Plants & Farm StoriesFeb 2, 2022
Root values: The lessons we’ve learned from growing our own herbs
Our co-founders, Sara Katz and Ed Smith knew they would eventually become herb farmers. It was inevitable — we are Herb Pharm, after all, and the double play on that second word is intentional. When they first moved to southern Oregon to start the company, they planted Comfrey in their garden, which was used in the Herb Pharm Original Salve™. After that, for about 15 years, they farmed on 1.7 acres, which was more than enough land to meet demand back then. As Herb Pharm grew by leaps and bounds, they knew their modest parcel, which felt more like a large garden than a farm, would no longer be sufficient.
Years before our growth spurt, Ed and Sara used to ride their bikes through the rolling hills outside Williams, Oregon. They would often rest at the top of one particularly steep hill. A fence opened up to a picturesque property. The pair would gaze out at the land and talk about how nice it would be if they could afford such a place.
But back then, it was a pipe dream, so they kept tending their small plot. It was plenty. Then, just as our growth spurt started, Sara and Ed heard their dream property was available. It was a leap of faith, they said, but it paid off.
Sara, Ed and their farm team had a lot to learn back then. In fact, their first field of Echinacea purpurea didn’t end up meeting our standards. After extensive research and a lot of patience, they learned how to work in balance with nature. Their next Echinacea crop looked much better — and they were officially herb farmers. (Ed even nicknamed our land “the Pharm farm.”)
Today, we still farm that same land. We grow about 65 species of herbs, and we do it the right way, using regenerative organic practices. We also protect native herbs and their habitats, as a United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary.
Hear Sara and Ed share the story of our farm: