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, 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”

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.”

How I Come Up With new herbal formulas

If you’ve ever taken an herbal blend, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s in this mixture? Why did they pick these herbs? Why not another herb or that one I saw on TV last week?”

In a couple days, I’ll be launching a new set of products with my friends at Herb Pharm. Before the products appear on shelves and Amazon, let’s take a minute to talk about how we got here.

So if you’re wondering, here’s how I formulate an herbal mixture. Continue reading “How I Come Up With new herbal formulas”

Life at Herb Pharm – June 9

Life at Herb Pharm is a photo blog series with photos of the herbs and people that make Herb Pharm great.

Boi, Dana and Sabrina are harvesting Meadowsweet, which thrives in the moist conditions near the river on our farm. We hand select the best leaves in spring and return for the sweet-smelling flowers of early summer. Meadowsweet can be used to soothe minor pain*, and aspirin precursors were derived from this species.

Boi, Dana and Sabrina harvesting Meadowsweet.

To assist with the hard work of hand planting, we rely on our mechanical transplanter to save us some of the bending and kneeling. Here we’re at work planting Echinacea. We’ll let the plants grow for three years then harvest the roots in fall 2017. Echinacea is great for immune system support*.

Harvest team using the mechanical transplanter to plant Echinacea seeds.

Here’s our farm team, harvesting Stinging Nettle leaf by hand for fresh extraction. Stinging Nettle is most frequently used for respiratory system support*. Nettles grow abundantly in the cool, wet spring months here in the Pacific Northwest.

Farm team harvesting Stinging Nettle.

The California Poppies are in full bloom, and Luna can’t help but admire them. Their vibrant orange petals and pollen lend beauty to the farm. Can you pronounce their Latin name, Eschscholzia californica?

Luna admiring the California Poppies in the harvest truck.

Our harvest truck is filled with Celandine. A member of the poppy family, its tender tops exude an orange sap when broken. We wait until this hardy perennial fully blooms in May before we dig up the entire plant.

Celandine in the harvest truck.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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