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Harvest

The Harvest

We appreciate the interconnected and often delicate balance present in nature. Our herbs are wildcrafted in a manner that does not diminish or exploit wild plant communities. Our protocol ensures that the harvest is accomplished respectfully, with minimal impact, and sustainably. We take pride in the collection of plants growing in remote habitats, far removed from sources of atmospheric pollution or the application of chemicals for any purpose. Only vigorous, healthy plants are gathered from within these prime locations. Great care is taken to ensure that no lasting harm is caused to plant colonies or the land. Harvest only occurs in areas with an abundance of the plant to be collected. None of the plants we gather are rare, endangered, or threatened within our state, region, or local area. In any colony not more than 10% of native plants or 20% of introduced species are harvested, leaving many healthy individuals to regenerate and propagate the population.

All collection is accomplished by hand and during the appropriate season. After locating a colony seeming suitable for harvest we further explore the surrounding area ahead of time to ensure that it is free from potential sources of pollution such as previous mining activity. Collection occurs from the central portion of colonies allowing the margins of the colony to proliferate unimpeded. When harvesting foliage we pick from the borders of the plants, leaving the central portion intact to regenerate itself. We always leave enough leaves, fruit, seeds, and/or flowers for the plant to remain alive and strong. When harvesting on a hillside all plants growing at the top of the hill are left so that these “grandparent” plants are able continue dispersing their seeds downhill. We focus on preserving the well-being of the plants and plant colonies from which we harvest and normally the life of the plant is not taken during harvest. The harvest of roots, however, generally does entail the death of individual plants. These plants honor us through their sacrifice and to these plants we convey heartfelt gratitude as their vitality is offered for the benefit of humankind.

When and where a plant is harvested is critical to what that plant is made of. Roots of biennial plants are dug in the Fall of their first year or during very early Spring in the plant’s second year. Perennial roots are dug late in Fall after the aboveground portions have died back, or very early in the Spring while the plant’s energy is still concentrated within the root system. Roots of annual plants are dug just before flowering. Stems and leaves are harvested after leaves have formed and before blossoms have developed. Leaves of biennial plants are picked in the Spring of their second year. Herbs high in essential oils or resins such as Calendula and Peppermint are picked while dry and during the hottest part of the year when levels of these oils are near their peak. Plant bark is collected early in Spring; stripping of bark occurs on less than ¼ of the branch circumference and is taken from small branches. If recently fallen branches are available, these will be utilized first. Flowers are gathered just before they are fully developed, when dry, but not during the hottest parts of the day. Saps and pitches are collected in late winter or early spring and normally are easily collected from injuries that the trees have previously sustained. We do not tap or otherwise injure trees for this purpose. Fruits are collected when they are nearly but not completely ripe; this is before the vegetable acids have completely transformed into sugar. Seeds are collected when they are completely ripe.

After conscientious application of these practices it is difficult to recognize even the slightest sign of disturbance from the harvest.

We ensure that our harvest practices meet these standards by returning in subsequent years to previous harvest locations in order to gauge the general health of plant populations at these sites.

A special thank you to our private cooperators for allowing us to harvest on their lands. Your generous support helps greatly in enabling us to continue providing this ethically wildcrafted line of health supporting botanical products.