Table Rock Lake, and I grow herbs. I began my business unintentionally. I had been hosting herb and garden clubs for a couple of years for tours in my garden. At the end of the tour, people would often comment, "Jim, this has been wonderful, we've enjoyed the tour (and sometimes refreshments), but we'd like to buy something to take home." I didn't have a clue what they were wanting to buy.
To be occupied in bed, I entered a lot of contests, those kind where you send in postcards. I won a trip for 2 to Colorado, skiiing! Josh and I took the trip, but stopped at his sister, Suzies, where she insisted I "take a tour" of her brand new MacIntosh computer. Nope, I wasn't interested, I wanted a Selectric typewriter and intended to begin a new networking newsletter on herbs, for profit. Suzy (who's a published mystery writer) persisted and I took the 5 minute guided tour. Light bulbs went off, I was hooked. When we came home, I cashed in a small life insurance policy and bought my first Macintosh computer that year, 1987.
To the conference I went, with just enough money to get there and hopefully back. I'd even had to borrow money for the conference fees, as I recall. But when I walked into the conference trade show, light bulbs again went off in my brain. Suddenly I saw what the groups had been telling me after their tours. I got it, finally. What they were wanting to buy, were things from my garden, herbal items that would help them remember their visit, products that captured the flavors and fragrances of the refreshments they'd experienced.
The Herb Companion magazine invited me to take over Tom DeBaggio's Down to Earth column at the beginning of 1992 (something I am honored and humbled by to this day). The publishers at Workman Press, along with my friend, Crescent Dragonwagon, invited me to drive fresh-cut herbs to Washington, D.C. for an Inaugural Brunch Bill & Hillary Clinton. The same year, The Ozarks Mountaineer magazine offered me a regular column, along with syndicating my Ozarks Gardening newspaper columns running in 2 states.
International Herb Growers, which was a large organization back then, but wound up on the board of directors, which is when I was asked to develop the Herb of the Year project (something that is still on-going, chaired by my friend, Chuck Voigt at the Univ. of IL; check my blog for this year's herb - dill). That project furnishes information and recipes/uses to many organizations and businesses for a designated herb each year.
"Great Little Herb Books." I found a method whereby my lectures to groups, flower & garden shows, etc., could be turned into marketable books, using the same time and resources I'd spent putting out an issue of the newsletter. That method continues and I have 28 books to my name, most of them published by Long Creek Herbs (and some out of print). Three of them are through Storey Books, a division of Workman Press. Those 3 books gave me entrance to a wide variety of television appearances, not just local media around the country, but several HGTV and Discovery programs. It also produced a flurry of magazine articles focusing on the garden and I've been featured in most every national magazine, for which I am grateful.
dream pillows and writing 3 books on the subject, and those continue to be successful for me and fun for our customers (read my Dream Pillows blog for stories of how Dream Pillows have helped people). And, having developed athlete's foot and cracking heel, I concocted a formula that has become my Herbal Nail Fungus Soak, which we sell nationwide and abroad through pharmacies, whole foods stores, chiropractors, podiatrists and even a few doctors.