The Life of a Farmer, Herbalist, and Freelance Writer

Share This

I’m back after a long hiatus on this website. And my, has life changed in some wonderful ways.

Companion Planting | Iowa Herbalist

In my last and most recent article from almost a year ago, I shared with you all how I would be putting my writings about herbalism (for this website) on hold. That’s because in early 2017 my husband William Lorentzen and I finally started our own organic farm – Jupiter Ridge Mushrooms & Veg – a longtime dream.

Our first year has been amazing, full of its trials and tribulations in a way, but the rewards were worth it and our first year was definitely a success. A lot of hard work, energy, sacrifice, and uncertainty went into it all. But I can say with all honesty that I’m even more excited for the upcoming 2018 season than last year’s season.

Last spring, as it always is with farmers, was a time for a huge push to get Jupiter Ridge up off the ground and running. As part of that, I made some big pushes with my writing career, the only other source of income and side-hustle we had to fund our efforts – while putting my personal writings on the back burner.

I’d have to say, success in both areas of my life has unexpectedly come through. We did well at both Cedar Rapids and Dubuque farmers markets, and established some pretty amazing relationships with chefs in both cities and beyond. We got healthy, purely naturally-grown food to tons of people. Those relationships will continue into 2018, and I couldn’t look forward to them more – and to expanding on them.

At the same time, I started to step up my writing career a notch in spring, as it has been an important part of funding our farm endeavors. As a result, articles of mine (on sustainable agriculture and the plight of young farmers) have landed in The Guardian and Civil Eats. What more, I’ve become somewhat of a regular contributor to Rodale’s Organic Life, and a very regular contributor to Healthline on health/home remedy related content.

I’ve written about herbalism, farming, nutrition, sustainability, health, and everything in between, with more clients, article ideas, and publications on my horizon.

Shiitakes Picked | Jupiter Ridge Farm

With this year coming to a close and looking back, I’m excited for my husband and I to strike up more relationships with even more chefs, direct consumers, establishments, and most importantly, people in need. And in order to make that happen with more certainty, I’m stoked to keep pushing my writing career forward, with hopes and plans to get my writing even more and more out there and into more publications, and to work with new clients. (Or maybe a book someday? Who knows!)

Which is why, with delight, I was happy to recently return to this website and take a look at it with fresh, new eyes.

I’m now a farmer, herbalist, and freelance writer all in one. What more, my writing career is in need of it’s very own personal site to promote myself, and promoting our farming endeavors also as an extra would be a huge bonus.

A lot of my writings also focus on health, natural wellness, nutrition, and herbalism anyway, much like this website. I am an herbalist of course, a maker of products in my own personal time (with some hopes to sell health-oriented products alongside our produce and mushrooms), and this is a way to grow and represent my own craft to promote my writing career – as well as my own very unique approach to herbalism as a food-oriented organic grower.

So after a busy year, I’ve returned to Deer Nation Herbs and my personal writings, and I finally know how to seamlessly intertwine it all together as a farmer, herbalist, and freelance writer.

Herb Table | Iowa Herbalist
Photo Credit Hannah White

I’ve also been shocked by how, without any new blog posts or work on the website, it has nonetheless continued to expand with subscribers, social media followers, monthly visitors, and readers. Some of my articles have also risen the ranks quite quickly on Google. (I show up as #6 when you look up how to use a neti pot – I never aimed for that!) So I must be on to something.

As such, instead of welcoming you back to Deer Nation Herbs, I’d like to welcome you to Iowa Herbalist, where you can find all my latest writings, whether personal, professional, or published – and hopefully with a lot more frequency and posts than I have been able to put out over the years (and don’t worry, Deer Nation still exists as strictly the name of my herbalist operation). I bought the IowaHerbalist.com domain a couple years ago with plans on doing something with it, and I think it does fit with my writing career and projects quite nicely as a name.

Mixed together will be musings on farm life and its struggles, politics, joys, and the perspective of the young farmer. There will also be writings about herbs, mushrooms, plants, and vegetables, and how they can improve health – whether they are wildcrafted herbs or plants/produce that come straight from (yes!) our very own farm.

