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.
How do you grow up to be one?
It’s funny. My career comes out of my college job, not my college degree. I was a History major. To support myself during college, I worked at a natural foods co-op as a Buyer. At one point, I eventually became the Supplement Buyer. So way back in the day, I stocked Herb Pharm products on the shelves of a co-op in my home state of Indiana.
I eventually went on to buy for multiple departments until I moved to Oregon and started working for another co-op, furthering my experience in the natural foods industry. I’ve been a buyer for over 10 years now. Working with natural foods introduced me to concepts of organic production, issues around GMOs, allergens, natural ingredients and the importance of supporting local and small farmers. And in my personal life, I’ve always had an interest in herbs. When I moved to Oregon, I became involved in organizing a major herbal conference that introduced me to the local herbal community. Then one day I saw this position at Herb Pharm. And suddenly there was a nice intersection between my work experience and my personal interests that just fit.
What’s cool about your job?
Wow. Depends on the day of the week. Here are two things. I like farmers. I work with growers and wildcrafters from across the U.S. and around the world. I talk to a wide range of folks. And I have a deep respect for the work they do. Second, I like plants. They’re amazing. I learn new things all the time. How to harvest this type of herb. How to know where to look for that type of herb. It’s fun and challenging at the same time.
What are 3 herbs would you recommend?
That’s hard. A better question might be what three herbs are on my desk right now. And the answer to that is: Rhodiola and Schisandra extracts. I always like to have a bottle of our Calendula Succus at home too.