9 ways we get the farm ready

Matt opens the barn doors ahead of a long growing season.

Late February is always a busy time around here. It’s still winter in southern Oregon. That means cool temperatures, especially in the mornings. And before Spring arrives, this is the time to welcome back our farm crew and ready our Certified Organic farm for the long growing season ahead.

Here’s a short list of what we do during our farm’s opening week. Continue reading “9 ways we get the farm ready”

4 questions with Cassandra our herb buyer

Cassandra is both an herbalist and an herb buyer

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”

5 questions with Dagmar the Technical Affairs Manager

5 questions with Dagmar

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”

How we find it: St. John’s Wort

At Herb Pharm, we use St. John’s Wort flowering tops, responsibly 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. Responsibly 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 Tonic, Trauma Oil, Inflamma Response, Virattack, Soothing Throat Spray, 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”

Building Healthy Soil Communities: Evaluating Soil Texture

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”

Smells delightful. Tastes bitter. Let’s break it down.

Think of a time when you could smell home cooking from another room. The aromas drifting out of the kitchen. The scent of simmering garlic maybe, or of herbs like Rosemary and Thyme. The promise of a warm, delicious meal prepared with love. Picture yourself walking into the kitchen, grabbing a wooden spoon and sneaking a taste. Now imagine a powerful bitter flavor washing over you. A desperate, mouth-puckering, need-a-glass-of-water bitter.

This is Wormwood. Smells delightful. Tastes bitter. Let’s break it down. Continue reading “Smells delightful. Tastes bitter. Let’s break it down.”