Farm Stories

  • Farm Stories: North American Grown Calendula

Farm Stories: North American Grown Calendula

Check out our gorgeous new North American Grown Calendula Flowers in the shop! Several North American farms located up and down the West Coast have been rearing their own varieties of calendula for many years if not decades. The common goal was to produce a product that is not only vibrant in color with amazing visual properties, but also to increase the resin content within the flowers. High resin producing plants make more potent medicine and allow herbalists to stretch their limited supply a little further when making oil infusions and extracts. The process of developing a variety isn’t just about waiting until the flowers have matured and saving as much seed as possible. Vigilant observation is required to select the most desirable attributes from an entire field. With vegetable crops, attention is paid to the biggest yielding, most perfectly shaped and textured, or the tastiest individuals, and only those select few plants are chosen as seed stock for […]

  • Farm Stories: Medicinal Herbs of Appalachia

Farm Stories: Herbs of Appalachia

We find ourselves deep in the heart of Appalachia, a land rich in botanical diversity and steeped in herbal tradition. The people and plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina welcome us with their hospitality and eclectic nature. The purpose of our visit to the oldest mountains in the world was to learn more about the botanicals we source from this region. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Stone Root (Collinsonia canadensis) are just a few of the many plants from this area offered by Mountain Rose Herbs. As much time as we spend researching these plants, we know that "boots on the ground" exploration supersedes all other forms of information gathering. There is nothing like sharing a real connection, plant to person, for learning from these beings.      These prized native plants have been harvested by the people of this region for generations and their uses have […]

  • Mountain Rose Herbs: Northwest Summer Crop Report

Farm Stories: Northwest Summer Crop Report

With summer now over, I can say with certainty that it was a really hot year and that the heat had an effect on crops for better or for worse. Farms with plenty of irrigation fared quite well. Native species with plentiful wild populations might be in for several weeks of zero rainfall, but most are adapted to drought conditions. Crops like Basil and Cilantro that bolt into flowering stage as soon as the temperatures reach the high 90s didn’t put on much growth, but the quality looks and smells great. Others such as Mint and Oregano are faster growing and carry more potent essential oil from that prolonged summer heat. Workers start out to the fields at the crack of dawn, kick off their boots for a siesta in the afternoon shade, and finish irrigation chores in the evening. Everyone is using water very wisely and keenly aware that our most precious resource is indeed finite.     In water scarce climates, […]

  • Free Catalog: Mountain Rose Herbs

Our New Catalog is Here!

Our new catalog for Autumn 2015/Winter 2016 has arrived! Conifers, fragrant roots, citrus, and spices perfume the breezes of fall and winter. With such abundance to celebrate, we're crafting gifts for loved ones and making medicine from this year’s bounty. We’re also ruminating on the connections that create community, the importance of shared traditions, and stewardship of the precious green beings that provide us with so much nourishment and healing. Our new catalog offers unique homemade gift ideas, herbal profiles, sustainability news, and specially curated botanical products that we hope you'll love.  As always, we print on post-consumer waste paper with eco-friendly inks so you can recycle the cover and compost the rest, although we hope you’ll keep it around for a bit or share it with a friend. You can also view the catalog online by clicking here! Want a FREE copy all for yourself? Request a new catalog here!

  • Farm Stories: Organic Fields of Mint

Farm Stories: Organic Fields of Mint

Standing in an ocean of mint with wind rippling through the leaves feels like being in a dream world.  Bright aromas from the organic peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) fields are as intense as the summer heat. With nary a weed in sight, this farm is truly impressive. Organic farming usually entails weeds, but not with a second year mint crop that has been meticulously hand weeded.  As our pickup crests a hill, the freshly cut windrows that have been laid to dry in the sun come into view. A commotion of soil rises farther in the distance as combine tractors steadily lift the dry row up into the machine where leaf is separated from stem. This is the most mechanically advanced farm equipment in existence, with a price tag larger than most people’s homes, so they better perform well. A breakdown could cost the farmer precious time that can never be bought back. […]

  • Farm Stories: Sourcing Herbs in Egypt

Farm Stories: Sourcing Egyptian Herbs

Egypt stands alone as the primary producer of core medical crops to serve the world market. Demand for these medicinal and aromatic plants has only increased since ancient times and Egypt has a long and rich history of export and trade stemming back thousands of years. The fertile Nile River Valley is the birthplace for precious resinous plants that grow nowhere else in the world. The hot African sun brings out the essential oils and healing properties of these incredible plants.  The main crops grown in Egypt are a refined and unwavering line of essentials. We don't find fringe or esoteric plants here…but only those evolved through thousands of generations of heirloom cultivation to thrive in this arid desert climate. Mountain Rose Herbs relies on Egypt for crops such as organic spice oil seeds like cumin, coriander, fennel, caraway, and anise. Flower crops such as hibiscus, chamomile, and calendula also thrive here, along with flavorful leaves […]

