Every home cook is only as good as her (or his) kitchen garden. From tangy dill to subtle, gentle lemon balm to rich, distinctive sage, a well-stocked herb garden takes any cook’s recipes from “pretty good” to “wow, how did you do this?!”

May and June is prime herb gardening season. Late spring and early summer herbs are still young and tender enough to be used almost whole and haven’t yet been scorched or dried out by the intense heat of our Alabama summers.

Here are some of my favorite herbs to grow in my kitchen garden, along with my family’s favorite recipe for grilled pork loin that beautifully showcases fresh rosemary and garlic.

Rachel Cowan Webb is a freelance food writer in Anniston. Contact her at rcwebb16@gmail.com. Follow her baking adventures on Instagram @homemade.hip.pies.

Rosemary Grilled Pork Loin

  • Pork loin, around 3 pounds
  • Four 6-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • Two minced garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Chunky sea salt (to taste)
  • Ground mixed peppercorns (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish
  • Optional: sliced apple, spinach, fresh shaved parmesan cheese, walnuts, balsamic vinegar
    Using a long, sharp knife, slice about ⅔ of the way into the pork loin, the same way a hotdog bun is cut open.
    Lay the pork loin open and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Stuff it with the rosemary and garlic. (Spinach, thin-sliced apple and shaved parmesan cheese are also really, really good stuffed in there!) Drizzle with olive oil.
    Close up the pork loin and, using kitchen twine, tie it back into a roll. Sprinkle the outside liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle it with oil.
    Grill the loin over indirect heat for about 30 minutes, rolling it as necessary to cook it evenly.
    Remove from heat, cut the twine and dispose of it. Let the loin rest for about 10 minutes then slice it, removing the tougher rosemary stems.
    Garnish with chives and serve over a salad of fresh mixed greens with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or alongside garlic-y potatoes and grilled veggies (or roasted Brussels!) It’s also really good with a grain like quinoa or farro. Dark beers and pinot noirs pair perfectly with this dinner.
    Note: This also makes amazing leftovers! Slice an apple into rings, lay them in the bottom of a cast iron skillet and lay pork loin slices on top. Cover with fresh spinach and fresh shaved parmesan. Put it in the oven on 300 degrees for about 20 minutes and voila, dinner!