The Botanicals Times


Mark’s Herb Update

  What do we really do here at Pacific Botanicals? This is a question that I have to ask myself everyday. The answer seems obvious; we farm. But what kind of farming do we do? Well, herbs of course. But what is our business? In essence our business is helping people. We grow herbs that become medicine. We try to grow them with the highest intention for the best quality possible. We want people to get well. We want them to be healthy. That is why we are certified organic. That is our commitment.
   Health is one of the top subjects on our minds today. I am a baby boomer and maybe you are too. There are tens of millions of us out there and we are thinking about our health. Our conversations more and more are about our health. In this era of pharmaceutical overload, natural medicine as an alternative becomes more and more viable each day. I can’t help but think that medicine that is grown in the clean healthy soil of the Applegate Valley, in the vitamin D rich rays of the sun, with fresh clean air and certified organic conditions, is the best thing to put in our bodies. Why would we want to make medicine, teas, tinctures, salves out of anything less?
   We put so much care into what we do here at Pacific Botanicals. We have been doing this work for over 30 years. There is an energy that you can feel here on the farm; whether it is people packing herbs, planting seed in the greenhouse, creating the images for the catalog, cleaning roots in the washer, plowing the fields, helping customers plan their crops for the year, or taking orders over the phone. It is a soul satisfying feeling. We are more than just a farm.
   One of my ongoing concerns for the herbal medicine supply in the U.S. is that it is corrupted by cheap low quality herbs. These herbs can come from sources that have questionable authenticity and organic status, and/or can be lacking in constituent potency.
   Thirty one years ago some colleagues and I started the Grants Pass Grower’s Market. We wanted people to know the farmer that grew their vegetables. We wanted them to have quality food for their families. We wanted the local farming economy to prosper. It is the same for me today but on a much larger scale. I want you to know the kind of quality that comes from a farm you can trust so that you can receive medicine you can have faith in. This is my goal each day; Only the best from the earth to you.

Have a wonderful spring.

From our home to yours,
Mark Wheeler - Founder, Pacific Botanicals


Toni’s Window on the Farm
Check Out These Fantastic New Products!

   I wanted to let you know about these fantastic new products that we have just brought on board. Whether you are an individual, herb store, or medicine manufacturer I think you will love our new Wild Blueberry Powder, organic Neem Leaf, and our tasty organic Oolong Tea. And by the way, our greenhouse crew is busy tending to the new shoots that are just about ready for planting. We call these little seedlings affectionately “our babies.” Walking into the greenhouse on these cold spring mornings is like walking into the tropics. Moist, warm, humid, it really feels like you have entered some kind of natural womb. When I am there I feel uplifted by the energy of birthing that is going on around me.
   I hope you and your family will join with me this spring and summer to celebrate the good earth and that you will benefit from the the healing power of our organic herbs. At the farm everyday
is Earth Day and we are thankful that we can bring this healing to you.

Blessings, Toni
Toni Evans, Cheif Operating Officer Pacific Botanicals


Wild Blue Berry Powder
Ready to Use Super Anti-Oxidant

   There are higher concentrations of potent antioxidants in the deep-blue pigments of wild blueberries than there are in the cultivated variety. Wild harvested in the equatorial forests of Ecuador these berries have many potential health benefits.
   Brain Health: Ongoing brain research shows that blueberries may improve motor skills and actually reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging, making blueberries a natural “brain food.”Cancer Prevention: Research shows that blueberry compounds may inhibit all stages of cancer. Heart Health: Research indicates that blueberries may protect against heart disease and damage from stroke. Urinary Tract Health: Like cranberries, blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections. Vision Health: Research around the world has indicated that blueberries may improve night vision and prevent tired eyes. You can blend our dried powder with water, juice, or in a smoothie drink. To order click here.

Neem Leaf
Healing Powerhouse for Centuries

  In India the Neem Tree is known as the village pharmacy because of its many diverse uses. Some of its recommended uses are for treating fevers, digestive disturbances, skin problems, and general fatigue. It has been used for intestinal parasites, malaria, diabetes, fungal infections, and inflammatory diseases.
   It is the herb of choice for the treatment of all sorts of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, skin rashes, and dermatitis. To order click here.

Oolong Tea
Packed with Antioxidants
Great Flavor, and a Fascinating History

   Oolong tea (Wu-Long), meaning “black dragon tea” in Chinese, is a traditional tea that was first produced towards the end of the Ming dynasty, approximately 400 years ago. The “black dragon tea” is most probably an allusion to the tea leaves’ unique resemblance to the curling body of the mythical Chinese dragon. Its color (ranging from 10% to 70% in oxidation) is between green and black. Oolong tea is one of the most popular types of teas served in China. Its taste somewhat resembles that of green tea. An average cup of Oolong tea, properly brewed, has half the caffeine available in a cup of black tea, and about half as much as a cup of green tea.
   The tea leaves are picked on the morning of a clear day and are processed directly after being picked. They are picked in batches consisting of one bud and three leaves. They are first briefly dried in the Sun. Afterwords, they are placed into baskets and shaken about; this process bruises the leaves. The process of oxidation begins as the juices in the leaves are exposed to the open air. The leaves are then spread out indoors to dry for two hours or so. Then they are cooked, terminating the fermentation process.

To Order Click Here.

