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Straight from the garden

Locally grown herbs lend flavor, aroma to Highland Springs dishes

Created date

August 20th, 2013
Hanging herbs

Bob Derryberry has long been interested in where food comes from.

When he retired after 25 years with an insurance company, Bob embarked on a second career as an agribusiness appraiser.

“The number of businesses that handle agricultural products is astounding,” says Bob, who carved out a niche for himself appraising businesses ranging from poultry processing plants to feed mills.

Now that he’s retired a second time, Bob is moving past the distribution chain, right to the foods themselves.

For the past several months, Bob has been growing herbs for use in the kitchens at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas where he lives.

“I’m growing chives, thyme, basil, cilantro, parsley, and dill,” says Bob. “When they are ready to be harvested, I take the herbs to the kitchen staff who use them in meal preparation.”

Fresh and flavorful

“Bob’s herbs are the best I’ve ever seen,” says Scott Cook, lead cook at Highland Springs. “They are all organic and pesticide-free. The color is beautiful, and the aroma fills the kitchen.”

Cook says the herbs have become a mainstay on the menu, appearing regularly in certain dishes.

“We use the chives on our loaded baked potatoes every Thursday night,” says Cook. “And the thyme is used in the marinade for steaks.”

Cook says the difference is noticeable when using fresh herbs from the garden.

“Fresh herbs certainly have a better flavor and aroma than dried herbs,” says Cook. “We’re thankful for Bob’s efforts in providing them for the community.”

Love of the outdoors

In addition to the herb garden, Bob is a member of the Highland Springs garden club and maintains three garden parcels on the south side of the community.

“My mother was a gardener, and I inherited her love of gardening,” says Bob, who harvested a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.

Bob and his wife Alta moved to Highland Springs from their home in Garland in 2009, where Bob also gardened, growing tomatoes, onions, spinach, collards, and lettuce.

“One of the things that appealed to me most about Highland Springs was its wide, open spaces,” says Bob. “The extensive grounds and trees give the community a spacious feel. I still have plenty of opportunities to be outside.”

You can find Bob on the grounds daily, working in the garden or keeping track of the community’s wildflowers.

“The landscape around Highland Springs is really an extension of our living space,” says Bob. “It’s a beautiful place to live.”