Hey there followers and subscribers! I know I haven’t written many new posts… (I hope for that to change – but as you’ll see soon, I’ve been quite busy!)… BUT, my first book on herbalism is coming out this NOVEMBER… on the 1ST! That’s only 1 week away!
If you want to preorder it or buy it eventually after the publication date, here are the links you can follow to snatch up a book of your very own!
Herbalism: Plants and Potions That Heal | Available by preorder from:
HOWEVER!!!…you could get one for FREE because I’m also doing a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY! I have FIVE free beautiful books that would LOVE new homes on the bookshelves of either an experienced herbalist or total newbie— this book is great for both. It’s a GORGEOUS small hardcover book: you can slip it in a large coat pocket or have it live in your purse. It has beautiful golden embossed pages, drawings, and cover print that will really pop out on your bookshelf!
The book is being published by Arcturus Publishing, and I couldn’t be happier with the way the book was designed and its appearance – it’s a beauty! It’s a small guide that gives you a FULL introduction to learning herbalism: harvesting herbs, making preparations, the energetics of herbs (one of my faves!), some history, monographs on specific herbs, contributions from herbalists/experts/chefs, and lots more.
It’s also a great addition to the reading and studying of already well-practiced herbalists! I would also imagine its a perfect book to choose for your herbalist course, if you teach one, to get your new students acquainted with and started on the learning path: it’s compact, rich with information, but light, breezy reading.
To enter the giveaway: please check out my social media pages on the right hand side to learn how to participate! THE DEADLINE to put in entries is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT! (10/26)! Depending on the social media platform, to participate in the giveaway is summarized by these following ways to put in entries:
Like the post (One entry)
Share the post to Feed/Stories (One entry – two if you add/use the hashtag #iowaherbalist, three if you tag me/one of my pages/add more to story/post to boost the giveaway!)
On Christmas eve this year– a holiday I become more and more uncertain about how I wish to celebrate or appreciate– I planted garlic.
It was late in the ground for many reasons. And if you’re a farmer, you’ll see this December post in the Midwest and very much understand how late this is. But, finding soft, plant-able soil on a warm day in the dead of winter felt like a sign that it’s still possible, maybe meant to be, that I could still fulfill my goal of having a whole garlic bed completely dedicated to both food and medicine creation.
So, I lurched forward. I just needed to do it. And I finally had the energy to do so. Even if it happened to fall on a holiday. (Such can be the nature of farming).
It got me thinking about how farmers are so hard on themselves, often for what feels like such unreasonable and, I should add, very outdated reasons to me. This includes yours truly: I’ve been so hard on myself for not working at full physical capacity this year. Even if for completely understandable reasons, such as learning how to manage a new chronic illness, which I am only now just figuring out how to put a dent in what feels like never-ending pain while still managing to grow things for part of my living. And which was why the garlic was planted so late.
It’s been a lesson in surrender. Old me would have been upset, freaking out to be planting on a Holiday. I would be beating myself up that I hadn’t gotten it done earlier so that I could just relax, or maybe just because most farmers would be embarrassed or wince at me for saying it got done this late. All because pain and life circumstances I couldn’t control had stopped me earlier, and I was forced to slow down, pay attention to it, listen to it, actually attend to it. But even then, thinking, “I’m such a bad farmer.” All because I had to put myself first at those times – put me and my body before my ideals.
I’ve farmed and worked at farms for about 12 years now, about 7 years of that having managed fully operational farms or running my own. I took pride in the farmer culture I absorbed in my 20’s, yes. That you simply run yourself into the ground running your business and growing food for your community, and that’s that, that’s how you’re a true farmer. And run myself into the ground I did, proudly. Days off, what? Taking time off in the summer? Are you insane? That person is not a real farmer, if…. fill in the blank. That was during a time when I was younger and my body could afford to pay for that ethos.
