If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am all about local! At Coborn’s, we have so many great partners that supply us with honey, beef, dairy, soap, essential oils, popcorn, peanut butter and so much more! One of the best things about these local products is to know the source of where they come from. It gives us all a better understanding of the quality and the commitment of the producers when we know where our products are traveling from and the amount of time it took for them to reach our tables.
Do all “local” products come exclusively from Minnesota? Of course not (especially with our chilly winters!), but sometimes you need to think outside the box and imagine a new definition of local. That may mean understanding that you have the opportunity to close the distance your food is traveling. Choosing a fresh product that is produced with great care and pride and that is as close-to-home-as-can-be is always a great choice. Since not all of your food can come from right down the road, we must be smart about where we are choosing to spend our dollars on groceries.
This summer I traveled to North Carolina to visit one of our supplement suppliers, Gaia Herbs. They grow many of the plants they use in their supplements right at Gaia Farm, located in the southwestern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The farm is situated on a breathtakingly beautiful 250 acres of the one of the most diverse bioregions in North America. Their laboratory and production facility are also there.
Having this opportunity to visit the area allowed me to tour their farms and facilities and see everything for myself – or in other words see that our Coborn’s locations are bringing only the best to our guests. That circles back to the quality and commitment of the producers, which is one of my favorite aspects of local vendors!
Our group walked the fields with Ric Scalzo, founder and CEO of Gaia Herbs. He is one of North America’s most respected herbalists and botanical researchers. Joining us was Dr. Mary Bove, Director of Medical Education for Gaia. She is a naturopathic physician and herbalist.
It was truly amazing to walk the fields with such brilliant people and listen to them talk about the care given to the production of each herb and the uses for them. We walked fields of California Poppy, and watched the farmers harvesting them by hand. We stood silently in the Echinacea fields and listened to the hum of the bees going from flower to flower. We smelled the amazing scent of Lemon Balm as we gently rubbed the leaves of the plant. We rested in the shade of Gingko trees.
Even though it was extremely hot and even more humid than Minnesota, it was easy to walk for hours and listen to the story of each plant. It reinforced everything that I already know about Gaia, that they produce the best quality, most researched and efficacious herbal supplements possible.
And you can learn more from Gaia about your supplements. Through their Meet Your Herbs program, you can go to their website and enter the code on the package. For example, I am a huge fan of their Holy Basil Leaf. I can enter the identification number on the package and see all the details on where it was grown. I can even see photos of Holy Basil being harvested on the farm. All the batch details are there, the certificates guaranteeing purity, integrity, potency and so much more.
My two days at the farm flew by. I return confident in the fact that we are offering our guests at Coborn’s something more than worth the price tag on the bottle. We are supporting a company that works to better our planet and the people on it.
So remember, just as important as it is to support local farmers down the road as it is to know where your food is coming from and that it has been grown and raised in a honest and pure way.
Coborn’s, Inc. Natural Foods Category Manager
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