Maybe like me, you have yearned to get close to the land, to nature and find peace in the rhythm of the earth. In late 2020 I joined the herbal apprenticeship at Phytofarm near Little River. We studied together for 4 days each season. https://phytofarm.co.nz/
I chose to stay at Phytofarm glamping in the bell tent, amongst the fruit trees in the Orchard. One night I had a possum for company in the apple tree close by.
It felt both luxurious with a heater, lamp and rug in the tent and also so close to nature seeing the dancing shadows of the trees on through the tent canvas.
In the Spring term we learned about and gathered herbs for cooking, infusing oils, vinegars, making rubs, herb salts and herb teas.
In Summer we studied how to make skin care preparations from moisturisers to body butter, sun screen, after sun, balms and salves.
In Autumn we made hydrosols, tonic vinegars, oxymels, syrups, herbal honey and throat and mouth preparations, all ready for protecting against winter coughs and colds.
Here above I am gathering Yarrow- styptic in nature, so able to ease bleeding wounds.
We learned how to harvest plants, which parts to use and their properties for use in different conditions. Then we dried the herbs in the drying room. Here I am hanging bunches of yarrow to dry.
We harvested Elderberries and dried them on the drying paper on racks. Elderberries are so good for supporting the chest and lungs. So rich and delicious in a syrup.
Once the berries are dehydrated, like dried currants, I removed the berries from the stalks.
Summer’s bounty of salves, balms, rose face cream, sun screen, after sun, massage oil, insect repellant, tea and golden calendula infused organic oil.
Winter’s collection is my own devised and created First Aid Kit with a spray for toothache, Kawakawa cream, Fennugreek syrup, Throat balm containing pine, Arnica salve for bruising and Calendula, Kanuka and Chamomile ointment for dermatitis. What a way to finish the Herbal apprenticeship.