Where did this ethos come from, I wonder? That you are not a “true” farmer if you do not rise at the crack of dawn, daily, with automatic joy and cheer? That having no days off to care for yourself and loved ones is to be worn like a badge of pride? That the less subsidized your farming is by other pursuits or careers (or dare I say, the government or grants) the “purer” it is? That you’re ungrateful and spoiled if you inherit the family farm and land, and will have no true taste of what scraping out the farming living was ever truly like – Or, inversely, if you’re the first generation of farmers in your family ever (or for a long time), you’re still not a “true” farmer somehow?
And lastly, that somehow, unsustainable self-sacrifice is all part of the practice of running a sustainable farm? And if you’re not doing all of this while turning a profit, you’re still nowhere near what a true farmer is, or was?
This does not sound very sustainable to me. Between you and me, I do not think it is an ethos that was dreamed up by farmers themselves. And because I ascribe myself less and less to these things as I get older, the less and less I feel like I am a “true” farmer, or a “real” farmer, and others might agree…but I can’t help but wonder why this is. Do shame and perfectionism have to be the fuel for growing food? What does shame accomplish?
I look at my peers and what they share publicly, however, and how giving one’s growing passions almost entirely to economic or perfectionistic gain seems to be the norm. And, when things inevitably go wrong– which they always do when farming, as we toy with a thin line between life and death that we can never completely control– farmers are crushed by the the loss of a crop, a weather event, or the death of an animal or several animals that are only happenings in nature we could never hope to control. But we still carry all the shame, as if we have not done enough.
I continue to wonder. Where are the farmers of old who held tight to these ethos, and how are they doing? How are their families doing? Do they still have their lands, their jobs, their occupations, their fully intact farming legacy? Who profited off that legacy, the farmers themselves…or someone else? Are these farmers and their progeny mentally healthy chasing these ideals in today’s day and age? Are they happy? Physically well? How did they manage to pursue this perfect ethos when grief, tragedy, loss, and chronic illness outside of the farming passion emerged out of nowhere to flatten them? While they farmed, were they good to their partners, their families, their children? Was putting food on the table enough?
Did the community, the economy, and the government compensate them for this self-sacrifice? Now as I approach my mid-30’s, and take stock of where my body is now after all that, I realize I can’t pay for this ethos anymore. I feel a strong respect and kudos to those who still can, and do. If this causes me to fall into a different category of person for you, so be it.
My very late planting of garlic could have brought me a ton of crushing shame, worry, and anxiety.
Instead, it turned into a delightful, sacred-feeling moment on the ridgetop. I was completely wreathed in fog while pushing cloves into the soft earth that next year will turn into food and medicine for many people.
I found I didn’t care it was Christmas eve at all, I most didn’t notice. Nor that the planting was late, or that I was working on a holiday covered in mud, still :trying” to farm well.
What I did notice is that growing things had been woven into my life in a way that was almost secondhand, natural, and enjoyable under the right circumstances– one of these having a pain-free body in that moment– to the point where it was laborious, sure, but did not feel like “work.” To be more specific, the act of planting garlic late did not fill me with shame. I was just in the present.
And I was just happy. Because the moment and meaning behind it was beautiful, and I felt grateful and humbled that I could even do this with my life, period.
So, here’s to warm feelings on this winter occasion, dear blog readers out there, no matter how and what you celebrate. Whether you consider yourself a farmer, an herbalist, or just a unique person who transcends those labels but happens to like growing healthful food, to make healthful food, to take care of plants, and to make abundantly healthful things out of those plants.
This blog post is also a bit of an update on my transformation as both a farmer and herbalist, in response to chronic illness, with more updates to follow on this soon. Next year, as I grow things forJupiter Ridge Farm alongside my husband, I’m putting a renewed focus on the types of things I grow having a strong overlap with the health and herbalism world – and delving into some flavor artistry as well.
