It has been another hot summer as a farmer. This is my 11th season. When I first moved to Oregon in 1996, we could expect one to two weeks of really hot weather during the summer. Now, we anticipate a prolonged one to two months of daily temperatures above 90F. Continue reading “Farmer’s Journal: handling the end of a hot summer”
What exactly is an herb buyer?
I coordinate with our Farm manager on all the herbs we grow ourselves and what our needs will be for the year. Whatever we don’t grow ourselves, I have to find from other suppliers. I manage all the details of getting herb in for production: contracts, forecasts, schedules, transport, and making sure the suppliers meet our quality standards.
Ultimately, for a lot of growers and wildcrafters, I’m the person at Herb Pharm they know. And the one to help sort out any issues that come up. Continue reading “4 questions with Cassandra our herb buyer”
What exactly is a Technical Affairs Manager?
The easiest answer is that I manage technical things like the analytical work in our lab. The longer answer is I create and maintain all sorts of processes for our products. How do we develop them? How do we test them? How do we scale up production? What standards do we need to meet?
How do you grow up to become one?
I was born in East Germany of Jewish descent. My parents escaped then later had us smuggled out. Engineering is in my family. My dad was a mechanical engineer. My brother is an electrical engineering professor back in Germany. And I’m a chemical engineer. I worked in biotech cancer research for a while. But I always loved herbs. I followed Herb Pharm online for years before I applied. Continue reading “5 questions with Dagmar the Technical Affairs Manager”
Try this simple way to get Turmeric into your day
There’s more than one way to get healthy Turmeric into your daily life. Golden Turmeric Honey lets you add a bit of Turmeric to all sorts of meals and drinks. You can even let it star in its own hot beverage.
- 5 ounces raw honey
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) Herb Pharm Turmeric extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup hot water
- Place honey in a small, wide-mouth jar.
- Stir in lemon juice.
- Add Turmeric extract and stir well until it is uniformly mixed.
- Stir 1-2 teaspoons into the hot water until it is fully dissolved.
2 teaspoons of Golden Turmeric Honey (without water) equals approximately one dose (0.7 ml, 1 dropper) of liquid extract. Store Golden Turmeric Honey in a cool, dry place for up to a week.
Meet Chamomile. At Herb Pharm, we grow our own, harvest it by hand and extract much of it fresh the same day it’s picked. Here’s how it works. Continue reading “How we do it: Harvesting Chamomile”
Meet California Poppy, the star of spring harvests. Bright orange flowers emerging from little elf caps.
As the weather warms, California Poppy sheds its little hats and unfurls. Then the flowers open each day and follow the sun across the sky.
At Herb Pharm, we use St. John’s Wort flowering tops, sustainably-wildcrafted from its wild habitat. But what does that mean? And how do people even find St. John’s Wort anyway?
Let’s start with some definitions. Sustainably wildcrafted means we don’t grow the plant on a farm; it’s picked from the wild. And it’s picked in a way that leaves plant populations safe for future generations.
We use a lot of St. John’s Wort. It’s in formulas like Good MoodTM, Nervous System TonicTM, Trauma OilTM, Inflamma ResponseTM, VirattackTM, Soothing Throat SprayTM, and well you get the idea. We need lots of St. John’s Wort every year.
So how do you get St. John’s Wort from the wild?
The easy answer is that we work with talented, dedicated wildcrafters we trust to find the plants, harvest them and deliver them to us each year. For the long answer, we head out into the wilds of Southern Oregon. Here’s what it’s like to commercially wildcraft St. John’s Wort for a single day. Continue reading “How we find it: St. John’s Wort”
Well, it has been a couple weeks since my last farm blog. And writing about farming becomes as linear of a task as everything else that needs to be done on the farm. So, I will have to admit this blog is weather induced…..it’s raining outside.
Sweet spring rain turning into a tumultuous downpour that makes Oregon such a great place to love plants. If you live in Oregon, you know spring is for warm sunshine, sideways rain, hard hail, and a rainbow finale all within a five-minute span. Nature is exhilarating! And it is within these short windows that my long-term tasks are completed for future harvest success.
On our farm, we track seasonal phenology. This is the term for watching our natural cycles in a specific location, to make daily decisions. When making farming decisions, I consider things like average rainfall, mountain snowpack, relative humidity, prevailing winds, day length, sun exposure, and heat units influence each crop cycle. Continue reading “Building Healthy Soil Communities: Evaluating Soil Texture”
My first organic farm mentor used to refer to topsoil as “skin of the Earth.”.And each time this fine layer is broken by plow, nature’s response to heal by covering its wound with a green bandage of plants. This moment of healing becomes an opportunity. A chance for farmers to blend their own mixture of plants into a beneficial poultice.
This is where “cover crops” come in. Both preventative and restorative, cover crops are specific species of plants proven to restore soil fertility. On our farm, I make long-term rotational plantings of cover crops such as alfalfa, rye, clover, oats, buckwheat, vetch and sorghum key components of our fertility program.
But how do cover crops work? Why do they help? And why is topsoil so important anyway?
Skullcap is not a liar. No herb is. But you’re forgiven if you have trust issues with it. Actually, these issues are why we grow it ourselves. So we can keep an eye on it, and make sure it doesn’t get mixed up with bad company. Make sure our Skullcap supply is pure and never adulterated.
You see, Skullcap has a long history of adulteration. For more than 25 years, the American Botanical Council has tracked incidents of dried Skullcap getting sold mixed with a type of Germander. What’s worse, this Germander is considered a liver toxin. As a result, Skullcap has been falsely implicated in liver dysfunction cases.
Clearly, this is unacceptable. So we did something about it.