~Milk & Honey Herbs is a small, diversified, family-owned business in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. We believe that community health and ecological health are intrinsically connected and hope that Milk & Honey Herbs positively contributes to both~
Had the most gorgeous day today✨ Spent the morning learning traditional basket weaving with skill-keeper Alfredo LaPlaca in the small mountain town of Blufi. They’re made with local Willow and Wild Olive (Olea europea var. sylvestris). He also showed me to how peel the fruit of Fico d’india (Optunia ficus-indica), a species of Prickly Pear as big as a tree that likely came here with the Spanish 500-800 years ago and is now a traditional food! You can eat them raw (see them peeled in the 4th pic in one of Alfredo’s handmade baskets) and yesterday we had the skins barttered and fried at pranza (lunch)- amazing. His three amazing daughters, Christina, Elizabeth, and Louisella, made us “a snack” (see my stories for pics) and they had a whole wall decorated with his baskets and work which they decorated with local hawthorn boughs (pic 5), rose hips and garlic braids 😭 He also had some traditional wheat weavings from a town close by- Petrolia- that traditionally go on top of a huge pole that they stick in the ground, hang long colorful ribbons from, and do traditional dances around (sound familiar!?!?!) on Ferragosto/The Assumption of Mary on August 15th which has pagan roots (clearly!) and was traditionally a celebration of the wheat harvest- which is a big deal here on the island of Demeter and Persephone💗 Oh, and then I got to meet this 500 year old olive tree that’s hollow inside that you can actually put your head inside and see the sun through😱 And honestly so much more than I can even articulate right now! All the soul level resonance happening here and it’s is so incredible and so healing, so validating, and so hard, so painful and so beautiful all at the same time... #ancestralskills #reweaving #plantcestors #sicilia #milkandhoneyherbs
I made it, I’m here! All the feelings today but I think this pretty much says it all💃🏻🙏🏼🌋❤️🌿 #catania #sicilia #aglio #ancestralfoods #medicina #milkandhoneyherbs
Taking my own advice and making a Reishi and Turkey Tail Chai! (along with some Birch Polypore thrown in there for good measure😌). This month’s Patreon class is Medicinal Mushrooms in the Kitchen and our herb-of-the-month is Reishi!⚡️ I love the Patreon classes so much bc to me it represents accessible herbalism- the classes start at just $5/mo and you get access to all the past classes too which include my Tick Bite Protocol, Making High Summer Salve, and Seaweed Medicine✨ And you can choose to join us for our monthly materia medicas too! So far we’ve covered Japanese Knotweed, Yarrow, and Bladderwrack. With school back in full swing my kiddos have already caught their first cold and I got it from them! I was like NOPE, not happening, bc I fly to Sicily tomorrow so I hit this Chai pretty hard along with a few other trusted herbal allies, plus vitamin c, plus I went to bed early and today I’m feeling sooooo much better. Yay herbs! I share my Reishi Chai recipe this month in our class all on things Reishi and it’s a nice addition to your favorite Chai blend😌 Classes drop around the 15th of each month so they’re coming-out soon! They’re audio recordings (basically podcast format) so you can listen to them on the go and at your leisure. You can learn more about my Patreon classes and sign-up to join us at the link in my profile 🍄❤️🙏🏼 #medicinalmushrooms #reishi #turkeytail #kitchenmedicine #kitchenwitch #mushroomchai #tea #coldseason #immunityboost #milkandhoneyherbs
💥Medicinal Plant Conservation PSA 💥 Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) emerging, with last year’s seed heads✨ This is a plant too RARE and slow-growing to harvest however the flower essence is amazing and a great way to work with it! This is a friendly herbal PSA that if you’re harvesting at-risk plants you’re a part of the problem not the solution! Learn the @unitedplantsavers at-risk and to-watch plant lists, learn local analog species, grow these at-risk species if you can, and educate your community when you see them being harvested or put into inappropriate products like kombucha and shampoo (I kid you not I’ve seen Echinacea in shampoo and Chaga in kombucha 🤦🏻♀️). I really feel like to be an herbalist you also have to be a medicinal plant conservationist and a voice for the plants!
