MOTHER EARTH MIAMI
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FIELDSNOTES BLOG

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED HERBALISM SPRING 2018

Spring 2018 in Miami means smelling the scent of flowers and watching dragonflies fly through the air. We have noticed a huge number of insects because of the many cold front migrations. And when the temperature rises again we get a little congested from all the pollen from the blooming flowers. We are also saying goodbye to our regular growing season and to cleanse our fields & home. We prepare to welcome heat loving varieties of produce & herbs. We longed-for our elderberries and they arrived early this year! We have also noticed that our Echinacea is really loving this weather.

We would like to thank all of our friends & family that supported and inspired us make this project a reality. Mike, Rafa, Jenna, Sharlia, Ashley, Muriel, Bimini, Tiffany, Monica, Nicole, Marco, Noah, Gio, James, Andrew, Tessa, Juan, Patty, Pats, Simon, Sandra, Luz, Fanny, Julie, Katia, Mary, Pocho, Vicky, Pebbles, Lobo, Ashley, Kristen & Paula. All of them dropped by the farm and gave us a hand with our crops, emotional support and mentorship when we needed it the most.

All of the ingredients (except for the biodynamic oil & ancient salt) were wild crafted locally by us, grown organically at our farm and also at our gardens. In this share, we also purchased from two local organic farmers: Tessa (honey & beeswax) and Garfield (ginger and turmeric).

We are excited to share with you our first community supported herbalism share!

 

SMALL SHARE

Turmeric dyed bulk bag

Tessa’s Honey 8 fl oz

Elderberry Syrup 4 fl oz

Turmeric Powder 0.5 oz

Salve: Calendula, Spanish Needle & Comfrey 2 oz

Calendula infused Oil 2 fl oz

Smudge (a gift for our first members)

 

LARGE SHARE

Turmeric dyed bulk bag

Tessa’s Honey 32 fl oz

Elderberry Syrup 4 fl oz

Turmeric Powder 1 oz

Salve: Calendula, Spanish Needle & Comfrey 2 oz

Calendula infused Oil 2 fl oz

Smudge (a gift for our first members)

Moringa Powder 3.5 oz

Spring Tea 2 oz

Spring Bath 8.7 oz

 

TURMERIC DYED BULK BAG

 

After looking online for cotton tote bags, we had a great idea. Why not make them here in Miami? We saw it as an experiment, as an exercise to find the true cost of things we use daily. How much money and time would it take to make it here in Miami with US grown cotton? So we brainstormed and we immediately thought of our grandmas, moms and aunts to produce them. Gabi remembered her friend Liliana from high school. She remembered when her mom would make her clothes back in the day. We called Fanny (Lili’s mom) and she referred us to her sister Luz. We talked to her and she was excited about the project. When we went to meet her to talk about the materials and show her samples we got online, we had another idea! What if we go to thrift stores and use recycled cotton sheets? We went and found tons of good cotton. We proceed to washed them and give her all the materials to start making the bags. Luz spent 5 days working on 60 tote bags. Of course, two of the days were spent getting rid of the seams. We didn’t realize we had to give them to her without the seams and iron them. At this moment, we do not have an exact number of hours it took her but now we know how to make it easier for her if we continue buying recycled materials.

For the dying of the bags, we used certified organic turmeric from our friend Garfield’s farm Cool Runnings in Homestead. Katia hand dyed them delicately one by one. Even the skin of the turmeric roots was used as a dye too. Yellow is the color of the Spring season. We hope you like it as much as we did. These bags have a lot of love and were made by us. We wanted to share our experience because the more you know about the story behind the objects we consume, the more we appreciate them and treasure them.

 

How to care for your bag:

hand wash

separately in cold water

line dry

do not bleach

 

The color will fade a little over time. We like to use these bulk bags when going to the farmer’s market or the store and we use them instead of plastic bags for bulk (hence the ‘bulk bag name’) items you purchase by the weight such as: produce, grains, nuts and much more. Your bag has a 1.75 oz tare so please share this with your farmer or at the store so they tare your bag so you don’t have to pay for the extra weight.

