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Green Thumbs, Successsful Businesses On Display At Conference

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Herbs

Basil harvested at City Farm is packaged for delivery on September 30, 2011 in Chicago. City Farm is a non-profit venture that raises produce on a one-acre tract of land in the neighborhood once dominated by the Cabrini-Green housing complex. The food raised at the farm is sold to many high-end restaurants, at a nearby farmer’s market and to the public from the farm. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A downstate woman has turned a hobby into the sweet smell of success.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, at the just-concluded Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield, Cynthia Simpson explained how she is growing herbs for fun and a little profit.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

“I like to garden, and I wanted to grow one type of thing, so I thought herbs were something manageable, and I could learn a lot about it,” Simpson said. “I sell them fresh – I sell plants, and then I sell dried herbs for culinary use, and right now moreso for personal use or for your pets.”

Simpson, of the Sangamon County town of Pleasant Plains, is the woner of “Crystal City Herbal Products.” Her inventory includes lavender spray and catnip.

While Simpson’s hobby takes her to Springfield-area farmers’ markets, Ted Biernacki lives a lifetime passion. He has owned Ted’s Greenhouse in Tinley Park for 65 years.

Biernacki says he has worked hard enough to be able to ride out some of the difficult economic times.

Lately, he has branched out into cacti and succulents, and says one difference between now and when he started is in the poinsettia; in the 1940s, there were three kinds. Now there are too many to count.

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