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So, What’s In a Name? It is widely held that “Ossabaw” is a corruption of a Creek Indian word that loosely translates to “land of holly” or “holly bush growing place”. This refers to the Yaupon Holly that grows abundantly across the island. Now you know why we incorporated the sprig of Yaupon on our new website.

For thousands of years the early indigenous people of North America spoke a variety of different languages based on a handful of different “linguistic stocks”. Of these “stocks”, Muskegon, was the basis for some of the languages spoken in what is now the southeastern United States, including the language of the historic Creek Indians of coastal Georgia.

For over 200 years, beginning in the early 1500’s, Spain, France and ultimately England explored the region and interacted with the locals. The translating of local dialects by this variety of early explorers led to many different spellings of local place names. Ossabaw has historically been recorded as “Osbo”, “Hoospa” and “Osspo”.

How to make Yaupon Tea:

Makes 4 cups

3 TBS roasted yaupon leaves (see below)

1 quart of water

Maple syrup to taste

To roast leaves: Remove leaves from twigs, spread on cookie sheets and bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, until dry and crumbly.

To make tea: Bring water to a boil. Add roasted holly leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter and sweeten to taste.

Make it Chai by adding several ginger root slices, cardamon pod or cinnamon stick while it is steeping.

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Why is the Holly Sprig here?