.Food as Medicine

Blossoms Farmacy was a big surprise

Master gardener Delmar McComb’s first job out of college changed the course of his life forever. While working with a former apprentice of the legendary horticulturist Alan Chadwick, he learned the dirty secrets of conventional gardening.

Traditional agriculture relies heavily on a non-renewable and finite energy source for crop cultivation, leading to soil depletion and nutrient loss in food over time.

Searching for answers McCombs turned to a book, Thomkins and Bird’s Secrets of the Soil that completely shifted his thinking. He learned about a method developed one hundred years ago in Germany by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the modern biodynamic movement.

Turns out even then, industrial farming was on the rise and organic methods were being replaced in the name of science, efficiency, and technology.

Biodynamic farming represents an alternative, a regenerative approach that honors the interconnectedness of all life, and it sparked a redirect Delmar knew he had to follow.

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Meanwhile in a small village in Switzerland, Carin Fortin packed up to leave her family of naturopaths, including her grandmother, who founded a hydrocolonic wellness spa in 1928 in the Swiss pre-alps. Her exposure to spa guests from all over the world had sparked a travel bug.

Fortin found her way to New York City where she went to school and worked as a designer. A decade later a midlife crisis sent her packing again, this time across the country to Esalen in Big Sur where she found her way back to her roots as an herbalist and teacher.

This set the stage for the founders of Blossom’s Farm Shop to meet and  bond over a shared belief in farming as a sacred act, and growers as stewards of the land. That was 14 years ago in Bonny Doon, when they built their first homestead.

Sustaining the business model led to three moves over the past 10 years, each to a farm they “cultivated” to biodynamic practice. Eventually with help of angel investors and a farm link they found their home in Aromas. What started on a quarter acre has eventually grown to 45 acres of biodynamically grown medicinal plants and herbs cultivated and served up as Blossom’s signature product line.

At first glance product names like Inner Balance and Inner Light sounded windy, but then a bright green sign caught my eye. It had the word Ashitaba splashed across the top. For a seasoned wellness geek, it’s unusual to find an unfamiliar herb. After hearing the benefits, it sounded amazing but pricey enough to require a bit more research. 

I learned 95% of the herbs used in Blossom’s products are biodynamically grown on their farm. And that Ashitaba is an herb to watch. Native to the Japanese Pacific region where it’s been cultured for centuries for its healing properties, both the leaves and stems are associated with health benefits.

Indeed there are over 450 studies posted on Google Scholar examining every aspect of this herb, most too complicated to easily sink your teeth into.

Carin described an herb known as a beautiful vine with heart shaped leaves and a teardrop root. Dioscera Batatas, also known as the Chinese Yam or Lightyam, is used in traditional Chinese medicine to impart light to the body. Even Rudolf Steiner called it “uniquely beneficial to modern humans”.

The following week I returned to the market to treat myself to some ashitaba. I bought a small bag I’ve already started adding to my green tea. It certainly tastes nutritious.

As Carin says, “Food is medicine”. By working in harmony with nature, biodynamic farmers produce foods and herbal medicines imbued with vitality, flavor, and nutritional value.

Look for Bloom Farm store’s open house every Friday and Saturday 9am-noon, www.blossomsfarm.com


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