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Jul 6, 2010 06:04 PM

Good sources for fresh herbs

Can anyone give me a few sources for fresh herbs; where I can get piles of basil and big bunches of mint, chives and rosemary? Nothing too exotic, but some different types of basils would also be nice. Reasonable cost would be a plus!

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  1. you can find big bunches of mint and Thai basil for cheap at the Vietnamese markets. I've also seen them at 99 Ranch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: daantaat

      +1 for 99 Ranch. Long term best bet is to get a few pots, and grow 'em yourself. Basil, rosemary, thyme, mint and chives are all easy to grow in SD.

      1. re: Indirect Heat

        Thanks. 99 Ranch didn't even occur to me. As for Vietnamese markets, any big favorites?
        Also I'm in the Penasquitos/Poway/Scripps area and work N of that, but i get around, especially in the Coastal areas so I'm open to trying new places anywhere, but a good everyday source close to work or home would be nice too. thanks.

        1. re: Island

          Lucky seafood is closest to you. Have some pho while you're there.

    2. Chino farms, specialty produce

      1. Little Italy's farmers market on Saturday.

        2 Replies
        1. re: stevewag23

          That's a farmer's market I haven't been to, but need to check it out. Do you recall what herbs they had?

          1. re: Island

            Little Italy has a few good herb vendors - at the west end is Rivera's, selling several types of basil and mint among others. I think they sell both bunches and potted plants. Suzie's Farm has a wide variety but some are pricy. Sage Mountain sometimes has a good selection. I know in the recent past I've seen basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary, several types of sage, sorrel, lavender, and I'm sure I'm forgetting several.
            Most of the farmers' markets I've gone to have a good selection.
            Chino's herbs are excellent but certainly not cheap.
            I often find buying potted herb plants is cheaper than buying bunches even if the plants die a month later, which mine usually do. Very brown thumb.

        2. Jimbo's certainly; will likely be organic and pricey. For the herbs you list even a decent Ralph's or Von's will suffice. The Asian markets will have the best prices by far. Also, check out North Park Produce for some of the more exotic herbs.

          Best bet is to start a small herb garden as suggested above. Though i personally have had a difficult time growing basil and cilantro. Seems to be popular with the local bunny population. Any hints?

          17 Replies
          1. re: steveprez

            Agreed on the Asian markets - definitely cheapest for herbs.

            Steveprez, I have four kinds of basil, pineapple mint, flat-leaf parsley, and sage growing on my deck. Ever since I planted garlic nearby, the local critters have left the herbs alone. A friend of mine hates garlic, but buys the powder just to sprinkle on the ground near his garden. Give it a shot, and see if it works for you.

            1. re: phee

              There can only be one phee :o) .... I'm back in San Diego for a few weeks visiting my new 3-week old granddaughter. How's the group? Glad you still like herbs :o)

              1. re: horseradish

                Oh, my - you have a granddaughter! Congratulations! If you have time, we should get together while you're in town. Love to see you!

            2. re: steveprez

              I have been growing herbs and vegetables in earthboxes for a few years with great success.


              1. re: stevuchan

                I haven't had that much luck growing them in pots. Too much travel.
                Mint and rosemary worked for awhile, but they get so woody and take over. Never got a decent crop of basil. I think I'd need a lot of plants to make that work.
                Maybe I should the earthbox.
                Phee where do you buy your different basil plants and pineapple mint? A variety would be fun.

                1. re: Island

                  If you want rosemary to be less woody, prune it. The new growth is always nicer.

                  1. re: Island

                    Armstrong garden centers has had Italian basil, Thai basil and purple ruffle basil in the past. Purple ruffle being the only one I've ever grown successfully. Perhaps the bunnies are thrown off by the color. Will try the garlic trick.

                    1. re: steveprez

                      I've only tried Italian and want it for pesto, but my plants never produced enough. Exhausted themselves after initial growth spurt. I'll have to try the others. Thanks.

                      1. re: Island

                        Basil needs lots of water, and every time it starts to flower, you need to pinch the buds off. In SD, I water my basil every other day (although this summer has been so cool and wet so far, twice a week has been sufficient). Four plants of basil makes us a ton of pesto, and many, many caprese salads.

                    2. re: Island

                      I pick them up at various places. I know I got some of the basil at Summers Past Farms out on old highway 80. It's a funky, cool little place, and they have a good selection of herbs. I got the pineapple mint at either Walter Andersen's or Lowe's - can't remember, as it's been a few months. I've been on a planting frenzy this year.

                  2. re: steveprez

                    I stopped growing cilantro a few years back. I couldn't keep it from going to seed, and the season was too short.

                    I grow all my herbs in large pots (we're renters and can't have a garden). Everything does alright there, just means we have to be a little more vigilant about watering.

                    1. re: steveprez

                      Yeah "decent" must be the operative word because the Von's and other supermarkets in my area have nothing but parsley and cilantro in bunches and anything else is in those tiny plastic cases the size of an iPhone. That works if i need a pinch of something in a pinch, but it's pricey.

                      1. re: Island

                        Yeah, and the quality of "fresh" herbs at Vonn's is pretty dicey.

                        1. re: Island

                          99 Ranch and all the Asian markets have decent sized bunches of cilantro for cheap.

                          1. re: Island

                            Cilantro is interesting and funny. It's probably my favorite fresh herb but the mass market stuff sometimes has no flavor or an off flavor. I've found the organic at Whole Foods is worth the extra money especially when they have the young shoots.

                            1. re: kare_raisu

                              Cilantro is funny to me too because I'm in the camp that it tastes like soap. I don't care for it at all and will avoid or pull it out of things when possible, but my husband loves it and of course I have no trouble growing or finding that in mass!

                            2. re: Island

                              Both the Ralph's and Von's in my neighborhood have been upgraded and have pretty good produce sections. A bit pricey but works better than the long drive to the Asian markets when you discover your missing a key ingredient just before starting to cook.

                          2. Try one of the Persian markets. They will have big bunches of cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon, and various other herbs for very cheap. Balboa International Market at Balboa and Genesee has a good selection.