  • Cultivating Our Medicinal Plants

Farm Stories: Cultivation of Apiaceae Plants

In the realm of herbal products, there are many wild plant species subject to overharvest, misidentification, contamination of other harmful species, and a host of quality control issues. To alleviate some of these problems, Mountain Rose Herbs invested in cultivation projects of certain problem products. Sometime during the 1970s, herbal industry pioneers collected Echinacea purpurea seeds from wild populations and painstaking efforts were made to cultivate and hand collect every last seed. It took a number of years before enough seed was being produced to grow a substantial crop. Over the following few decades, work with varietal selection and plant breeding was preformed to improve genetics, constituent levels, and yields. This idea of domesticating and improving plants is something that humans have been doing since the advent of agriculture. Bringing a wild species into cultivation might sound easy – simply find the seed and plant a field, right? Specialty seed companies like Horizon Herbs might have the […]

  • Non-GMO Project Verified - Mountain Rose Herbs

We are Non-GMO Project Verified!

We are so excited to announce that we've been working with the Non-GMO Project to verify a selection of our products! These ingredients have been chosen specifically because they're produced from plant crops that are known to be at risk of GMO contamination. Thankfully, most of the herbs and spices we all use for food and medicine are not in danger of industrial genetic modification at this time, so organic certification is our go-to for ensuring that our herbal goodies are grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, GMO seed stock, or irradiation. Taking this commitment one step further, we listened to the herbal community's concerns and verified the following products through the Non-GMO Project. We'll be working toward adding more products to this list in the future, so check back on our website soon!       Non-GMO Project Verified  Organic Barley Grass Powder Organic Beet Root Powder Organic Broccoli Sprouting Seed Organic Cocoa Butter Organic […]

  • American Ginseng - Certified Forest Grown - Organic from Mountain Rose Herbs

New in the Shop: Certified Forest Grown Ginseng

The heart of herbalism beats in Appalachia.  Growing wild in these forested mountains is a root so valuable that decades of poaching and habitat loss has left it in dire need of our help. Protecting the wild is now in your hands. We are so proud to offer the first ever Certified Forest Grown American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). This new project brings us certified organic ginseng roots that were grown in their native ecosystem – the forested mountains of Appalachia. The plants are tended under the shade of the forest canopy, not shade cloth, allowing them to remain connected to their natural habitat. After 7 years of growth, the roots are sustainably harvested from these private forests by farmers who are dedicated to preserving this important medicinal plant. We believe that supporting this new certified forest grown movement can change the culture of ginseng, transforming the epidemic of black market poaching into […]

Farm Stories: A Look at Root Harvesting Techniques

The life of a root is born from its seed into an environment teeming with microbiology, loaded with organic matter, and abounding with nutrients. That soil protects it from the elements while a caretaker sporting rubber boots delivers precious water throughout the summer. To reach maturity it may be a season or two of dormancy followed by vibrancy. A root is the sole contributor to the lush foliage which is its only connection to the outside world, the photosynthetic life-force.  One of my earliest memories on my family’s farm was picking Echinacea purpurea roots out of a field with a dusting of snow. My siblings and I worked alongside workers and a handful of neighbors who turned up to help us “save” the harvest before winter truly set in. The financial significance of that harvest was immense. Being so young at the time, I only now understand how stressful that must have been for the adults. If […]

  • How to Grow an Herb Garden

Growing a Medicinal Herb Garden: How to Start Seeds

Starting herbs from seed can seem a little daunting! While we may be used to starting some summer vegetables in the window sill, the idea of starting yarrow, lavender or arnica plants from seed may seem a little mysterious. It doesn’t have to be. Like other plants, you just need to give them what they need and soon you will have a garden overflowing with all your favorite medicinal and aromatic friends! It helps to know a little bit about how the plants grow in their natural environment, as this will guide the seed propagation. Some seeds need cold to germinate while others crave some warmth and luxury. Some plants, like Catnip, like to be planted where they are to grow and they are happiest planted directly into the ground or garden bed.     Starting Seeds Indoors Choose a growing medium. Many experts recommend using a soil-less compost or potting […]

  • Plant Stories: Harvesting Damiana in Mexico

Plant Stories: Harvesting Damiana in Mexico

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a plant native to Mexico and other parts of Latin America that has been a popular medicinal and widely used where it grows wild. In recent years, this herb has gained considerable popularity in the US, Europe, and abroad as a tea, smoking herb, and tincture thanks to its calming and love inspiring properties.  When any plant collected in the wild becomes as popular as Damiana has, all of us at Mountain Rose Herbs start discussions about the potential threat of over-harvesting and the conditions under which the plant is being collected. So, with these concerns in mind, I traveled to Mexico to investigate the impact of this increasing demand and to visit our certified organic Damiana leaf supplier.     First, a little background about Damiana and its traditional uses in Mexico. Damiana grows in the semiarid high elevation (typically mountainous) regions of Mexico. As with most herbs, one region might host a slightly different variety or produce a slightly different […]