So this Wednesday was our second Farmer’s Market. As many of you know I take our extra eggs and some wool and any herbs that I have in the garden to the market. This year I have been harvesting walking onion from the gardens too and taking them as well. At the Market I am kind of known as the weird one because I don’t have traditional veggies and fruits like everyone else.
This week I took Eggs, Soaps made from the garden as well as goat’s milk soap, Chocolate Mint, Lemon Balm, Spearmint, onions and wool. I had a good time and visited with some others around the market. I had brought some “give aways” that I passed out to some fellow vendors. The community garden only had a few bags of mixed greens so I let the kids use my table as I had plenty of room and they would sell out fast at a buck a bag … It wasn’t worth them putting up a tent and table and … well you get the picture. Besides I had fun hanging out with them. I even talked to the manager about a “new product” she was gifted the other day … a lotion bar. I giggled as I used to make them and don’t know why I stopped.
Anyway, As I sat at my table under my little popup tent after the kids had gone, a gentleman walked up and was asking me about my mint. I stated it was an herb and then started to give him different uses for it. However, it was at that moment another vendor pipes up and says “Oh that stuff is just a NOXIOUS WEED!” … So we won’t go into how Rude and uncalled for that was. Or that isn’t how anyone should ever talk about another vendor’s product … and we won’t discuss the fact that what she said wasn’t true in the least as it is an herb and while it can be an invasive grower it is in no way a noxious weed.
At the time it kind of made me mad for anyone would speak out about other’s products that they didn’t know the real value of but I tried to blow it off. Later that night RJ and I were talking about how the market went and it came up again. Okay so I really think it did get under my skin. I tried to just let it go but by Thursday I had decided called the manager of the market and speak with her about it. She was very understanding as I explained that it just wasn’t right. I don’t talk about other people’s products in anything but a positive light and I think I deserve the same treatment. She agreed and she said she would find a nice way to address the issue with all the vendors so that it doesn’t happen again.
As the day wore on and I dealt with everything happening on the farm, I couldn’t put it out of my mind. Through the flooding and animal moving, those words just kept nagging me. It wasn’t upsetting me, it was just playing over and over again in my head and I couldn’t figure out why. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to find a way to put out GOOD information about my herbs. Education is the Key! Fight fire with fire … cancel all the bad info being put out with good info so that even if people don’t like or purchase my herbs, they will at least judge them on the Correct information.
So I sat down to work on making some fact cards I could pass out at the market explaining the uses of each herb. I started with Mint. However, when I listed all the ways I use the herb, I had a two page essay! I tried several times to edit it and cut it down to a 4X6 type index card. No matter how hard I tried it didn’t work. There were so many uses and so many ways to use it and I couldn’t figure out what was more important to leave in and what I could take out. I finally got it down to this …
Digestion: Drink Mint Tea to sooth stomach of indigestion or inflammation. Menthol oil derived from mint can be very soothing motion sickness as well
Nausea & Headache: Use mint oil or Balms rubbed on the forehead and nose
Respiratory Disorders Asthma and Coughs: The aroma is effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, as it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. That being said, using too much mint in this way can also irritate the nose and throat.
Breast Feeding: Mint oil can reduce the nipple cracks and nipple pain associated with Breastfeeding
Depression and Fatigue: Mint can be ingested, applied topically in a salve form, or inhaled as a vapor
Skin Care and Pimples: Mint oil is a good antiseptic. Mint juice is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin and helps to cure infections and itchiness. Its antipruritic properties can be used for treating insect bites. The cooling sensation will relieve irritating sensation and the constant urge to scratch and the anti-inflammatory nature of mint will bring down swelling
Memory Loss: Mint can raise alertness, retention and cognitive function.
Weight Loss: Mint stimulates the digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat, and turns it into usable energy.
Oral Care: Mint can be rubbed directly on the teeth and gums to refresh the mouth and eliminate dangerous forms of growth. The easiest way to get these results is to simply chew on the leaves.
Allergies and Hay Fever: Extracts from mint leaves have been shown to inhibit the release of certain chemicals, which have been known to aggravate severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.
I know it is still way to long. No one is going to read that at the local farmer’s market. So I was thinking I could give them the page when I sell them the mint but that still doesn’t help sell it. All I could think was I wish I was allowed to sell it as Tea, infusions and Infused Oils I would do much better. And just here lately I had started to learn about Tinctures. However, that would make them processed and processed products aren’t allowed at the farmer’s market. I can’t even sell my herbs if I dehydrate them.
Ever since we had moved home with RJ and his health issues, Granny had been drilling different uses for these herbs into my head. She had me dehydrating them to allow me to have them year round. Then she taught me uses for them. She had me boiling mint to clear RJ’s lungs. She had me making infused oils to rub on his chest at night. She had me making infusions to clear my own sinuses. She had me drinking infused cold tea and just plain hot tea. She had more uses for the herbs she gave me to grow in my garden then I can remember. So why couldn’t I make other people understand the value of my herbs??
That is when I remembered those lotion bars the market manager and I had just been talking about at the market. Then I had one of those very clear ah-ha moments. No, I can’t sell my herbs in it’s processed forms but I should be able to sell the lotions, salves, lotion bars and soaps I have made with infused oils and Infusions that I use the herbs for in the first place. And I already take my goat’s milk soap and Veggie and Fruit soaps. So why not herb products???
Well, I called the market manager to get clarification on the matter. Would the soaps, lotions, bars and salves be considered processed herbs or would they be considered sell able products?? With a few more calls on her part, the market manager found out that lotions, bars and salves are acceptable sell able market products. However, I have to disclose any and all ingredients and can make no claims of the healing or medicinal properties of the herbs that I use. I can only list them as an ingredient and that is it.
I got excited. Then I felt that crash and burn feeling …. What do I know about herbs. I only know the herbs I grow and use. That List would consist of lemon balm and several types of mint. (Oh and a little potted sage plant that I just got as a gift but I don’t know anything about it yet)
After a bit more thought It hit me … So grow, use and learn about so more herbs. Yup, it was that simple but for me it was a process!! I don’t have to know everything about every herb. However, I can learn everything there is to know about different ones I want to grow. That I can do … So when I Grow up I can be an herbalist … or at least knowledgeable about herbs … LOL
So today I joined an Herb of the month Club. I will receive a dried herb each month with lots of information about that herb. I will then turn around and see if it is something that will grow in my zone or would ever have a call to use in my lotions, soaps and salves. If they are, I will attempt to grow my own herbs and make products out of them. If they aren’t I will just learn about them and move on.
I also took the time to harvest enough herbs to make Tinctures and oils from the herbs I have. I also dehydrated some for use in infusions. This also has me thinking of expanding our herb garden and not worrying so much about my food garden that never really seems to grow much. After all there are some herbs I know I need that I used to get from Granny ….