   Oolong tea was first cited in writings as Rock Tea, and the region where it first emerged was referred to as Wu Yi Shan, which is still the name used for teas that come from this region. The Southeastern coastal province of Fujian has historically been a place of tea culture novelties for hundreds of years. It is because of this fact that the Fujian region is also responsible for the discovery and perfection of the oolongs. The biological diversity and mineral rich soil of Fujian’s Wu Yi Shan has long been acknowledged as a place that is well suited to grow special teas. Compressed cakes of tea made in Wu Yi Shan, were banned in 1392 by the Ming Dynasty in an attempt to end the enduring corruption perpetuated by the tea trade. The ban on compressed tea indirectly imposed a dark age on Fujian tea making, and tea producing factories were closed and equipments were confiscated by the authorities. Tea production was effectively shut down for a hundred and fifty years in Fujian. However, and as ironic as it may seem, it was during this period when the famous innovations in tea culture and production were made. Fujian tea makers, likely Buddhist monks operating from within their temples, devised charcoal roasting techniques to dry their tea. This slow charcoal roasting method when combined with the accidental oxidization of their tea gave way to the particular flavor of Wu Yi Shan’s oolong tea.

   Healtlth Benefits
   Oolong tea gained popularity in the West because of a plethora of research that has been done in regard to its alleged anti-obesity properties. Oolong tea is full of enzymes that facilitate the break down of foods so that they are more easily metabolized and digested. Oolong tea has largely been known throughout history for assisting digestion, alleviating headaches, and cleansing the bodily system due to the presence of detoxifying agents. Japanese researchers have also discovered that oolong tea may help prevent tooth decay and relieve itching. Relaxing to the stomach, oolong tea counters the negative effects of rich or greasy foods. In addition, oolong is believed to benefit joint health, the relief of muscle aches, and, in Japan, is considered as an aid to liver health. Like other types of tea, Oolongs are rich in vitamins (A, B and, C), minerals (Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Calcium, Potassium, Fluorine, and Phosphorus) and powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent the development of certain types of cancers, keep the heart healthy and aid general well-being.


On a Working Farm
Recycling is a Way of Life

   This is a ‘56 Chevy truck. Who knows how many miles are on it. You might think it should have weeds growing out the wheels and windows but we still use it. Recycling, repairing, and reusing equipment is just part of what we do on the farm.
   Part of our winter routine is to fix what is broken, modify or fabricate new parts and grease and preserve the old stuff. We rarely buy new equipment but instead buy good used equipment and use it until the metal is ready to be recycled.
   On the farm we don’t recycle for a trend or a marketing strategy. We recycle because that is what works the best to protect the ecosystem and conserve resources. We not only recycle but we also replenish. We put nutrients back into the earth. We strengthen the biological makeup of the soil by planting cover crops like oats, mustard, and red clover. We add tons of organic compost and precise amounts of natural minerals into the ground.
   We recycle faithfully because we do not want to create pollution. We recycle our computers, our used bags, our metal, plastic and paper. We compost all organic matter. We raise our own seed or we find organic sources for seed for the crops that we do not produce on the farm. We use alternative fuels where we can. Our tractors run on bio-diesel much of the year. One third of our electricity comes from a 27kw solar array that sits on top of the mill. For smaller tasks around the farm we use electric trucks.
    In the shipping department we save on filler by cutting down the sides of the boxes to the right shape and we reuse the ones that are still in good shape. We recycle the white woven herb shipping bags and we reuse our pallets. Our paper products and plastic are collected by SPARC or the Grants Pass Gospel Mission for recycling. We use only organic biodegradable cleaning supplies, tissues, and paper products, cleansers, and soaps. In the shop, bathrooms, and offices, we use in floor heating that is supplied by a boiler that is bio-diesel fired.


Rain Like Mercy Falls

   Today when we woke up in the dark morning the wind was howling and the rain thrashed against the skylight in the bathroom. There under the down, as the spring rain bore against the walls, I thought about the safe core of myself. Here I am, here in this center,and all hell is breaking loose outside. The rain, a kind of tough mercy, blowing and cleaning streets, scrubbing air, feeding plants. Seeping into the darkest earth. Kicking over things that are loosely secured. Rolling with a rush over solid rock, and fertile lawn. Hissing with intensity as we roll down the highway to work.
   The long winter was cold and heavy and dark. Like my heart was sometimes filled with sorrow for things that did not work, or were not good, or had the thorns of loss. I think of this as the rain hits the windshield rising fast in frantic creeks. Fresh. Clean. Swift. Like a baptism. The cold renewing rain over white skin rising shivering. Shocking life back in brisk awakening.
   I step out of the car and the wind fills me with cool freedom like the forgiving voice spoken quickly...softly. Two geese fly over the car. I look up and understand. Remember. It’s a journey.
   Sitting at my desk I look out my window. I see the black earth freshly plowed. It is surrounded by rows of the brightest green and lit with sun breaking through the dark cells for just a brief moment. Horsechestnut leaves are just beginning to break out. A flock of glistening crows hunts the furrows for writhing worms. Everything is quiet. A rainbow casts it’s arc of hope. The rain now a gentle comfort returns. I am wondering; who is this self safe within that even through the bleakest days finds its resurrection.
- DE


Thoughts for the Spirit

   The most delusional fantasies can be made to masquerade as sanity if you’ve got the political power to reinforce them. –Penny Skillman

Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I’ll try again tomorrow.–Mary Anne Radmacher

People had changed—or rather fridges had changed them. Mrs. Munde felt that being able to store food for longer periods had broken down the community spirit. There was no need to share now, no need to meet everyday, gathering your veggies or killing a few rabbits.–Jeanette Witherspoon

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.–Edward Abbey

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be too cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down..–Annie Dillard

Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.–Nicolas Chamfort

You think your pains and heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who have ever been alive. –James Baldwin

I intend to live forever. So far so good. –Steven Wright

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