On Wednesday, May 29, I had the pleasure of visiting Natural Hope Herbals farm in Millersburg, PA. They are a small, local, Plain Community-based company that believes in the healing power of herbs. A large percentage of the herbs used in their products are grown or wild-crafted on their own property, most of which are cared for by family members and friends. The rest of the herbs used are either wild-crafted elsewhere using sustainable practices or purchased from licensed organic herbal retailers.
Their facilities were of the most pristine and organized I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Upon my arrival, Ben Stoltzfus gave me a tour of their facilities where they process all products. It was really incredible to learn that usually at mot 3-4 people process all of their products that they sell from start to finish. They have extremely rigorous standards and follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs) as required by the FDA. They have a greenhouse that acts as a drying room, and checklists/paperwork for every aspect of quality control possible. What a beautiful site to see the herbs macerating and the finished products (most of which live in a dark room to avoid light damage).
At Natural Hope Herbals they take allergies very seriously. Their whole facility is wheat, gluten, and peanut free. They do use Black Walnut in some of their formulas but I was amazed how those products from processing to production to bottling were kept separate and very clearly labeled as an allergen.
One of the herbal farms I visited was Ben’s property. Ben so graciously brought me to his home and showed me the picturesque and well-established herb gardens that his wife, Esther, was tending to. I was able to learn about the plants they grew and how they were beginning the process of harvesting some of the plants from his property to transplant to the newly purchased farm several miles away. The peace and serenity that surrounded his home and farm was something we don’t get to experience in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I am very grateful that Esther even dug up some plant medicine for me to transfer to my own medicinal garden. I was able to witness the care and love that went into the plants and it most certainly shows in their products.
After this visit at Ben and Esther’s farm, we went back to the main facility where I had the pleasure of meeting Rosanna King, Natural Hope’s staff herbalist. She is brilliant and I was honored to share conversation with her about the plants we love so dearly. We then met with Rick and drove down to his farm. There, Rick and some other farmers were beginning to tend the land and establish many more acres of an herb farm. Their goals include being able to harvest larger quantities on their own soil and have fresher herbs. Most of this land can already be given the USDA Organic certification as it has not been contaminated. As a steward of any land, the land that was not at the organic standard, the farmers are cultivating and repairing the soil over the years to come.
Rick so kindly showed us around his property and explained in great detail the beginnings of this beautiful farm. He moved here with his family and showed us his personal gardens and introduced us to his daughters. Every interaction of the day was that of such kindness and warmth.
I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome I was given and the openness of those at Natural Hope Herbals. They are a company that truly stands behind their mission. It is really important for me to know where my food and medicines come from and to see the standard such as this is very heartwarming. Thank you Natural Hope Herbals for inviting us to your farms and homes!