Farm Stories

Beeginners! Giving Bees a Hearty Start with Herbal Bee Tea

We are three weeks into our new adventure as beekeepers.  My amazement every time I peek in the hive, or the saucy pride I feel when I notice some of our bees working away on lavender, kale, and fruit tree blossoms has yet to wear off.  At this point, it is hard to imagine I will ever take these hardworking little honeybees for granted! As a beginner (and I mean brand new, never-before, only-read-a-bunch-of-books novice), my first obsession was simply getting the bees to stay.  I wanted to make sure our home-built hive was as hospitable as possible and that the new bees had everything they needed to get off to a good start. We started by preparing our hive—since we built a Kenyan Top Bar beehive, we needed to make sure that each of the 28 bars was an obvious choice where the bees would know to attach their […]

Why choose Australian Sandalwood essential oil?

Sandalwood essential oil is truly exotic. This pale yellow oil has soft, woody notes that are extremely tenacious and somewhat balsamic. It has a long history in religious ceremonies and rituals, and is prized worldwide for an intoxicating aroma found in the heartwood of the tree. There are many sandalwood oils on the market, so which one should you use? Indian Sandalwood, Santalum album, is traditionally the most widely used sandalwood oil. The popularity of this striking scent has sadly caused over-harvesting of the trees which are now a threatened species. Each tree needs to mature for at least 10 years before they start producing oil and then the whole tree is harvested for production, making it a very resource intensive product.     Australian Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, is widely used by aromatherapists and perfumers as an ecologically responsible alternative to traditional Indian Sandalwood. It is very similar to Indian Sandalwood in aroma and constituents, and […]

Plant a Bee Garden

Our foray into the world of urban beekeeping has me thinking about how to keep our bees busy and well-fed for a nice, long season. We live in a fairly diverse, funky, downtown neighborhood with lots of fruit trees (we have six of our own) and established gardens and we know there are other experienced beekeepers all around us, so we’ve been making our list and taking stock of what we have and what we want more of for the most bee-tabulous garden ever!     We have an average-sized, rectangular city lot in an older part of town. Since there are already honeybees and pollinators in our neighborhood, we are able to build on what we actually saw them visiting last year. I’ve learned that the bees and I are spiritually aligned when it comes to a preference for local native plants and heirlooms—turns out that hybridization has a […]

All About Vanilla!

Check out this fact-packed infographic we made that follows the fascinating and complex story of vanilla bean production. From orchid flower to ice cream, the luscious flavor and aroma of this cured fruit is powerfully enchanting. You’ll also find a few vanilla recipes and how-tos to try with our organic vanilla beans! Click on the picture below to enlarge… 

Travel Journal: Visiting Bulgaria

Elvira Guelzow, our world traveling International Farms Manager, crosses oceans and continents each year to meet with our organic herb farmers and tour their processing facilities. Here are some stories and photos from her exciting trip this September to Hungary and Bulgaria. You can read her first report from the beautiful country of Hungary here! Notes from Bulgaria The last stop of my European farm visit tour took me to beautiful Bulgaria. This country is famous for its rose and lavender essential oil production, and many important medicinal plants grow in its large, undisturbed natural areas. Bordered by the Black Sea to the east, Turkey and Greece to the south, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, Bulgaria has been shaped over the centuries into an important transportation and cultural cross road between Occident and Orient. The first settlements were established by Greeks in the 8th century […]

Travel Journal: Visiting Hungary

Elvira Guelzow, our world traveling International Farms Manager, crosses oceans and continents each year to meet with our organic herb farmers and tour their processing facilities. Here are some stories and photos from her exciting trip last month to Hungary and Bulgaria! This summer I had to exchange my expired passport for a brand new book, and took the occasion to initiate it with a trip abroad. The friendly Eugene airport security lady sent me off with these words, “You put this new passport to good use and go someplace great,” …and I did! I went to Hungary and to Bulgaria to visit with Mountain Rose Herbs’ medicinal herb farms and essential oil distillers. Here is my report from the beautiful country – Hungary!     Hungary is located in Central Europe and is blessed with an ideal growing climate due to its special geographical location. The terrain ranges from flat to gently rolling […]

Photo Thursday!

 Check out this gorgeous marshmallow leaf grown by an organic farm in Eastern Europe! Elvira, our adventuring International Farms Manager, just returned from a trip to Austria, Hungary, and Bulgaria where she visited with several of our farmers and essential oil distilleries. More photos and stories from Elvira’s travels will be posted soon!  

Harvest Time on Our Farms

Mary Woodruff is the Domestic Farms Representative here at Mountain Rose Herbs. She works closely with our small organic farmers and wildcrafters in the US to source, grow, and harvest the most beautifully vibrant herbs here in our own backyard. Mary was raised in Eugene where she also lived and worked on a sustainable off-the-grid farm raising goats, growing fresh produce, canning, and making goat cheese. She’s back from another trip to our organic herb farms, as the harvest season peaks… I just returned from several of our lovely Northwest farms, just hours from our front door! I am still buzzing from being able to wander through acres and acres of vibrant, beautiful, organically grown plants…hold them in my hands and smell their fresh aromas. I also spent time with amazing PEOPLE – the farmers! The sun was shining so we sat on the porch eating chips, salsa, and cheese, talking about increased […]

Photo Thursday!

Mary traveled north last week to visit one of our farms where fields of organic Skullcap, Red Clover, Valerian, and this gorgeous Nettle root await the harvest for next year. Check out the energetic vibrancy in this photo! These crops will surely provide much appreciated and very potent medicine for all of us. We’ll have more delicious farm photos and stories from Mary’s trip coming soon…  

Stories from the Garden!

These stories come to us from the spectacular herb, fruit, and veggie gardens created at home by folks here at Mountain Rose. Plant-lovers prepare to feast your eyes, have a laugh, and maybe shed a tear of sweetness for the tales shared below. Special thanks to our awesome staff members Carol, Peggy, Ashlee, Karla, and Elvira for these wonderful gifts…  . . . . . Carol ~ Director of Human Resources In my Mountain Rose profile, I say that I grow everything from apples to yucca. As there’s too much to name or picture here, I’ll just say that I’m an eclectic gardener growing both food and medicinal plants. I don’t bother with Latin names and I don’t pay attention to soil pH. My partner kindly calls my style “haphazard”. My motto is, “Let’s poke ‘er in the ground and see what happens” ~ which is also what I want on my tombstone!   […]

A Visit to the Clover Seed Farm

Mary Woodruff is the Domestic Farms Representative here at Mountain Rose Herbs. She works closely with our small organic farmers and wildcrafters in the US to source, grow, and harvest the most beautifully vibrant herbs here in our own backyard. Mary was raised in Eugene where she also lived and worked on a sustainable off-the-grid farm raising goats, growing fresh produce, canning, and making goat cheese. She just returned from a trip to our organic clover seed farm with this story to share…    Winding off the freeway, east bound, emerging from concrete into field after field of grass, I roll onto fields of squash surrounded by red and crimson clover going to seed—a different sight from the surrounding fields of tall grass. These seeds will be harvested and brought to Mountain Rose in just a few weeks. This particular area is well known as the best top soil in the United States, close to the […]