#ghostpipe #monotropauniflora #medicinalplantconservation #herbalist #herbalism #floweressences #plantconservation #unitedplantsavers #milkandhoneyherbs
In just 2 short weeks I’ll be embarking on a journey to the ancestral homelands of my father’s mother people, Sicily❤️, with @marybethbonfiglio and fellow pilgrims and also on my own. I’ll be visiting sacred sites, learning ancestral crafts and traditional food ways, swimming in the Mediterranean, making offerings to mama Mt Etna, and so so much more✨ I have so many feelings surrounding this trip and what’s really coming through are the layers of goddess/matriarchal/divine feminine worship that seems to run so deep on this ancient island. From deep catholic-rooted reverence for Mother Mary (my grandmother was a fervent devotee) to the cult of Demeter that thrived on the island, as evident by the temple ruins, incredible artifacts, and also the fact that the myth of Persephone’s decent into the underworld is said to have taken place on Sicily 😱, to the deep matrifocal roots of the Neolithic indigenous peoples who were colonized by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Many of the Neolithic sacred sites became the sites of Greek temples, then Roman temples, then Arab mosques, and then Catholic churches! But if you dig benearth the surface just a tiny bit many of these ancient caves and grottos (some dating back to at least 12,000 BC) that were sites of ancient divine feminine reverence and connection not only still exist but are still completely accessible! This is a long meandering post, but of course I also wanted to learn about the plants and was so thrilled to find this book on Sicily’s roadside plants, Persephone’s Path, so aptly named! The second picture is of Ma and Pa, my grandmothers parents, Raymond Latino and Antonina Latino (Pusateri). Pa was born in Sicily in Aragona and Ma was born here in Worcester, MA in 1906 but her father was Sicilian, born in Termini Immerse and her mother was born in Avellino near Naples. There are more family stories I’ve been collecting about them in preparation for this trip then will fit in this post! Pa had a HUGE garden and a plant nursery and Ma was (of course) a ridiculously good cook! When my dads cousin Sue asked her to teach her to cook she told her to bring over 12 DOZEN eggs! (Con’t in the comments👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾)
The fall session of class (our bioregional herbalism series, From the Roots Up) is FULL! But I’ll be posting dates for next year and the apprenticeship as well soon! And I’ve got a late summer herb walk coming up in a few weeks on Sat Sept 7th in Carlisle, MA for you eastern mass folks 😌 Details and more info on my website-link in my profile!
#herbschool #herbwalk #fromtherootsupseries #fromtherootsupapprenticeship #bioregionalherbalism #herbalism #milkandhoneyherbs
Seaweed drying on the line ✨💦⚓️ It being late summer and all, I’m already thinking about the fall and winter soups, stews, and broths that I’ll add this mineral-rich Bladderwrack to for the nutrient-dense flavor of the sea.
#maine #seaweedharvest #bladderwrack #fucusvesiculosis #remineralize #oceanmedicine #wildfoodlove #milkandhoneyherbs
Mushroom season is here!🍄❤️🍄 I found this beautiful flush of Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus spp) today and will be cooking these up with lots of butter, parsley, and garlic tonight for dinner 😋 One of the ways you can tell Oyster mushrooms apart from other species are the decurrent gills (see the third pic) that run all the way down the stem, but of course always use more than just an insta post to ID edible mushrooms! In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Oyster Mushrooms are considered to be especially beneficial for draining dampness (digestive weakness and poor nutrient assimilation), for strengthening digestion, and for joint and muscle relaxation. They are also beneficial to the immune system and support the cardiovascular system too!
