Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesdays at Goldthread

Goldthread is amazingly bountiful at this time of year and we're ready to share some of the harvest! Our first community-supported medicine share of the season will be ready for distribution on Tuesday, August 2nd, and some of the potential offerings will include bulk herbs like nettles, chocolate mint, and tulsi; tinctures of skullcap, lemon balm, and California poppy; oils of calendula and lavender; hydrosols of lavender, clary sage and spruce; honey infused with lemon balm or tulsi, and perhaps some fresh garlic cloves and basil, in bloom above.

Speaking of calendula, the flowers are back again — this is the third or fourth time interns have harvested these rows of orange and gold, a pleasantly sticky task.

The garlic (whose abundant spring scapes it seems we were just enjoying) was also ready for harvest. Much of it will be used in our potent Fire Cider, a mix of local apple cider vinegar, garlic, cayenne, fresh cilantro, and fennel, cumin, and coriander seeds. Using it to warm one's body on a cold winter's night can help fend off colds and transports a little of summer's heat and sunlight to the colder, darker days of winter.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves — there's still 9 weeks left in the Farm to Pharmacy program!

— Melanie, Goldthread Marketing (and Farm to Pharmacy intern)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesdays at Goldthread

Today was another gorgeous, sunny Farm to Pharmacy day at Goldthread, where the harvesting and medicine-making continue. . . 

Lavender flowers.

Lavender sage honey. We also made a lavender oil today, especially beneficial in the treatment of burns.

We found the Greek mullein flowering even more profusely 
than it was last week . . .

and abuzz with bees.

We harvested about two-thirds of the blooms for medicine, 
and left the rest for them.

California poppy plants, harvested, cleaned, and ready to be tinctured.

The fragrant leaves and flowers of Coastal yarrow, 
ready for garbling and distillation.

A young praying mantis hunting in the Gotu kola bed.

We were also joined by a special guest today — a reporter from WFCR 
New England Public Radio interviewed many of the interns this morning about their experiences in the Farm to Pharmacy program. 
We'll post a link to the story here when it airs!

— Melanie, Goldthread Marketing (and Farm to Pharmacy intern)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesdays at Goldthread

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to participate in Goldthread's Farm to Pharmacy program, planting, harvesting, and learning how to properly process and use medicinal herbs, I hope to give you a weekly glimpse at the banquet of color and texture we experience at Goldthread's Conway, Massachusetts farm on Tuesdays. Enjoy!

Harvest baskets full of Angelica and calendula, ready for the drying room.

Chocolate mint after being harvested, dried, and garbled, the process of 
hand-picking the leaves from the stems of the plants.

Dried calendula and mugwort.

Farm to Pharmacy interns harvesting the intoxicatingly sweet scented flowers of Clary sage . . .

. . . which were immediately brought to the wood-fired steam distiller and transformed into both an essential oil and its less concentrated co-product, hydrosol.

A floral water such as this one is perfect for applications where an essential oil would be too strong. They can be spritzed directly on the skin, added to creams, or used to freshen up a room.  


The learning garden.

The towering Greek mullein were also ready for harvest on Tuesday. 

Combined with fresh garlic and infused in olive oil, mullein is a traditional remedy for ear aches and ear infections and is a best-seller at our apothecary in Florence, MA.

Grassroots medicine — a feast for the senses! 

— Melanie, Goldthread Marketing (and Farm to Pharmacy intern)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Planting the Seeds of Community Herbalism (and a contest!)

Welcome to The Thread! There's so much happening this summer at both the Goldthread farm and the apothecary that it's hard to know what news to share first. One of the most exciting developments, however, is the addition of a new program to our educational offerings, an 11 month long Community Herbalist course that begins this September. With classes taking place over the course of eight weekends throughout the year and culminating in a week-long intensive in August 2012, we're hoping students from both near and far can join us. Together we'll learn how to use herbs as the foundation of a cost effective, sustainable health care system at the individual, family, and community level.

Appropriate for health care professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of complementary medicine as well as those without previous experience who have a sincere interest in herbal medicine, participants in the Community Herbalist Program will study herbal theory and philosophy from a traditional Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic perspective, gaining in-depth knowledge of materia medica, formulation, traditional diagnosis, pathophysiology, herbal therapeutics, and traditional and modern dietetics.

Classes will take place at our 3+ acre medicinal herb farm in the beautiful hills of Conway, MA as well as at our herbal apothecary in Florence, MA. Students will have the opportunity to dig in the dirt, plant, harvest, and get to know medicinal herbs firsthand; learn about the distillation of essential oils with Goldthread’s on-site 85-gallon wood-fired distiller; and participate in the process of making a wide variety of commonly used preparations such as tinctures, salves, infused oils, creams, teas, decoctions, syrups, elixirs, cordials, compresses, poultices, tablets, powders, medicinal ghees, honeys, and more.

The Teachers:
William Siff is an experienced Clinical Herbalist and Licensed Acupuncturist who draws from Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbal traditions. Bill owns and operates Goldthread, a medicinal herb farm, apothecary, distillery, and education center in Western Massachusetts and travels throughout the US teaching about grassroots herbal medicine.

Mary Ryan graduated from Oxford University in England with a Masters in Human Biology and a PhD in medical anthropology in 1997. For her PhD she apprenticed in Asian medicine and researched its benefits for broader application in aid work. She maintains her acupuncture license in Europe, and is board certied in Chinese herbal medicine.

Full details (dates, cost, and curriculum) are available at Goldthead’s website:

You Share - We Share:
Help us spread the news about our Community Herbalist Program and be entered to win a delicious 2 oz. bag of Goldthread's Tulsi Rose Chai Tea (a fusion of Goldthread Farm Tulsi, Rose petals, and Chai spices) and a 9 oz. jar of Goldthread's spirit elevating Holy Basil Raw Honey! 

How to enter (it's easy):

1. Share this post on your own blog (it's ok to snag the photos for use in your post). You can earn a second entry by also becoming a follower of The Thread.

2. Come back to this post and leave us a comment, sharing a link to your Community Herbalist post and letting us know if you've also become a follower so we can enter your name in our drawing twice.

We will close the contest Sunday, July 31 at 12:00 pm EST and choose a winner by random draw, which we will announce the first week of August.

Thank you for helping us share the news!