And, of course, peppered into all that will be farm updates, writing career news, and more about what this farmer, herbalist, and freelance writer has been up to.

For those interested in my writing work, you could even get in contact with me if you’d like to hire me to put an article or other writing project together for you. (Feel free to check out my portfolio.)

But what I’m most excited about: putting together herbal and plant-based recipes that incorporate farm-grown veggies, fungi, and herbs with wild foods and botanicals, and all with a wellness focus (minus all the woo-woo, health guru, and quackery camps – this is something foodie, wild, and entirely unique I’m aiming for). I have a huge list of ideas to develop, explore, write about, taste, test, make, and illucidate on all their health benefits and nutrition.

As a little preview, here are some of my upcoming projects: making chaga double extract, how to grow baby kale greens all winter, herbal kombuchas, herbal chai lattes, how to harvest herbs wisely in the Midwest, making hops bitters, and so much more.

Herbal Shrub Drink | Iowa Herbalist

Someday there may be products too – and if folks are open to it, there are always herbalist consultations. One day, this might also become part of our farm business’s newsletter to inform a future food & herbal CSA about the health benefits they might find in their own shares.

I’d also love to challenge readers about thinking of a farmer as an herbalist, and perhaps make more herbalists think about being farmers – and to also make people in the food and health worlds think about farmers and herbalists, period. Does it matter if I call myself an Iowa Herbalist rather than an Iowa Farmer? Do these two titles have to be mutually exclusive? There’s a lot to discuss here.

I want to thank all people reading this who have kept up with my writing: thank you for listening.

To those who have also helped my writing career get off the ground: thank you. The same goes for our farm. You know who you are. Thank you. I will be happy to see any of you join me on this new leg of my writing journey as a farmer, herbalist, and freelance writer all in one.

Spring Radish | Jupiter Ridge Farm

And while this blog will transform more into a professional, promotional site of sorts and less of a hobby site, I can assure you that I won’t be changing its content too much. I aim to make it still just as valuable to readers with it’s educational, crafty, foodie, herbal, and sometimes esoteric content.

What better way to promote yourself anyway, other than just doing what you like best and writing about it?

Putting Things On Hold…For Now

Share This

The time has come for me to take a little hiatus on herbalism (writing about it, that is).

Iowa Prairie | Iowa Herbalist

For those of you who have been reading up on my herbalist stuff: no, I won’t be gone forever.

The end of 2016 has brought about some startling changes that will, inevitably, take me away from my computer in my free time.

The biggest change of all: my farmer husband William Lorentzen and I are starting our own organic farm!

We’re working with generous land donor, Steve Beaumont, and SILT (the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust) to begin work on 5 acres in the Driftless Area of Iowa in Garber, not all that far from Elkader. Over the years, this could expand into up to 20 acres of operation.

The farm itself is situated on the closest thing that could be called a mountain in Iowa: an enormous bluff with 360 degree panoramic views, probably the highest point in Clayton County.

The whole mountaintop is planted with native prairie that has been in place for over 15 years, but is now ready to produce some healthful food for the surrounding areas, too.

Iowa Mountaintop | Iowa Herbalist

Veggies and shiitake mushrooms (quite possibly oyster mushrooms as well) will be the farm’s specialty. Plans are to make all these healthful, organic foods available at markets in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and possibly even Cedar Falls – perhaps Iowa City as well. Restaurants and Co-ops may be on our sights at some point, too, and potentially a CSA as well.

The name? Oak Savanna Mushrooms and Veg will be our farm name. Make sure to check out the website, and there will certainly be updates there to come. (We also toy with the idea of planting some of the mountaintop with oaks on the northern exposure side, to truly restore it partially into all-natural oak savanna in areas where veggies will be harder to grow).

As such, my focus will turn on organic veggies, and how these healing plant foods that should be made available to everyone.

However, I do hope to graft traditional herbalism into these endeavors somehow, and someday, while still being able to make ourselves a living – and this may be part of my journey of discovery through next year’s process.

Maybe products, a CSA, or something similar can become a part of this operation. It will take a lot of experience and getting acquainted with what’s possible, and how the worlds of herbalism and organic farming can truly meet.

