Farmers and Moonshiners


I posted earlier in the fall about how I tried growing some of my own herbs this year, but came up against an unexpected roadblock (in the form of contaminated compost).  Luckily, I have some pretty awesome sources for herbs:

My cat quickly decided that this bag from
Zack Woods was hers.  The catnip (which had been
in a plastic bag inside the paper bag) was so
yummy and fragrant that she played with the empty
paper bag for days.

For dried herbs, my first stop is, without a doubt, Zack Woods Herb Farm of Hyde Park, Vermont.  These wonderful people grow, harvest, and dry herbs so full of life that it seems you can still smell the summer breezes and the warm earth when you open up a jar of their herbs.  Anything I can get from Zack Woods, I do.  While I would love to have gotten to work with more fresh herbs from my own garden this year, I really feel that anything I make with Zack Woods herbs is vibrant and nourishing.

My other go-to business for dried herbs is Mountain Rose.  While this company isn’t local to me, they are pretty awesome, and provide a lot of info about their herbs, which are all either organically cultivated or wildcrafted.  From everything I’ve heard, they’re really good people.

I was lucky to win some Urban Moonshine
bitters from Mountain Rose earlier this year!

For extracts, my original favorite – the company whose products made me realize just how much more fun it is to sip herbal extracts than it is to swallow capsules – is Urban Moonshine.  This company is local and run by awesome people, who you can “meet” in this video.  I’ve found their bitters and tonics to be extremely effective – not to mention delicious.  As an added bonus, their packaging is really cool, which means that a bottle of Urban Moonshine makes a hip hostess gift.  Far from the grannies of ages past who would pinch your nose until you swallowed your medicine, Urban Moonshine makes it fun to take their tinctures, and there are all sorts of recipes for cocktails and other tasty beverages.  While I love formulating my own extracts, I also always keep some Urban Moonshine bitters and tonics on hand.  They’re great go-to formulas, add wonderful flavors to drinks, and – thanks to their beautiful packaging and general yumminess – are perfect for introducing newbies to the world of herbal extracts.

So, while I haven’t gotten to experiment as much as I’d like with making herbal preparations from seed to sip, I’m grateful to know some wonderful people who do good work.  I feel that buying from people I genuinely like, whose work I respect and trust, is the next best thing to doing it yourself.

Thank you to Pagan Blog Prompts, where “Who Makes Your Tools?” asks, “When it comes to the tools of your practice, does it matter who made them or where they come from? Does something you made yourself have more power?” for the inspiration for this post!

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