Farm Stories

  • North American Rhodiola from Mountain Rose Herbs

Herb Stories: North American Rhodiola Root

Mountain Rose Herbs is very proud to offer our new North American Rhodiola Root. One of the few cultivated varieties in the world, our Rhodiola Root is grown and tended in soil free from chemicals and pesticides and is in accordance with the Good Agricultural and Collection Practice for Herbal Raw Materials (GACP). The GACP ensures herbal raw material will be correctly identified, non-adulterated, has accurate representation regarding the quality of the product, and is sustainably harvested. This North American Rhodiola Root has complete lifecycle traceability, meaning every crop is entirely documented from seedling to harvested root including accurate identity. This practice ensures quality and provides assurance that the material provided to our customers will only be Rhodiola rosea and grown to GACP standards. Rhodiola rosea is the species of Rhodiola that people use for its value as an adaptogen by promoting healthy response to stress and adrenal functioning.* The action of an […]

  • The Future of Maca in Peru

Herb Stories: The Future of Maca

You may have heard rumblings in the news about an anticipated shortage of maca. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable that grows in the high altitude regions of Peru and has been used for food and medicine for over 4,000 years. Its popularity has been expanding worldwide, but recently, a huge increase in maca’s popularity in China has caused a buying frenzy and the future availability of this well-loved plant is precarious. According to news reports, the Peruvian government is aware of this issue, but has been unable to stop the incredible influx of buyers. Many are buying up any and all maca available, cutting off previous supplies and established markets, and then selling the maca at a higher price as the demand grows. Some are also adulterating the herb with less expensive filler, decreasing the quality of the product on the market. The rest of the world really started to see the effects of […]

Farm Stories: Harvesting Roots in the Pacific Northwest

Domestic herb farms, especially in the Pacific Northwest, produce a multitude of organic crops with harvests planned for various portions of a plant.  Echinacea, Dandelion, and Marshmallow are just a few examples of plants where aerial parts and roots are harvested.  Final cutting of the aerial portion often runs late into September and overlaps with the root harvest.  This transition is as dramatic as the season change.  A good farmer had better be ready because they are up against the clock more than ever. Easier said than done when you have little or no downtime to prepare! With climate change making weather increasingly unpredictable, advanced preparation is the one thing a farmer has control over.  Having spare parts on hand, workers committed, fuel tanks full, root washer prepped, drying facility sanitized, and tractors ready to roll is paramount no matter the acreage or farm size.     Experience is what gives you […]

  • Wild Carrot Herbal Tour - Mountain Rose Herbs

Inside Wild Carrot Herbals

In the far Northeastern reaches of Oregon, tucked quietly away beneath a mountain range and a lake cut away by ancient glaciers, a family run herbal business calls this remote landscape home. Wild Carrot Herbals has been making its high quality herbal goodies for 14 years and just recently transitioned from their Salem area home base to the wild side of the state, settling in Enterprise, Oregon. Jody Berry is the founder and creator of Wild Carrot’s well-loved blends and runs the business with her family and seven employees. Jody welcomed Mountain Rose Herbs to visit and take a tour behind the scenes of her small herbal business.     On a very brisk October, we made the beautiful drive through canyons and golden farm lands to the base of the Wallowa Mountains just south of Joseph, Oregon and Wallowa Lake. We took Main Street and drove down the […]

  • Horizon Herbs

Planting Herb Seeds in the Fall: A Visit to Horizon Herbs

The Mountain Rose Herbs’ procurement team pulled into a long driveway, following the handpainted signs of flowers pointing the way to park. We stepped out into the warm mid-morning air of Southern Oregon, smelling the smoky undertones of nearby wildfires. As our car doors opened, a flock of birds flushed out of a happy feeding frenzy; sparrows, juncos, and other small song birds were only mildly disturbed from the meal of seeds and small red berries. A wonderful herbal garden sat before us laden with their fruits of early fall. We made our way down the driveway on foot and noticed small crops of plants scattered throughout an open area. Just ahead of us sat a large greenhouse and an outdoor shade cloth shelter harboring an incredible assortment of potted plants. Halfway up the drive, we were warmly greeted by the owner of this plant paradise carrying his sweet […]

Summer's Bounty on the Farm

“It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.” – BC Forbes     The seasons have once again turned and here we stand in “summer’s green” as Shakespeare so eloquently described the bounty of crops. Our Northwest farms are spending long and hot days harvesting, drying, and milling the herbs that will eventually become our delicious organic teas and herbal medicines. I absolutely love visiting farms this time of year. The crops have reached the stage of harvest and stand full of life, beauty, and color in the fields. It is mesmerizing to look down the field rows neatly lined and extending to the horizon.     The success and bounty of these crops lie in the hands of the farmers who tend them – care that begins even before the seed is planted. Growing medicinal plants is an […]

The Sunday Steep!

