At Katydid Hill, we are always talking about how herbs are amazing for reclaiming rest and restoration. Why?
Every cup of Katydid Hill tea is grown right here on our farm. We take care to grow every single ingredient - even when it takes YEARS from seed to harvest! - so that each jar of tea that we offer is packed full of the most fresh and flavorful herbs possible.
Why do we do it? Well, farming to regenerate this land and leave it better than we found it - that’s one big reason for us.
But the other is for you. Growing all our herbs means that they get to you much faster - sometimes within weeks of harvest! Often herbs on grocery store shelves are YEARS old by the time you drink them - the herbs must be harvested in big lots, aggregated into even bigger lots, stored for months or years by middlemen before being processed into their final packaging, then stored some more on warehouse and store shelves. Cutting out all that middle stuff keeps our herbs fresher and of course, cuts down on a lot of travel miles and carbon footprint.
We are also proud to grow small farm tea (with HEART!) because we are able to keep quality our top priority throughout the growing, harvesting and drying process. Our hillside farm is perfect for growing potent herbs, since the soil is actually a bit dry and rocky. Sometimes when a plant has experienced a bit of hardship throughout its life, it actually makes for stronger medicine!
We harvest at peak potency during the season - often the whole farm crew gets involved for harvest days! Then we load up our dryer and keep a careful eye on each batch. The trick is to dry herbs above ambient temperature, but always low enough to keep all the essential oils intact. Our goal is for our herbs to have the same color, scent and vibrancy that they have in our fields - just freshly dried, preserved without the water, for you to enjoy year round!
Those essential oils, also known as volatile oils, are the key to both flavor and medicinal herbal actions. These delicate aromas are easily lost in large-scale commercial growing (harvesting past peak in order to maximize yield), processing (due to heat from machinery) and storage (volatile oils easily just evaporate into the air!). So, each of our farm processes is built around keeping the herbs fresh, flavorful and packed with essential oils.
Volatile oils easily pass through membranes in our bodies, and have an antispasmodic effect on our tissues. Herbs high in volatile oils soothe us from the inside out - passing through our very cells to calm and balance. This is where the flavor and the medicine comes from!
All aromatic herbs have this quality in common, and our favorite crops to grow here are stars in herbal teas. We chose to grow herbs that just ooze delight - that lemony cup of Sunshine Tea or the bright rose of Flower Tea. And you can feel the effect of all those essential oils in each cup - the rush of cool peppermint, the calm of chamomile. I love herbal teas that really draw you in.
I think a lot of us associate “medicine” with something you HAVE to do, or SHOULD do. And let me just say - I wish I could remember who first told me this - maybe we should stop “shouldding” all over ourselves! So I am here to remind you that your body knows best - and just experiencing a little cup of joy, pleasure and delight is some real medicine.
Knowing about volatile oils and how they interact with your body might help you learn a bit more about herbs. But I believe the most important thing is how they make you feel. This is the medicine - taking a moment with your body, feeling into it, and letting the herbs speak to you. Yes, herbs have lots of amazing qualities and specific medicinal properties - and also, it doesn’t always need to be so complicated.It is a radical act to slow down with a cup of tea, taking in the medicine of the moment. I love that herbs can teach us about our own bodies, what they need and how we can listen to that intuition just a bit more.