Sourcing and purchasing high-quality, organic and sustainable herbs can feel like finding needles in haystacks, though it’s most important when crafting effective herbal tinctures for healthy lifestyles.
Visiting farms, harvesting alongside wildcrafters, or simply getting to know your herb suppliers ensures our herbal products are made with high-quality & safe ingredients. Let’s tour one of WishGarden’s favorite organic domestic farms and look behind the scenes of intentional sourcing!
In Applegate Valley, between the majestic Redwood forest and Grant’s Pass, Pacific Botanicals is an organic regenerative farm that has been growing medicinal plants since 1979. The founder, Mark Wheeler, began growing with “being a good steward of the earth and its resources” in mind. To this day, everyone working at Pacific Botanicals continues to hold those core values and supply high-quality herbs.
Upon arriving at the farm, I drove through a narrow dirt road with large trees to my left and a body of water to my right. Around the corner, I found myself between two barn-like buildings and a large field of lemon balm. Its intoxicating citrus aroma filled the air as farm workers harvested this mint family favorite. I thought to myself, “This is going to be a great day.”
Fields of medicinal flowers and trees cover Pacific Botanical’s farmland, inviting varieties of wildlife and pollinator visitors. Bees and butterflies fluttered across bright pink Echinacea purpurea flowers as Nate Brennan, Purchasing Manager, led the farm tour. When we arrived under several mature Linden trees, he explained how the trees vibrate with bees when their white flowers are in bloom. The flowers were at the end of blooming stages, but I could feel a slight buzz sensation from lingering bees and a sweet floral smell. “We like to leave blooming flowers alone for a week or two before harvesting so that the pollinators can have their turn,” Nate stated. After harvesting plants, the drying process begins within 15-20 minutes to ensure optimal constituents are captured and preserved for storage and shipment.
WishGarden's Sourcing Manager Lauren Nichols and Pacific Botanicals' Purchasing Manager Nate Brennan in a field of lemon balm and echinacea.
Throughout the day, I learned about their unique farming methods and practices. They weed by hand and intentionally plant Avena sativa over red clover to retain soil and build biomass. Most importantly, all farm workers practice ROC, or Regenerative Organic certification, requirements by treating the land’s soil like a living organism.
In addition to Nate’s farm tour, I had the privilege of sitting down with Pacific Botanical’s Agricultural Director, Matt Dybala. He led me through each season on the farm, from starting spring seeds to harvesting fall roots, paying close attention to the dirt where our plant friends thrive. “Every year is different,” Matt says while explaining the beginning of planting season, “Memorial Day kicks off plant season.”
Pacific’s specialized mechanical equipment allows them to plant in straight rows; as the machine opens the soil, the farmer drops the seed or plant into place and then covers it up. This type of efficacity allows several acres per day of planting!
Pacific Botanicals goes beyond its extensive sustainable certification collection and analyzes farm soil through lab testing. They consider that microorganism populations, water holding, protein levels, and nitrogen ultimately affect a plant’s medicinal value and harvest yields. Further, soil health directly affects our health when we make products for consumption from cultivated plants. Pacific Botanical’s biodiverse farm yields potent, highly medicinal herbs, and that’s why WishGarden considers them a top supplier!
Organic Chamomile. Smells so sweet!
Support your Farmer!
Purchasing organically grown herbs has never been as tricky as today. Our food and herb supply chains look much different because we must worry about pesticides, pollution, & bad intentions creeping into our food and supplements. What’s the solution? Support your local organic & regenerative farmers by visiting farmer’s markets, buying local, and purchasing herbal tinctures from companies who can trace their finished product from dirt to shelf responsibly.
Lauren Ann Nichols-Sheffler attended The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism and received her certificate in medical herbalism. She is the owner of Blue Yarrow Herbs aka Herbal Vice, an herbal product company practicing bioregional herbalism by cultivating plants and sourcing locally. Lauren loves educating and advocating for plant sustainability. She is the sourcing and Purchasing manager for WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.