The garden harvest is waning. While there are still some pumpkins, winter squashes, and tomatoes producing, the rest of the garden is drying up and putting energy into producing seeds. The fruit trees in our back yard are laden with apples, figs, and persimmons, and soon will start losing their browning leaves. There’s a little bit of sadness in the harvest season, but there’s also satisfaction in the abundance of another growing season. This morning’s tea recipe celebrates some of the flavors and nutrients grown and harvested in gardens all over! Harvest Tea 1 teaspoon organic Alfalfa Leaf 1 teaspoon organic Artichoke Leaf 1 teaspoon organic Barberries 1 teaspoon organic Blackberry Leaf 1 teaspoon organic Sunflower Petals 1 teaspoon organic Hyssop Place all the herbs in a tea infuser, nest, strainer, or bag. Pour 1-2 cups boiling water over and let steep for 3-4 minutes. Feel free to add honey, […]

Guide to Saving Herb Seeds!

While I have been a gardener for nearly thirty years, only recently have I begun saving seeds from my garden with any seriousness. It always seemed a bit daunting and mysterious, and for many years I didn’t think much about where the seeds came from. I simply bought seeds. Period. Then, I started getting seeds from other gardeners and began to learn more about harvesting, storing, and sharing seeds. There are some great reasons to save seeds from your garden plants! Not only can it save money, but the seeds harvested from your strongest plants are already acclimated to your soil, climate, and growing conditions. The plants become conditioned and the “offspring” have a leg up (so to speak). I still consider myself somewhat of a beginner, but as each year passes, my confidence grows and I learn more about the best time to collect seeds, as well as new ways […]

Photo Thursday!

Jennifer Gerrity, our Executive Director of Operations, returned a few weeks ago from the Ginseng Summit hosted by the United Plant Savers with these gorgeous sustainably grown ginseng roots to share, as well as inspirations for supporting and protecting this important wild medicinal well into the future. Learn more about how you can play a part here!  

Propagating Promise at the Native Plant Nursery

Anna Bradley is our Domestic Farms Representative and is a member of our Green Team!  In her spare time she is an herbalist, a teacher of nature connection and primitive skills to children and adults, and a singer/songwriter.  Anna is a student of Columbine’s School of Botanical Studies and co-founder of Whole Earth Nature School.     Warm weather and spring showers have swept the Willamette Valley here in Oregon and that means volunteer season is underway! With the help of Alyssa, our Director of Sustainability, we partner with non-profits and get our hands dirty through the Mountain Rose River Project! This month, a crew of employees ventured out to support our local Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah’s Native Plant Nursery. We jumped at the chance to check out the two plant plots that we’re sponsoring – Trillium and Yarrow! Upon arrival at the Native Plant Nursery […]

Growing Our Relationships with Farms and Farmers

While we love working with our international farms, growing herb plants closer to home here in North America is also good for the quality of our herbs and spices. It is definitely good for North American farmers, benefits the environment (by using less fossil fuels to transport herbs), and creates and sustains jobs here at home. In Europe, herbal plant horticulture has been a large and encouraged part of the agricultural traditions for millennia. European “Farm Bills,” agricultural colleges, and extension services support the production and management of European traditional herbal medicines. Historically, we do not have that same support in North America. Our agriculture has been geared towards increasing the size of farms and decreasing the variety of plants to encourage giant monocultures of staple grains and beans. Even though there has been an increase in farmers who are interested in growing medicinal plants since the 1970s, there is […]

Farm Stories: Appalachian Tour

I was driving along the Nantahala in late fall. The fog was thick, muting the sunset mauve colors of Oaks and Maples as they shed their leaves to prepare for the cold months. When I’d stopped for a walk I could pick out the lingering Sassafras leaves, grey panicles of the Hydrangea, and mammoth Muscadine vines growing towards the canopy. I spotted the barren branches and glowing fruit of the wild Persimmons, one of my favorite wild fruits. After a few moments of rooting around under the tree I was back on the road with a few fistfuls of the most ripe fruit I could find. I grew up in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  The mountains and valleys of our eastern deciduous forests are rich in some of our most valued botanicals. Plants like goldenseal, ginseng, black cohosh, and many others have played important ecological roles in our forests […]