A Wild Foodie’s Guide To Sustainable Harvesting By Aisling Badger, May 2, 2017

As herbalists, one of the first things we think of when we feel the season shift is that in a matter of weeks, there will be an abundance of medicine to harvest, eat, and preserve. Plants we don’t grow in our gardens can be wildcrafted in surrounding areas and we enjoy what the earth provides. As herbalists, we know the plants intimately, and we deepen our relationship with them each year. Knowing how to use wild medicine, and where to find food, also bears a significant commitment to being an herbal steward and to be radical in our approach to preserving the wild plants around us.  

While the growth of the herbal and wellness industry is exciting and ever on the rise, what has come with it is a mass production of herbs and a severe increase in over-harvesting.

sustainable harvest nettles bowl

Wild foods have become hip and are sought out in trendy restaurants that will pay a good price for a few pounds of local wild edibles. What isn’t always apparent is that this has been resulting in the over-harvesting of popular favorites—like Wild Ramps, Fiddleheads, Ginseng and Goldenseal.

Instead of thinking with money on the mind, we need to retrain ourselves to think about what happens to these populations of edibles that are quickly becoming at risk. Is it worth it?

It is important to think about this delicate relationship as we approach the peak seasons of abundance. If we are harvesting our food and medicine, we then become accountable for the wild gardens, their health, and their upkeep.

At Urban Moonshine, we make conscious decisions to […]

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Embracing the Darkness: Halloween Traditions By Aisling Badger, October 28, 2016

Witchy bicycleWhether you are celebrating a traditional Samhain, or honoring past lives for the Day of the Dead, this time of year is traditionally a moment of ritual and celebration. Samhain is a Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.  The festival honors transitions and the year’s bounty with merriment, food and drink. Harvest season has come to a close. It is time to embrace the dark and find new ways to bring light into our lives.

The Day of the Dead is a traditional Mexican festival that honors those who are no longer walking with us. This holiday is celebrated with parties, rituals, food, dance and beautifully vibrant decor. 

It is often said that the veil between the spirit world and our physical world is thinnest on All Hallows Eve, and thus it is the prime time to communicate with elders, past family members or the spirits. People have traditionally dressed in costume with the idea that if we are disguised on this night, we will be hidden from the roaming spirits and they won’t take us back with them to the Other Side.

This is a special time to honor and reflect upon the year, however you may choose to celebrate. A sense of magic often gets lost in a busy, fast-moving world. Magic can mean all sorts of things, but there is something primal about finding the time to connect with nature and to a deeper spiritual side, by allowing ourselves to feast, to be warm and to light up the dark together.

This year’s Halloween coincides with the New Moon, which is symbolically a threshold for new beginnings. This is a great time to […]

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Fire Cider: The Ultimate Summer Preservation! by Colleen Dando, October 7, 2016

Fire Cider ingredients on a cutting board

With fall upon us, we all feel the pull to visit our local farmers and collect the bounty of the fields! One way to preserve some of our most powerful immune-enhancing foods is to steep them in raw apple cider vinegar. The health benefits of raw apple cider vinegar are many. From live enzymes and bacteria, to a wealth of B-vitamins, what more could you ask for in a little immune enhancement?

We decided to add a little flare to the traditional fire cider recipe, to help better capture the summer energy of bright colors and vibrancy. The possibilities are limitless and we encourage you to get creative with it.

Featured: powerful and pungent fresh horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion and hot pepper.

Added enhancement: fresh, curcumin-rich yellow turmeric, deep ruby red dried hibiscus petals containing naturally occurring vitamin C, and peppery yellow, gold, red nasturtium blossoms that embody summer’s vibrancy!

Fire Cider is traditionally used for fast-acting support. The immune-enhancing effects of the veggies, herbs and spices in this formula support our bodies as we transition from the warmth of summer into the cool temperatures of fall and winter. Whether you need an immune system rev up or want to spice up a salad dressing, this can be taken as frequently or as little as you want.

For immune support, take 15-30 mLs every couple hours. It can be diluted in water or taken straight. As Rosemary Gladstar recommends, a small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic. Take it more frequently if necessary to help your immune system do battle.

It is extra fun to cook with it and seeing how it enhances your meals…. To your health and bon appetit!

grating horseradish [...] </p> </body></html>

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Root Medicine: An Herbalist’s Guide to Digging Roots by Aisling Badger, October 4, 2016

Cleaned Burdock Root

Fall is harvest time, not only for winter storage crops like beets and carrots, but for all those beautiful medicinal plants we have been watching flower and grow for many months now. Harvest provides a sense of the changing seasons and a chance to prepare our medicine cabinet for the year to come. It’s a special practice to take note of the places we frequent, to watch the full seasonal growing cycle and then to harvest the powerful medicine when it comes time. Autumn is the time of year when plants’ energies are focused back into the roots.  They are no longer producing leaves and flowers. Thus, it this time of year (late September and early October) when the roots’ medicinal qualities are most potent. For herbs such as Dandelion and Burdock, the inulin is highest at this time of year.  It’s good to try and harvest roots before the first hard frost. Once the ground gets hard, it becomes difficult to dig!

Some of the species we at Urban Moonshine especially seek out and use are Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow Dock, Echinacea, and Elecampane.  All of these thrive beautifully in Vermont and are ever abundant in our fields, woodland paths and back yards! They are also key ingredients in most of our formulas.

 

Hallow Herb Farm digging dandelion roots

Harvesting practices and techniques:

  • Before harvesting- make sure you are 100% confident that the plant you are about to harvest is what you think it is.
  • It’s always good to […]

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