Our farm, snuggled into the foothills of the Eastern North Cascades, provides quality habitat for many medicinal herbs, shrubs, and trees. Our hot summers and cold winters result in four to five months of dormancy, followed by a vigorous growing season. Using shrubs and trees inter-planted with select herbs, we are able to create a variety of niches and micro-climates to foster woodland and shade-loving species, in addition to the many herbs that thrive in full sun.
Appreciating a model of diversity, we are able to keep busy, working with different herbs every week from the end of March until the ground freezes near the end of November. We typically begin our harvesting season with the plucking of plump and sticky Cottonwood buds, before we get into digging our spring root crops once the snow has melted. As the days lengthen and the growing season begins in earnest, we cut dark green Dandelion leaves, which is soon followed by plucking their flowers. As we get into the heart of spring, things start happening quickly, with farm harvests of herbs such as Alfalfa, Wild Lettuce and Shepard's Purse, and wildcrafting expeditions for Horsetail, Arnica, and Stinging Nettles. In the long days of early summer, the farm is abloom with flowers and their gentle aroma, full of buzzing bees hungry for the sweet nectar. Meadowsweet, California Poppy, Red Clover and milky Oats are some big harvests on the farm at this time, and we tend to find ourselves out picking Yarrow until sundown in a beautiful field on the hot summer solstice. Through the stability of the long and hot summer days, we work with Elderflower and Elderberry, Goldenrod, Feverfew, Saint John's Wort, as well as many others. Going out for Pipsissewa and Huckleberry this past year put us twice in contact with a mother Black Bear and her cub, and a swim in the nearby Black Pine Lake is a classic end to these long days in the beautiful Okanogan National Forest. Harvests of Hops and Black Walnut usually round out the aerial harvest for the year, as the days shorten and nights get cold. We're able to sigh, with the plants moving toward dormancy, and after our first few good frosts, we're starting on a busy fall root-dig. Yellow Dock, Dandelion and Black Cohosh to name a few, and out in the field again for Lomatium roots before the snow ends our season in the hills.