Nutritional Values & Practices

apothecary, herbalism, nutrition, herbal hutch filled shelves full of jars of dried herbs

Over the years, our dietary principles have remained relatively consistent. However, articulating a precise description of our diet has proven challenging. At its foundation, the concept is pretty straightforward: we prioritize the consumption of real, unprocessed/minimally processed foods. Yet, the exact definition of ‘real food’ remains somewhat ambiguous.

When contemplating ‘real food’, whole foods come to mind—ingredients in their original form and/or consisting of single components or easily recognizable components. Our diet includes a variety of items such as meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and fish. The goal is nutrient dense, easily digestible, compatible with our individual bodies and of course, delicious. We craft an array of culinary delights like bread, pasta, and assorted pastries. Moreover, we gather herbs and collect fresh produce from our garden, incorporating our harvests into our recipes. Engaging in creative pursuits together in the kitchen, we concoct herbal teas, oxymels, tinctures and fill capsules, both for enjoyment and medicinal purposes. Our activities involve collecting bountiful basil for pesto, processing copious amounts of tomatoes and apples for making applesauce and canning pasta sauce to last the year, elderberry picking for syrup and more. 

Each year, we split a cow with a friend to replenish our freezer with grass-fed beef and participate in a local farm's CSA program. CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, offers a unique opportunity to support and invest in local farms and communities by receiving a portion of the farm's produce. While specifics may vary among memberships, the fundamental concept involves an upfront payment for a share at the season's commencement, aiding the farm financially during the initial stages of the growing season. This initial investment fosters a sense of trust and collaboration. In exchange, members regularly collect their shares from a designated location and may even have the chance to partake in pick-your-own sessions. Each share is subject to variation based on weekly harvests, share size, or other factors.

One of the appealing aspects of our CSA share is the pre-selection process, where instructions provided at pick-up guide members on what to collect, such as 'one bag of greens,' allowing for choice within specified categories like leafy greens. This approach has introduced us to a plethora of new and diverse produce, encouraging experimentation and expanding our knowledge of the plant kingdom.

Engaging in weekly grocery shopping has evolved into a cherished family ritual. Our routine involves visiting the farm to collect our provisions and exploring the farmers market to indulge in local music, seasonal delights, and specialty items. Central to our philosophy is the belief that food serves as a form of medicine. Therefore, we prioritize consuming locally and organically sourced products. Recognizing the profound impact of diet on our well-being, we emphasize the importance of a strong immune system and a nourishing foundation for optimal health. Embracing the notion that our dietary choices shape who we are (aka, we are what we eat), I am committed to producing a significant portion of our food and sourcing the remainder locally. This approach allows me to gain insight into the food production process and develop a profound appreciation for the web that is our food supply chain.

And what would a witch’s kitchen be without an apothecary? Naturally, the garden overflows into the kitchen and the apothecary hutch is cluttered with dried flowers, leaves, roots and mushrooms galore preserved from the garden or sourced as ethically as possible. The shelves are precariously arranged to store tinctures, oxymels, blends for infusions and flower essences. The ‘herb room’ is located just off the kitchen and beckons young and old with its fragrant offerings. The kids in particular love to spend time here. Amidst the whimsical chaos of forgotten baskets of crunchy herbs and playful kitchen antics, a deeper connection to the food production process emerges, weaving a tapestry of appreciation for the intricate dance of nature's bounty. In this witch's kitchen, every ingredient tells a story, every concoction a whispered secret, and every meal a celebration of the interconnectedness that sustains us all.