On our certified organic farm, we consider our USDA organic certificate to be the starting point of our stewardship practices, not the end. We aim for a high degree of diversity, including polyculture plantings, cover cropping, hedge rows, and crop rotation. Using these methods of farming that enhance biotic diversity and build healthy soils, we grow vibrant and robustly healthy plants, season after season. We see farming and land stewardship as a constant evolution of learning and development. There is no end-goal, only a slow and steady process of improvement.
Wildcrafting is the harvesting of wild plants from wild ecosystems. We think much responsibility comes with this practice, as taking too much of a particular species could lead to ecosystem disruption or have other detrimental ramifications that we may or may not understand. With this in mind, we diligently scout our wildcrafted herbs to find them in healthy abundance, where we can feel good about taking some plants. We always take only a small percentage of the plants in any given area, and strive to leave the area looking as it was before our arrival. Our wildcrafting is done in the beautiful and pristine Okanogan National Forest, which covers nearly 1.5 million acres, surrounding the Methow valley and comprising much of the North-Eastern Cascades. It is wonderful to harvest from areas within this forest that host bountiful stands of medicinal herbs. We receive permits from the Forest Service to remove limited amounts of product on an annual basis. The Forest Service works in conjunction with a staff botanist to ensure the species and locations of wild harvested plants is appropriate and sustainable. We harvest from areas in which the wild crop is well established, abundant and healthy. We have found that this leads to a win-win scenario, in which we can choose healthy and vibrant plants that will yield optimal medicine, while taking only a tiny fraction of plants within the area of harvest. With only one or two people harvesting by hand on these wild lands, we’re sure our impact is minimal and sustainable. Our goal is for our presence to be unnoticeable.