My goal is to create more health- and herbalist-related products from the many things I grow. I’m also intent on having more and more of what I grow, that cannot be sold or crafted, donated and landing in communities in need. There will not only be an expansion to our online shop, but an Etsy shop as well with wider shipping options, and to be able to share the magic of what I grow on the ground here, in Driftless Iowa soil, with people beyond Iowa as well. A lot of people are completely unaware of Iowa’s overlooked magic and I wish to change that, as I truly feel I’ve chosen to live and grow in an endlessly magical place. Updates on this soon…
A CSA next year is up in the air but still very possible, with much fewer members and a much greater emphasis on Farm Share boxes that will be more customizable and directly delivered to you. Think an online produce store and apothecary – even now I’m feeling how non-traditional this is in the farming world, but realizing how little I care as long as healthy food, nutrition, and herbs can get to people.
I’m trying to remind myself and embody the lesson that if you’re a farmer, it doesn’t help to be too hard on yourself, compare what you do with others, or burn yourself out running everything into the ground pursuing outdated ideals or some notion of the “perfect farm” – ideals that have helped me for years, but now feel obsolete.
What matters more to me is that the food itself comes out of the ground and nourishes others, and that I can learn to do it in a way that nourishes myself in the process.
As I continue to grow, learn, and produce as a farmer and herbalist, I’m excited by the possibilities and what passions I can still create when I take the extra time to take care of my mind and body first, now that I’m just learning.
It is daunting to think of “time lost” in the efficient mind of a farmer that is instead going towards better health and taking care of the self. But then I think of all the time lost to abandoning pain, imbalance, and the shame felt afterwards when burning myself out made me lose time regardless in the first place. We all start to run right up against our limitations as we get older….
….and if farming and growing things for a living isn’t teaching us that, then are we really listening?
I’m back after a long hiatus on this website. And my, has life changed in some wonderful ways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The time has come for me to take a little hiatus on herbalism (writing about it, that is).
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.
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.
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.
Do you live near the Driftless in northeastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, or Decorah, and wish to consult an herbalist? Looking for an online consultation?
Iowa herbalist Adrian White is happy to provide educational herbal consultations both in-person and online. If you’ve been looking for an alternative natural approach to improving basic wellness and self-care in your personal life – no matter where you live! – get expert and professional advice either through an in-person consultation on Adrian’s farm (to be scheduled far in advance) or through convenient online correspondence (email, direct message through social media, whichever you prefer).
Learn how plant therapy and nutrition can both enhance and support your lifestyle and overall wellness situation.
Adrian White is a certified herbalist through two programs since 2012, and has studied and practiced herbalism since 2009, both independently and with stellar herbalist teachers. She first learned herbal healing from locals near Vilcabamba, Ecuador in South America, where she spent four months on a farm during an internship through her University. Those who have professionally trained her include herbalist and ethnobotanist Stephany Hoffelt of Naturally Simple Living, who trained her rigorously on all proper professional approaches to herbal protocols, herbal production creation and sales, and client consultations; as well as curandero Charles Garcia, director of the California School of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism on herbal and spiritual healing, product development, and more.
For more than a decade, Adrian White has worked with over 100 health, wellness, nutrition, and herbalism-related clients completing deep-diving herbalism research projects and producing written content, copy, training material, and educational blog and article content on a near-daily basis. Her work can be found all over the web on nutrition, health, wellness, herbalism, and gardening sites; as well as in product content, professional content, promotional content, and web copy for numerous supplement, health food, or natural living companies (including Primal Herb, Crystal Star Supplements, Dr. Tobias, Natureland, Earth Conscious Life, and many others).
Liver Health and Detox Support (Lymphatic system, etc.)
Basic good nutrition practices (plant-based, animal-based, etc.)
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 plant-based (vegetables, fruits, etc.) foods, sometimes animal-based foods, nutrients, or wild foods. Consultations may also involve lifestyle change recommendations and nutrition suggestions in order to enhance the effects of herbal or nutrition recommendations.
Consultations typically last 1-2 hours after client fills and returns their intake form, at $120 per consult, 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: $120 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consult. Advice, help, suggestions, or ideas on how to improve your health are welcome.
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.
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.