Herb Experts

A weekly radio series about herbs,

told by the people who know them best.

The following people all hail from a variety of backgrounds, but each encounters herbs in their daily life. From farmers and doctors to chefs and artists, they share their unique experiences to encourage people to discover the culinary combinations, medicinal uses and fascinating histories of common herbs.

Anne Romance

Founder, Green Heron Gardens

Anne named Green Heron Gardens after the flock of herons that roost on the pond below her herb gardens. She offers seasonal courses on growing, preparing and using herbs at her homestead farm in Salem, West Virginia.

Anne shares the importance of working with the seasons, and talks about a double-edged herb: Stinging Nettle, a prickly herb that is most beneficial to human health.

Download Audio FileAnne Romance


Ben McKean

Founder, Healthberry Farm

Ben’s background in forestry and sustainable agriculture brought him to the highland mountains outside Canaan Valley, West Virginia, where he is a homestead farmer, beekeeper and mead-maker.

Ben shares his dream of operating a working farm, and tells us about Garlic: a common and easy-to-grow culinary herb with many health benefits.

Download Audio File Ben McKean


Claire Orner

Steward, Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Claire and Rusty Orner, along with their children and a revolving cast of stewards, educate people at their farm in Jefferson County on the importance of conserving natural resources, thinking ecologically and promoting healthful, sustainable lives.

Claire tells us about Quiet Creek’s mission, and talks about Rosemary: a delicious and healthy plant that is known as the “herb of remembrance.”

Download Audio FileClaire Orner


Cynthia-Grace Devine-Kepner

Lifelong Member, Western PA Unit of the National Herb Society

Cynthia-Grace joined the Herb Society as a child, when membership was a prestigious honor. She continues to serve the society as an experienced herbalist as well as an unofficial historian.

Cynthia-Grace emphasizes the importance of natural education for the younger ages, and describes a feature of the Round Hill herb garden that kids of all ages love: the mint selection.

Download Audio FileCynthia-Grace-Devine-Kepner


Dr. Jody Evans

Founder, Essentials of Life Holistic Enrichment Center

Jody is a natural health professional and ordained minister who combines the two fields to promote holistic wellness.

Jody shares the importance of eating wild, regional herbs for health, and tells us about Plantain: an exceptional common herb that is a quick remedy for many backyard ailments.

Download Audio FileDr. Jody Evans


Kimberly Bracken

Youth and Community Program Coordinator, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Kimberly started gardening a small inner-city plot in a community garden. She quickly fell in love with all aspects of gardening and turned it into her career. She is currently in charge of all teen and garden programs at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, where she teaches children and visitors to the museum about the process of and benefits to growing your own food.

Kimberly shares her excitement about gardening, particularly the ease of perennial herbs, and touches on one of her new favorite additions to the garden: Borage, a delicious and beautiful flowering herb.

Download Audio File Kimberly Bracken

Maria Graziani

Founder, Healcrest Urban Farm

Maria founded Healcrest Urban Farm in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 2003 . She provides many goods and services on and from the farm, currently focusing on Healcrest’s popsicle stand, which sells herb-infused popsicles.

Maria talks about her experience as an herbalist, the development of Healcrest urban farm, and about an herb she knows well: Lavender, a soothing and relaxing herb often used by healers.

Download Audio File Maria Graziani


Maria Mangano

Independent Artist

Maria’s artwork explores the natural world and how humans interact with it.  She turned her passion for cooking into a collaborative art exhibit, in which she wrote a cookbook to use alongside her weekly farm-share box.

Maria describes her love for using fresh herbs for food, talks about why a CSA share has changed the way she looks at cooking, and gives us a deliciously useful recipe for Pesto, which most often includes the classic cooking herb, Basil.

Download Audio File Maria Mangano

Michelle Czolba

Owner, Wildly Natural Skin Care; Co-Founder, Pittsburgh Permaculture

Michelle has been working with herbs since 2004. She has turned her passion into professional ventures by founding two organizations that expose everyday people to the many benefits and uses of herbs.

Michelle describes how all life works together with an introduction to permaculture, and describes an abundant herb that most people would classify as a pesky weed: Dandelion, a backyard herb that doubles as a handy medicine cabinet.

Download Audio FileMichelle Czolba

Olatokunboh Obasi

Proprietor, Ola’s Herb Shop

Born and raised across East and South Africa, Ola is an herbalist, dancer, author and mother, whose practice incorporates indigenous and western methods of healing and connecting with the earth. She began her herb shop in her home in Washington, DC, and now has a storefront in the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Ola discusses her upbringing, the importance of language to help the process of healing, and the herb that is currently helping her the most: The Zulu herb Umckaloabo, a South African Geranium that is a potent helper of the respiratory system.

Download Audio FileOlatokunboh Obasi

Seth Bailey

Head Chef, The Cafe at The Frick

Seth grew up in the country where his family raised farm animals, vegetables and herbs. His love for natural foods brought him into the culinary industry, where he is currently the head chef at The Cafe at The Frick in Pittsburgh.

Seth shares his experience growing up around herbs, his love of cooking, and talks about his favorite herb: Culantro, a common herb in the Caribbean where it is used for seasoning and marinating.

Download Audio File Seth Bailey