Driftless Iowa | Iowa Herbalist

So this means less musings, writings, recipes, and rantings about herbs, health, and everything in between for most of 2017. At least, that’s what I predict.

All my time will be dedicated to my freelance writing work on herbalism, health, organic agriculture, gardening, food, nutrition, and so much more. I’m even planning on getting my feet wet in the world of farm-funding grants, both private and federal.

Any other time I’ll have will be fully dedicated to get this farm up and going!

I’m also to be an up-and-coming herbalist-in-residence for a blossoming herbal products company with a focus on women’s health specifically. That should be exciting, and also keep me plenty busy, too.

It’s hard to tell if I’ll find some time to write an informative blog post here and there.

But who knows: one or two might still be able to make it out. We’ll see. I hope to pick the pen back up when I know how to properly combine my work in real life with writing in a way that enhances them both harmoniously.

So, until then: I’ll be on the Iowan mountaintop!

Herbalist Consultations Now Available!

Share This

Hand craft these delicately delicious syrups for a cooling, sweet treat topping or cocktail addition - with some healing benefits to boot.

Do you live near the Driftless in northeastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, or Decorah, and are looking for herbalist consultations?

Iowa herbalist Adrian White is happy to provide educational herbal consultations.  If you have been looking for an alternative, natural approach to improving basic wellness and self-care in your personal life – and you live in the Driftless or Eastern Iowa area – Adrian White is a mobile herbalist and professional health/wellness writer willing to come to your home or rendezvous with you elsewhere for consultation (herbal consultation office being a work in progress).

See how plant therapy and nutrition can apply to your life style, struggles, and overall wellness situation.


Mullein Apothecary | Iowa Herbalist

Adrian White is a certified herbalist through two programs since 2012, and has studied and practiced herbalism since 2009, both independently and with stellar herbalists. Her teachers include Stephany Hoffelt of Naturally Simple Living and Charles Garcia, director of the California School of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism.

She is a also a regular contributor to Rodale’s Organic Life and Healthline. She works with many clients writing content, copy, and professional/educational content informed by her own herbalist knowledge, training, and research.

Clients include Primal Herb LLC, Paradise Herbs, Natural Health SherpaFoodUndressed!/Eva McLaurinand the International Association of Wellness Professionals.

Issues Adrian is happy to walk through and tackle with you:

  • Anxiety/Mild Depression Support
  • Female Health
  • Male Health
  • Menstrual support
  • Fertility support
  • Immune System Support
  • Digestive Issues/Gut Health
  • Thyroid Support
  • Basic good nutrition practices
  • …and more

The consultation stems from an herbalist-based practice, but it does not end there.

Adrian may recommend an herb, blend of herbs, or even a variety of vegetables, fruits, nutrients, and wild foods for you. Consultations may also involve lifestyle change recommendations and nutrition suggestions.

Herb walks and wildcrafting could also be a feature, with instructions on how to identify, harvest, and prepare certain plants on your own that might be deemed a good fit for your situation, as well as with what’s available in your area.

Garden consulting can also be an educational part of her time with you, when the season is right. This involves education on how to grow certain foods and herbs yourself. Adrian is an organic farmer and gardener of near a decade, and co-owner of Jupiter Ridge Farm, which grows sustainable produce and shiitake mushrooms.

If certain clients are interested, Adrian may provide astrological chart readings, I Ching readings, and dream work to those who seek it. Adrian was a practicing professional astrologist for 3 years.

However, it should be noted: Adrian is an herbalist with a very scientific, practical approach to using herbs for health, often referring to studies and research data that support the best remedies of today, as well as those which are also backed by historical and traditional use.

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, less “woo woo” herbalist to sit down and talk with, Adrian tends to keep the frilly trends of “magical” herbalism and mysticism out of the picture when it comes to the seriousness of people’s physical health – though that’s not to say she doesn’t believe or speculate on mysticism if you want to go down that road.

Kale Bowl | Iowa Herbalist

Consultations typically last 1-2 hours, at $50 per consult or per hour, and can be made up of any combination of the above approaches that are appropriate for the client or that the client requests. Consultation fees do not include the costs of materials, herbs, or other products recommended or given during the consult.

