let’s talk: seasonal herbal csa.

One of the things I most look forward to as the seasons change is my package of herbal goodies coming from Wild and Wise as part of their seasonal CSA.

What’s a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Traditionally, farms accept sign-ups from members of the community and, in return, the community members receive a box of fruits and veggies at a certain interval.  You are essentially purchasing a ‘share’ in the farm to help assist production during that season.  It’s a great way to receive wonderful local, fresh produce in your area!

An Herbal CSA is the same deal, except rather than purchasing a share on a veggie farm, you’re purchasing a share of an herbal garden or farm to support the growth and production of herbal medicine.  I love that the CSA has spread beyond just fruits and veggies!

Choosing an Herbal CSA.

While I was on the hunt for an herbal CSA, I really wanted to find something local, something that offered a handful of products with each package, and something that was sent with the changing of seasons.  For herbs, especially, the shift of seasons calls for a different set of medicines to help keep your body and mind balanced and ready for the changes the earth brings.

You may have different wants and needs for your herbal CSA, and it’s really easy to do some research to find one that works for you.  I did some searches on Google as well as on Local Harvest before I came across Wild and Wise.

About Wild and Wise!

This CSA is based out of Humboldt County in California, so while it’s not immediately local to SF, I was comfortable with the herbs being grown and the medicine being made just a few hours north.  The huge selling point for me on this Herbal CSA in particular was the collection of items sent at the start of each season.  It’s perfect!

I also love that this is mostly a one-woman show headed by Nicole Gagliano, who puts her heart into everything she makes and really focuses on her goal of bringing community together around the common desire for local herbal medicines.  Perfect!  You can find more about her and Wild and Wise here, or check out info about becoming a shareholder here.


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And Now for the Most Exciting Part!  What Came in my Fall CSA Share.

This is the reason I really wanted to write about this wonderful CSA:  I am SO excited about the items I just received for the Fall share.

In this share, I received:

  • Tulsi Rose Sipping Vinegar (more to come on sipping vinegars because I’ve recently become quite smitten!)
  • Peaceful Slumber Tea
  • Motherwort Tincture (one of my favorite herbs!)
  • Triple Berry Syrup (delicious blend!)
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Inflammation Tamer
  • Newsletter and little sticker!

See?  What a lovely assortment of items.  In the newsletter, Nicole describes each of the medicines, what they are used for and their contraindications.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the season when I get to curl up on the couch and read through everything included.  It’s like a little treasure chest!

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So, that’s a bit about my CSA experience.  I’ve really, really enjoyed it.  Are you a part of any herbal or more traditional CSA?   I’d love to hear your experiences and any recommendations!

**Note:  these are my own thoughts and this post is in no way sponsored by Wild and Wise.  (I just love the medicines so darn much!)

A Garden is the Best Medicine.

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I was feeling a bit under the weather this morning so I decided to take a day at home to rest and relax.  I am not great at sitting still, or letting my mind be still, so I went for a short walk to the community garden near my apartment where we have a small plot.

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“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” -Frances Hodgson Burnett in ‘The Secret Garden’ (one of my favorite books of all time!)

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the bee & the borage!

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chamomile flowers from our plot.

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“There’s naught as nice as th’ smell o’ good clean earth, except th’ smell o’ fresh growin’ things when th’ rain falls on ’em.” from ‘The Secret Garden’

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lemon blooms and fruits.

It is so healing to be among the plants.  To pull up some weeds.  To listen to the hummingbirds buzz and chirp and watch the blue jays fly by.  To hear the leaves rustle and the morning dew disappear, lifting back into the sky.  To look closely at blooming flowers.  So closely that you can see their little hairs and pollen, almost as if it’s oozing out of the center.

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look at the colors, that detail, and that pollen!!

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some feverfew in our plot.

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succulents on the path.

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amazing details.

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curly-q beans!

When we lived in Michigan, we had an 800 square foot garden where we grew so much food!  I was canning and making jams nonstop just to keep up.  Now, that garden is bigger than our current little San Francisco apartment.  We waited two years on a waitlist to get our garden plot here, and it is much, much smaller than what we were accustomed to, but it’s been so nice to finally have our little piece of land to tend and grow beautiful, delicious plants.

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the ladybug & the fennel.

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This garden is also adjacent to a day-care center, so as I worked and watched in the garden, I could also hear songs about flowers and gardens floating through the air in high sing-songy, beautiful voices.  Garden and earth-lovers in training!

This is what I would call a perfect morning.

(for more photos from this beautiful garden, please visit tsoana’s through the lens section of the site!)

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delicious strawberries from our plot!

Refreshing: Watermelon Strawberry Breeze

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I didn’t realize National Watermelon Day was this past week, but this watermelon-based smoothie is a recipe you can enjoy any day of the summer!  Completely light, crisp, and refreshing, this Watermelon Strawberry Breeze is perfect to cool off and relax on these hot, fun summer days.

(Side note:  Who creates these whacky national days?  Is there a national day for everything now?)

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Anyway, here is the (extremely simple) recipe:

Ingredients

Only 3 ingredients are needed:

  • 3 Cups Cubed Watermelon  (Chilled is best)
  • 1 Cup Strawberries  (Chilled)
  • 1 Whole, Peeled Lemon

You may also choose to add (but definitely don’t need to – still delicious, either way!):

  • Mint Leaves (as garnish or blended into the smoothie)
  • Crushed Ice (for a cooler taste. I personally like it without and prefer the full fruit flavor instead)

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Let’s Make it!

Simple:

  • Prepare the fruit
  • Put everything in your blender
  • Blend for 20 seconds or until desired consistency reached
  • Pour into a tall glass
  • Garnish with mint if desired
  • Put your feet up and enjoy!

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