Fresh bay leaves or California Bay

KatyaKatya(6)March 18, 2014

Dear gardening friends in California,
I am looking for somebody who is able to help me with fresh bay leaves. My use for them is not "food" so they needn't be certified as food. But they must be fresh leaves from a real tree. Dry leaves from a grocery store won't do. Fresh leaves seen sometimes at exorbitant prices at grocery stores could work except I need a lot of them which makes a purchase prohibitive. What I am trying to locate is somebody who has a tree and wouldn't mind cutting some branches for me and mailing them. I know that those trees grow very well in mild climates. Just to make sure, I am looking for leaves of bay tree - Laurus nobilis, not anything called laurel in this country. However, there is a native Californian tree called wild bay which would also serve my purpose - this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbellularia . This tree grows wild on the West Coast and it is possible somebody has it growing on the premises. I would greatly appreciate any information and I am willing to discuss the conditions. Thank you very much.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I have a Laurus nobilis (not the CA so-called Bay, Umbellularia californica). But is is only shrub size. How many leaves do you need?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:11AM
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KatyaKatya(6)

I could use any amount. If you could snip a few shoots/branches - not resulting in damage to the bush! - and mail to Johnson City TN, that would be great. Please tell me if it is possible and what you want to charge for them. Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:05AM
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calistoga_al

I have 6 acres of woods full of Umbellaria californica. The oil in the leaves is very strong and should not be eaten. I have to wait a year before running the brush through a shredder or the gas from the oil in the leafs will burn your sinus unbearably. This tree is a weed that reseeds everywhere and I am constantly pulling them out. You can have as much as you want if you are willing to pay the cost of shipping. Al

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:25AM
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KatyaKatya(6)

My use is definitely not food so it is OK. It is actually good that the scent is strong. Of course I will pay the shipping and more, please tell me how you want it. I can mail you a check or do Paypal or COD, whichever works for you. A bunch of branches, size of a flower bouquet would be nice. I am guessing you need to find out what they charge for mailing it? I hope nothing happens if I put my street address here for you: Katya Kaverina, 811 Lazywood Dr, Johnson City TN 37601. Thank you very much. If the entire thing works I may want to buy them from you every year as long as you don't mind. Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:10PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Should I hold off since it appears you have a larger supply, of the smellier species ;) , from calistoga?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:39PM
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KatyaKatya(6)

Gyr_falcon, if you don't want to trim your bush unnecessarily, then don't. Yours is a real bay - Laurus nobilis. So I would actually like to buy both and when I have them - get an opinion from our guys to know what to do in the future (it seems that I will stay in charge of any thing ~botanical for the years to come). So if at all possible, please try and send me some and tell me how you want it to be paid. You saw what I wrote to Al, so my shipping address is there. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:19PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

The shrub is due for a trim anyway, but the stems would only be 7-10" long. Is that ok? In a previous year's request you wanted them for the end of April. Would it be better to send them in a few weeks so they would be fresher? I have taxes and an orchid show eating up this weekend, but I could probably send them next week if you prefer. If you want to send me some forever stamps or something after you get them to cover whatever the shipping turns out to be, I'm fine with that.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:15AM
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Sluginator(10b)

I read that it just had a stronger flavor than the Laurus nobilis. (I have never had the opportunity to taste any.)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 6:16AM
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KatyaKatya(6)

Gyr_Falcon, yes, that would be just fine, length of stems is nonessential. Middle of April is more like it this year, we'll be actually using them on the 18th. I prefer not to take any risks. Next week is just absolutely fine, beautiful. Thank you very much.
Sluginator, :) I am not using them for food, otherwise I would do with ones from the grocery store.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:18AM
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Sluginator(10b)

Katya: I was planning on using them for food, so I am curious about their taste. I have a lot of the dried Laurus nobilis leaves from the store. When I put them in a dish, I really can't tell any difference with or without them. I thought that the California species would solve this problem, but Calistoga seems to think that they are disgusting.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:01AM
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KatyaKatya(6)

Sluginator, I use dry bay leaves mostly 1. When making meat stock, or rather bouillon. 2. For pickling vegetables and mushrooms. In both cases it is a must. I have read that wild food enthusiasts tried using wild bay in dishes, but then they are wild food enthusiasts, they do a lot of things. Calistoga is saying the oil in fresh ones is strong to the point of irritating your skin, maybe it is different when they are dry? I am looking for fresh ones now - nobilis or wild - because we need fresh ones in a ceremony.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:04PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Dropped off the package today. I was delayed by a few rain showers; wanted to let the leaves dry. We need all the water droplets we can get in California.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 5:23PM
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KatyaKatya(6)

Thank you, thank you! This is the first time I actually got people send me leaves so we'll see how well it works and hopefully I can get back and literally order them from you in the future, if you don't mind.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:07PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

I'm the one with the shrub-sized bay, so there is a limited amount to send, unfortunately. I like the fresh leaves for cooking, but since I don't use a lot of them, I potted the plant and tried to keep it small. It is a tough plant; hiding the a/c unit and laughing at the heat. My neighbor uses a lot of bay leaves, and I give her some throughout the year. If I had the room, I would plant the thing in the ground and let it get large enough to provide for everyone. :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 1:46AM
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KatyaKatya(6)

Dear friends who responded here - I am mostly addressing Gyr falcon and Calistoga! ! It is spring and I am starting to look for bay leaves again. What you sent me some last year worked perfectly, I hope you got what I sent back? Anyway, I am going to try and locate anybody with a bay tree, whether noble bay or Oregon one, again. Which means I will start new threads re-posting this old message, I hope nobody minds. And I will send individual messages, I hope you don't mind repeated messages again. Thank you. Katya.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2015 at 8:45AM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Hi Katya. glad they worked for you. Just let me know if, and when, you would like me to send some again this year.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 10:08AM
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