Adrian is open also to trade or bartering, and a sliding scale may be applied. No one will be turned away. Clients of any race, origin, religion, gender, or sexual orientation are welcome.

Perhaps a certain vegetable or herb could be an integral part of improving wellness in your life.  Adrian can then show a client how to grow certain vegetables or herbs, whether in their own backyards or their homes, to have access to them themselves and feel empowered in their own health – that, or learn how to access them in the wild, source or purchase them, and/or prepare them on their own.

INITIAL CONSULTATION FEE: $50 per visit(products, recommendations, and other services may be extra).  Pay cash or online by clicking the link to the right.

Please contact me by emailing deernationherbs@gmail.com to schedule a consult. Advice, help, suggestions, or ideas on how to improve your health are welcome.

IMG_1466

WHAT CAN HERBS DO?

To me, herbs are the pumped-up version of “eat your vegetables.”  Herbs are foods that we should consider implementing into our diets more and more in order to help our bodies reach the equilibrium that they have lost – even if we can only incorporate them in small increments.

Perhaps they don’t taste like french fries or ribeye.  But some herbalists could argue that our intolerance of the “less easy” tastes of bitter herbs and vegetables is what has caused our falling from grace from good health in the first place, especially in the Western World.

Herbs are not medicines.  They might be called medicines, though they more so support the body’s natural healing processes, not that much differently from nutrients – while some may have more dramatic effects than others.

My primary wish in becoming an herbalist comes from wanting to help people; but as herbalists, we cannot say or act in the place of doctors.  We cannot diagnose, prescribe, or cure.  But we can certainly help and work with people to better improve wellness, self-care, and lifestyle so that it better supports overall health in a holistic way.

According to legalities and ways we view modern mainstream medicine, herbs simply cannot and do not fit with convention.  Herbs need their own category- not quite a medicine, not quite a supplement, and not quite a food.

In my practice, however, herbs are herbs.  The closest to anything else in how they act on our bodies is like a supplemented food, in a way. They are a wholesome, healthful, natural food that speeds up the body’s natural processes and urges it to be well and heal itself.  I know herbs well, and research voraciously wherever there are holes in my understanding as a huge part of my freelance writing work.

I hope that one day herbs can be regulated completely different from food, supplements, AND medicine all together, but that is a story for another time.

Coupled with good, healthy choices, persistence, nutrition, lifestyle practices, and optimism, adding herbs into your life can slowly but surely change around some of the most stubborn, deeply-ingrained health imbalances.

Even better, it can prevent the very worst that could happen – even if it is already set in motion – from happening.

Ginger Rhizomes | Iowa Herbalist

Fascinatingly enough, many of our mainstay culinary herbs were once used as healing additions to our meals.  Rosemary, thyme, and ginger, for example, were not just added to foods for taste.  They had noticeable effects on the body too in positive ways, through actions and chemical constituents that are observed even today by both folk tradition and modern science.

As an herbalist (and an organic farmer), one of my greatest passions and goals is to bring together the infinite possibilities and myriad choices you can have when you combine herbs with healing foods.  It’s easy…and you can find or integrate that kind of healing in practically every recipe.

With a client, I will sit down and listen to the issues on hand and try to find an herb, food, formula, plan, or other that will help enhance health in their situation.  Before the initial consult, I may ask you to fill out some information on your health history, especially if your health history is complicated. This is to avoid making wrong herb choices for you.

It can be a bit like detective work, at first, until you find that perfect herb or herbal combination that fits. Who knows – it may turn out that you don’t really need an herb at all, but something completely different. The choices and wealth of food and herbal knowledge out there is extensive and overwhelming. That’s what herbalists are for.

Starting off with one consultation, a little session with me could get the ball rolling on some both tasty and healthy ideas to boost your health – and the rest of the work and magic is completely up to you.

If you are seeking this kind of service in the Driftless or Eastern Iowa, please feel free to contact me.

Contact me also just for custom tincture/extract formulas, suited to your individual needs, if desired.

Email: Adrian White, deernationherbs@gmail.com

Soy yerbera disponsible por servicio en Iowa.   Se habla espanol.

Fresh Beets | Iowa Herbalist