Meet Rita Heikenfeld

We are excited to welcome Rita Nader Heikenfeld, CCP, CMH, to Boone County Public Library to share some of her recipes and cooking tips with us! Rita is an award-winning syndicated journalist, accredited modern herbalist, author, cooking teacher, media personality and the founding editor of She writes a syndicated weekly column for Community Press Newspapers and is the Resident Herbalist for Fox 19 Morning Xtra, Natorp’s, Earthineer and Granny’s Garden. Rita is a former adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati where she taught comprehensive herbal studies, and these days you can hear her on Sacred Heart Radio, 740AM. Rita was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame for her work with herbs and natural foods, but she says her most important achievements are being a wife, mom, and grandmom. Rita and her family grow and preserve their own produce and herbs, raise chickens for eggs, and heat with wood they gather themselves.

If you grow herbs like basil, mint, and oregano, and want to learn how to preserve them as well as pick up some new recipes, you’ll want to join Rita at Boone County Public Library, Florence Branch, 7425 US 42 in Florence, on Tuesday, September 27, at 7 p.m. when she shares tips for cooking with herbs and spices.

Rita will also share some of her cooking secrets and demonstrate how to make homemade vitamin water as well as a layered Tuscan salad with mixed greens, herbs and an herbal vinaigrette. There will be samples! Here is a little “taste” of what Rita has to offer:

4 generous cups peeled, sliced or diced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Cinnamon – a sprinkle or two (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Put butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit gently on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

“A cobbler means that the topping, after baking, looks ‘cobbled’ on top. We love this served warm!” –Rita

David Osborne on the Library: Genealogy Help, Local History…

David A. Osborne on the Library: “Staff are very cooperative, very knowledgeable, and assist me in any way that they can.”David Osborne

David A. Osborne remembers a time before the library, “Years ago, we did not have the luxury of going to the library. It took years to get a small library. As the population has increased, the library has stepped up to fulfill needs.”

Mr. Osborne uses the library a little differently than you might expect. He is a regular visitor to the Local History Department and a genealogy enthusiast. “I attended a one-night class at the Florence Library. At that class, I found out about the Local History section at the Main Library in Burlington. Because of that I started coming to Burlington 9 years ago. I was impressed.”

“Burlington has a Local History Department made up of different individuals with different responsibilities. Staff are very cooperative, very knowledgeable, and assist me in any way that they can. When I have difficult issues with genealogy, Kaitlin and Hillary find the resources to help me.”

He credits the Local History staff’s community involvement as a major contributor to its success, “When they employed (Local History Coordinator) Bridget to come aboard, she was very involved with the community. She has always partnered with other organizations to bring programs to the community.”

If the Local History Department isn’t partnering with organizations, community members are gracious enough to volunteer, “It is impressive to see the number of volunteers, almost every day that I come in, transcribing old records and doing other things.”

Mr. Osborne notes the other activities available at the library, “The public has noticed that they need more reading and activities for children. In the summertime, the libraries are busy with reading programs all through the county.”

“I’m grateful that people had the foresight to enhance a major library like we have in the county.”


Kaitlin Barber is a Boone County native with an MA in Public History from NKU, and an MLIS from the University of Alabama. She began her work with Local History at BCPL in 2011, as a digitization intern. She is now a Local History Librarian who is grateful for the opportunity to work with members of the community like David A. Osborne.