 

TESSA’S HONEY

We are very excited to work with Tessa! We visited her beautiful farm in Homestead last year and we dream on living the way she does someday. Here are some very special notes that she sent us to share with you:

The bees at the farmstead down in Homestead, FL can be seen foraging on seasonal flowers year-round. This past year, Irma had a significant impact on the seasons honey flow because strong winds decimated the blooms of many plants- a notable one being the Brazilian pepper, an invasive species but important food source for bees in South Florida. The bees have recovered nicely after some months & are currently foraging among the avocado/mango/lychee - along with Spanish needle/ thistle/ calendula/ bolting mustard etc. all found in the adjacent vegetable garden.

The quantity of honey we harvest depends on environmental factors. Currently one of the honey boxes ready for processing will weigh around 50 pounds - 35 of which is honey. My fellow beekeeper/mentor, Steve, has been crucial in establishing healthy hives & providing a work space where we can process honey and beeswax. When beekeeping small scale having access to knowledge and equipment of a seasoned Keeper is invaluable.

Beeswax is gathered when uncapping the cells to access the honey & later processed at a low heat then molded. A full day, with multiple hands on deck, is dedicated to honey extraction and beeswax processing.

Lastly, I see great importance in establishing permanent hives in residential areas for the health of the hives, surrounding plants & humans who consume or utilize the rewards of beekeeping: honey & beeswax.

Happy trails,

Tessa

 

ELDERBERRY SYRUP

We love making and consuming syrups when the seasons change. You can make syrups with a vast variety of herbs and roots. We decided to use all of these really fresh ingredients to prepare it: certified organic ginger from Cool Runnings Farm, delicious honey from Tessa’s hives, elderberries and elderflowers (trees bloomed early this year) from the farm, thyme from our plot and Cuban oregano that grows wild at the farm.

Elderberry syrup can be consumed daily. We like to take 1 tablespoon a day to give our immune system a boost. We usually take it when we feel we are getting sick or during long busy days to avoid getting sick.

Elderberry is one of our favorite native trees. If you pay attention driving up 95 you can see them decorating the highway.

The syrup can last up to 2 months refrigerated but I always suggest our customers to simply smell it and maybe taste a little and check if it went bad. You will know! The honey is what gives it a longer shelf life but if you would like to store it for longer try adding some alcohol and you can turn your syrup into an elixir. The alcohol will extend the life of your syrup significantly.

 

TURMERIC POWDER

We purchased the turmeric from Garfield who runs and owns Cool Runnings Organic Farm in Homestead. Katia met Garfield while going through the Veterans, Minorities and Small Farmers Outreach Program that is funded by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach in connection with FIU's Agroecology Program back in 2015. Garfield is a Veteran of Jamaican descent. He is passionate about organic farming in Homestead’s ‘Redland’ soil-named for the pockets of red clay in the limestone terrain. We got really excited to purchase these powerful roots from him!

Making the turmeric powder took us two weeks. Katia’s Mom helped expedite the process while we were busy at the farm. Lots of love went into this powder!

Turmeric has been used for over 4000 years as a medicine in southeast Asia. Most of the turmeric we consume in the USA is brought from Asia. But guess what? It is a tropical plant so you can plant it in your own yard or in pots!

 

Ways you can use your turmeric:

*You can use it to cook, you can add it to rice, stews, curries, soups. You can also make a delicious tea with it, we like to add ginger to it.

*You can use it to make a face mask! It will temporarily stain your skin yellow but it will also feel really fresh after it. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory.

Face mask recipe:

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of Tessa’s honey and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider. The measurements can change, what you want to achieve is a consistency that will stick to your face. Be careful not to make it too thin as it may drip. Leave on for 15-20 mins and then rinse with warm water. If you have any left over face mask, you can cover and store in fridge for about a week and use on your next application.

*Want to try dyeing fabric with it? Grab an old shirt or fabric (preferable cotton) and use the powder to turn it yellow.

*You can also make Indian turmeric golden milk lates. Make sure you add black pepper to the late so it activates the curcumin (medicinal compound) in the turmeric.

 

CALENDULA + SPANISH NEEDLE + COMFREY SALVE

We started our calendula seeds in September 2017 and by the end of November 2017 we started harvesting the flowers, little by little. It takes us about 3 hours to get every single flower in our field and give the patch proper maintenance.

Spanish needle is one of the most common native weeds in Florida. It grows wild but we make sure to forage it from our farm or places we know they have not being sprayed. In every garden, there should be a comfrey plant.

