs, located at Blue Eye, Missouri. He feels fortunate that his business allows him to really enjoy life and gets to do what he loves.
    Photo courtesy www.RareSeeds.com
  • Jim Long’s background as a landscape developer is evident in his herb gardens. He was creating “edible landscapes” before the term ever became popular.
    Photo courtesy www.RareSeeds.com

Jim Long’s love of gardening began when he was 5 years old. Now decades later, he is enjoying where that love of gardening has led him. From his herb garden and herb formula development studio at Blue Eye, Missouri, he gets to make his living doing something that he loves to do.

In today’s age, when children are often quick to sue their parents for what many consider to be parenting mistakes that negatively affected their entire lives, Jim is quick to give credit to his parents for where he is now. Before Jim planted his first little garden at such a young age, his parents let him choose his own seeds from the seed catalog and order them right along with his parents’ seeds. They let him be in charge of his own little plot, and he says the most wonderful thing they did was to let him make his own mistakes and learn from them — whether they were little mistakes or huge ones. The 2nd most advantageous thing his parents did for him was to always include and feature his produce as part of family meals. They would make a big deal of the scrawny little radishes being served, or point out the half ear of corn or less-than-perfect tomato that had come from what Jim now calls his “pitiful little garden.”

Jim is like most career gardeners in that he has always been interested in plants. He grew more specific in that interest at a very early age when he developed an interest in herbs. He recalls being a 5th grader in his little town and carrying around a notebook so that he was always ready to interview older people about medicinal herbs. He had a keen interest in what different herbs did and the affects that had on people. His interest in herbs was further fueled by his mother, who came from a long line of cooks. She was one of 12 children that not only always cooked big meals but also grew herbs and used them in their cooking.

Jim recalls that his own cooking things from the garden began when he was only about 9 or 10 years. By the age of 13, he had started working in a local restaurant after school and on weekends. At age 15, he was helping to run a restaurant. As interested as he always was in gardening and cooking, he didn’t consider it as a profession until he was in his 20s. He was also interested in landscape architecture and after college started working for a landscaping company. Over time, he developed his own landscaping company that eventually led him to develop Long Creek Herbs farm.

Long before “edible landscape” was a common gardening term, Jim was creating them. The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy made the term popular and started a movement that is still going strong today. As a landscape developer, he always included edible plants into his landscape designs. His interest in cooking led him to include recipes with those edible plants in his designs. That eventually evolved into an herb farm.

Jim moved to Blue Eye in 1979 and started a little herb garden alongside his vegetable garden.  He started with just 7 herbs and learned to grow and cook with them. Each year he would add different or more herbs. If he didn’t like an herb one year, he would toss that one aside and try a different one. Over the years, he has grown something between 200 and 400 herbs. Some of the herbs he collects from his many travels and others he gets from trading with other herb growers.



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