Tag Archives: rogue valley farms

On Squishin’ Roses

7 Jun

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Yea, well.  I declared sabbatical.  And I called the manager of the farmers market to tell her.  And I couldn’t.  I didn’t.  Instead I told her I’d start May 18.  And I did.  

In two weeks, I pulled it all together.  I made some big changes.  I stopped brewing chai and elixirs for cafes until I have a better kitchen space.  This really freed up my energy to focus on all the stuff I’ve been wanting to bring forward. Namely, the Farm Directs: teas, dried fruits, herbal soaking blends and Metal Herbals. I am really freaking excited about this product line, new things in the works, the alliances building with cafes to serve the loose teas, local stores that want to sell the products and the tremendous reception I’ve received at market this season!  I’m in full swing with this Uber Herbal thing and I’m LOVING it!  Check out our current offerings here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/UberHerbal!

This crazy stuff is Gulkand, also known as Rose Squish.  It’s a solar powered version of rose petal jam.  Layers of rose petals and organic coconut palm sugar in a jar, set in the sun everyday for 6 weeks.  I’ve got several batches going and am 3 weeks in on batch one.  I will go further into this process in another blog, just had to share the beginnings with ya’ll now.

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Here is a link with info about the health benefits: http://ayurveda-foryou.com/archive/gulkand.html.  These pink petals are wild roses.  The red ones are from roses here on the farm.  And here is a picture of my fingers last night after harvesting rose petals for a few hours.  

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I am obsessed with roses right now.  In addition to the Gulkand I have been making herbal soaking blends with plants from the farm, packing them in cute little cloth teabags for instant enjoyment.  Roses are, of course, one of the main ingredients.  I have also been making Metal Herbals.  They are hearts made from recycled screen, hand sewn with copper and filled with roses and other flowers.  This one has a streak of marigold.  I started making them in 2012 because so many of my loved ones were hella challenged in their lives: break ups, loss, trauma…. and I wanted to offer something tangible to them as they lived with and worked with their grief.  The Metal Herbals emerged from this desire.  I feel they serve as a beautiful representation of beauty and pain.  The roses bite when I pick them and the screen bites when I work it, so both things demand my presence, care and intention. I think they are a perfect gift of love and support for someone “going through it.”  I also think they have the ability to be pretty darn romantic as well.

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The harvest season for roses is drawing to a close here.  A good thing because so many other plants are nearly ready!  Next up, sour cherries and from them our second annual production of Sinatra’s Secret: Sour Cherry Power Elixir.  Which really is as exciting as it sounds!  Till next time I leave you with a photo of us today, heading out to the field to plant our family garden.  In Joy Friends!

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The Depth of Winter and A Year on This Farm

11 Jan

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We have been on the farm ten months now.  i’ve been diggin’ my self into this place with deep roots.  Maybe because it is a farm.  Maybe because that is what I know.  

My transition from 2012 into 2013 has been wild and bumpy and real deal.  On December 3, I turned 41.  On December 4, driving home from Ashland on a very wet night, I crashed my car on the I-5.  The car spun in circles on the highway, bounced off the concrete median and came to rest on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic.  I walked away in one piece.  A sweet friend rescued me from the side of the road in Medford, offering me safe haven till morning.  The owner of the farm where I live owns a body shop in town.  He straightened out the frame, put on a new door, banged out the worst of the dents, covered them nicely with a new bumper and got us back on the road.

When we were picking up the car, our landlord said, “You guys thinking about another year out there?”  We answered affirmative and he said, “Well, we want to do a walk through and make sure we still want you there.”  A totally reasonable thing that shook me to remember that life is changeable and that what I think I’m doing is such a small part of this whole shebang.  

So while I was laying low with whiplash wounding and astonishment, my partner D was raking and pruning and burning, working so hard on the land!  Getting wood for our fires, dealing with infrastructural blow outs and broken limbs in the trees and baby sheep born in snowstorms.  Non stop action and full on craziness (also called farming). 

And we’ve both been thinking about the year we’ve had here.  About the hard work that farming is.  About what else we could do and where else we would go.  About the future of this farm, the future of ourselves, the future of our family.  And we’ve been processing this very deep stuff to the best of our ability.  Compost is indescribable gorgeousness.  The process is messy and it takes a long time to really break things down.

We are not one of those families that romantic love created.  When I was pregnant, we had opposing ideas about where to go with that.  He did not want anything to do with having a family, so he took off.  With time he turned around.  So we’ve slowly tiptoed into this very sweet family, built backwards but with conscious effort.  When we moved to the farm last February, it was BE’s third birthday and our first time living under the same roof.

So 2012 recap: 1. Move to farm an hour away from our familiars.  2. Move in together for the first time.  2. Integrate farm into a very new tea company and attempt very fast growth. 4. Two adults with a toddler establish farm infrastructure, plant, maintain, harvest, process & sell the foods we grow, get a bunch of animals: chickens, ducks, sheep & two big farm dogs. 5. Experience steep learning curves with all of the above.

Which brings us back to now.  And the walk through with the land owners.  Which really was no sweat.  We care for this place, they can see that and they are grateful for it.

2012 was completely experimental!  All we did was “test the waters”. Then came December filled with slowness, reflection and assessment.  I truly felt like a little seed in the dark ground pushing, pushing, PUSHING at my container, seeking the paths of least resistance.  OUT!  And now I’ve got some wiggle room and I feel empowered because by looking deeply at possibility, I am actively choosing my reality.

So it looks like we are staying another year.  And as we set intentions for that, I am sitting on the 5 year plan, just waiting for it to hatch.  And it comes through so clear that I’ll speak it here.  I want to dig my roots into this farm and to blossom some goodness in Grant’s Pass.  I’m dreaming a retail space downtown: licensed kitchen, seasonal elixir bar, regional foods market.  Here I will sell my products and other fresh, incredible, regional goodies and the freshest veggies ever. Here I will build a bomb diggity old west style bar serving tea and then some: Heartsong Chai, Habanero Honey Brew, Turmeric Kombucha, Cold pressed coffee drinks, seasonal immune boosting tonics and more.  I am formulating a business plan in my head.  I (think I) am staying grounded in reality while dreaming big. I am allowing visions for the future flow through and I am feeling entrepreneurally creative again. The lessons of Heartsong’s fiery crash I keep close in heart and I am working with the fears that naturally rise up from there. I’ve been calling this storefront, Fresh.  I see it so beautifully and clearly.  Tens of thousands of miracles will have to occur in near perfect unison for this seed to blossom fully.  Regardless, it is a seed I cherish.  One that I will nurture.  I speak to it now to give it life.  Whispers of encouragement as this sprout begins its dark journey through the dirt and toward the light are most welcome.

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