We love comfrey, it provides our soil with so much nutrients while keeping away some pests and inviting beneficial insects. Salves are usually made with a wax but we were lucky enough to make it with Tessa’s beeswax that is collected responsibly in harmony with nature.

This salve is great for mosquito bites, cuts, scrapes, bruises, muscle ache, dry hands, elbows and feet. Calendula is the main ingredient and these flowers have antiseptic, healing, calming and antibacterial properties.

 

CALENDULA INFUSED OIL

One of our favorite crops in our field is the calendula patch we were able to successfully grow. It will be gone by the end of April so we wanted to share as much as we can from this beautiful and medicinal flower.

We harvested the calendula and dehydrated it. Then we infused the calendula flowers with biodynamic grapeseed oil for 4-6 weeks.

You can use this oil for massages, burns, cuts, itchy and dry skin. It is also used externally for abdominal cramps.

 

SMUDGE

We decided to make a smudge* as a gift and a blessing for our first community supported herbalism members. Spring time is the time for cleansing our homes and smudging is a ceremony practiced by some Indigenous peoples of the Americas, that involves the burning of sacred herbs, in some cases for spiritual cleansing or blessing.

We believe that smudging is a sacred and spiritual act created by natives that should be respected by the community. During smudging take the time to set intentions. We have noticed in the last few years a significant growth of commercial herbal medicine production so we encourage those who have the financial means to be more aware of the source where the herbs come from. We believe in respecting traditions and the way we honor this is to take the time to grow the herbs and make the smudges with love.

 

Our smudge consists of:

Allspice leaves: for uplifting, increasing energy and determination.

Calendula flowers: for love and constancy.

Rosemary: for removing negative energies associated with sickness and clearing.

Sage (common and berggarten): negative energy clearing.

Dill blossoms: for protection, luck, money and lust.

 

*Please hang and use until its fully dried for an even burn.

 

MORINGA POWDER

 

Moringa is not native to Florida, it is from the Himalayas but they surely like our peninsula. It strives in South Florida and the Caribbean. People in Africa consume it in a daily basis and it’s considered a superfood. It is full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. We encourage people to grow it in their house so they can incorporate them in their diets. It is such a noble and resilient tree. When Irma hit us, we remember walking into the farm and seeing all the trees down, we were heartbroken. Two weeks later, the trees came back to life and we understood the power of doña moringa.

We harvest the moringa from our lot or edible gardens, we remove the yellow and brown leaves, we proceed to wash it and place it in a dehydrator. From 1 pound of fresh moringa we get more or less 3 oz of powdered moringa. When the leaves are dry we blend it to make it into a powder.

Add moringa to your smoothies, teas, soups. Es bendita!

 

SPRING TEA

We love making herbal teas with the ingredients from our farm. You can make herbal teas with a vast variety of herbs and roots. The tea comes packaged in a recycled bag and we recommend putting the tea in a jar once it’s opened so it stays fresh. We used the following ingredients to make our spring calming and cleansing tea blend:

 

Moringa flowers

Lemon Verbena

Catnip

Turmeric

Calendula flowers

Allspice

Stevia leaf and flowers (a little sweet!)

 

To enjoy tea for two, boil 16 fl oz of water and pour over a hand full of the tea (or add more tea if you like it a little stronger) and let steep for 4-5 mins. Enjoy!

 

SPRING BATH

This is an ethereal spring cleansing bath of flowers. Fill your bath with warm water and add as much of this flower bath as you’ll like and then soak yourself into your own flower garden for 20 mins of bliss. We don’t add any fragrance because we believe in the natural scent of flowers. You can always add a few drops of your favorite organic essential oil to the bath.

 

In this spring floral bath, you will find:

Jasmine

Hibiscus

Ancient Salt

Calendula oil and flowers

OUR PACKAGING

Our packaging consists out of amber bottles, glass jars,  tin container, kraft paper bags and paper. All these are made in the USA and recyclable. Our labels are made our of recycled kraft paper and also made in the USA. Gabi hand types all of the labels with a 1960's Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriter.

 

This information is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease, as these statements have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA or any other organization. 

Always consult your healthcare professional before adding any new herbs or supplements to your regimen, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking pharmaceuticals.

mother earth