When Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is ready to harvest, our farm employees and interns head to the fields with buckets and blueberry rakes. These rakes are one way we have learned to innovate on the farm, while still upholding our values.
After seeing the rakes in a seed catalog, someone on our farm team had the idea to modify them and close in the spacing of the teeth, to help with herb harvests. The rakes work perfectly, said Mark Disharoon, our Farm Supervisor, and they changed the way we harvest Chamomile and Oat seed (Avena sativa).
This fragrant harvest takes two to three days — but before we used blueberry rakes, it could take a whole week to harvest fields of Chamomile. Each day, the team works row by row, stripping the flowers off the stems with the rakes.
As each person fills their bucket, they combine them on a clean sheet, then every batch heads to our processing facility to be tested and extracted.
Herb at a glance
Botanical name: Matricaria chamomilla
Common name(s): Chamomile
Plant Family: Asteraceae
Native habitat: Europe and the Middle East
Parts used: flower
Botanical description: flowers that resemble a daisy, with a fringe of white ray petals arranged around a conical center called a receptacle that is made of yellow tubular disk flowers
Use(s): calming support of the nervous system*
Flavor profile: aromatic and bittersweet