#oystermushrooms #pleurotus #ediblemushrooms #medicinalmushrooms #wildmushrooms #immunebooster #foraging #bioregionalherbalism #wildmedicine #letthyfoodbethymedicine #milkandhoneyherbs
Our bees are so happy this year and the Queen Anne’s Lace is in all her glory✨ Thank you @theykeepbees for the healthiest bees we’ve ever had! 💗🐝🙏🏼 #honeybeelove #howsweetitis #backyardbees #supportlocalbusinesses #queercommunity #theykeepbees #milkandhoneyherbs
Our August Patreon classes are up! Focusing on the amazing medicines of seaweed and our materia medica for the month is on this beauty, Bladderwrack ⚓️ I love Patreon bc through it I’m able to offer extremely accessible herbal classes! You can listen to each monthly class at your leisure, from anywhere, and membership starts at just $5/month plus you get access to all previous monthly classes! Bladderwrack is in the class of Brown Seaweeds. It’s especially known for its iodine content and nutritional support it provides to the thyroid. But there’s more! Like all Brown Seaweeds (Kelp, Kombu, Wakame) it contains these incredible polysaccharides called fucoidan and algin which act like a sponge in the digestive tract helping remove heavy metals and toxins. They also support over-all gut and digestive health and help heal and seal the gut- an important part of any protocol seeking to help folks with autoimmune disorders, which is sadly so many people! You can add a tsp of the dried powder to your food, put into spice blends like gomasio, togarashi, or furikake, or even add to broths, soups, and stews! And check-out my Patreon page if you’d like to join us for this month’s Seaweed Medicine class! Link in my profile🧜🏼♀️ #seaweed #seaweedmedicine #bladderwrack #rockweed #fucusspiralis #mineralrich #thyroidsupport #autoimmunedisease #patreon #patreoncreator #accessibleherbalism #milkandhoneyherbs
This morning’s food as medicine: Tomatoes and onions from @nextbarnover, with garlic, sage, and lambs quarters from the garden. All sautéed together and spooned over 2 fried eggs from our chickens😍 I can’t say my breakfast looks like this everyday , but when it does I know my day is gonna be 💯
#foodasmedicine #locallygrown #locavore #eattheweeds #nutrientdense #homegrown #milkandhoneyherbs
So much magic in the Bee Balm✨✨✨ #beebalm #monardafistulosa #plantmagic #pollinatorlove #milkandhoneyherbs
The medicine of the sea ✨🌊✨ This is Bladderwrack (also commonly known as Rockweed) and it’s a common northeast (and west coast) seaweed and amazing medicine. I’m currently prepping for my August Patreon class all about Seaweed Medicine ⚓️ I love Patreon bc through it I’m able to offer extremely accessible herbal classes! You can listen to each monthly class at your leisure, from anywhere, and membership starts at just $5/month plus you get access to all previous monthly classes! Bladderwrack is in the class of Brown Seaweeds. It’s especially known for its iodine content and nutritional support it provides to the thyroid. But there’s more! Like all Brown Seaweeds (Kelp, Kombu, Wakame) it contains these incredible polysaccharides called fucoidan and algin which act like a sponge in the digestive tract helping remove heavy metals and toxins. They also support over-all gut and digestive health and help heal and seal the gut- an important part of any protocol seeking to help folks with autoimmune disorders, which is sadly so many people! You can add a tsp of the dried powder to your food, put into spice blends like gomasio, togarashi, or furikake, or even add to broths, soups, and stews! And check-out my Patreon page if you’d like to join us for this month’s Seaweed Medicine class! Link in my profile🧜🏼♀️ #seaweed #seaweedmedicine #bladderwrack #rockweed #fucusvesiculosus #mineralrich #thyroidsupport #autoimmunedisease #patreon #patreoncreator #accessibleherbalismb#milkandhoneyherbs
Berry Season💙💙💙 Capitalism tries to sell us the myth that things from far away are more “exotic” and therefore should be more highly valued than our local goods. The “superfood”’craze is such a great example of this and seemingly each week there’s a new super berry from the amazon, etc. For me, part of resisting this false dream is focusing on locally abundant herbs and foods as much as I can! Enter Blueberry, a northeast superfood 😌 Look for it along lakes and ponds here in the northeast. The bright blue color indicates high levels of heart-protecting, longevity-promoting and anti-inflammatory antioxidants called bioflavonoids and they are just going off right now! A mere half a cup a day is enough (I like to eat as I pick 💙). Enjoy!
#herbalistsagainstcapiltalism #buckthesystem #wildfoods #wildfoodlove #forager #eatlocal #northeastsuperfood #blueberry #vacciniumspp #berryseason #milkandhoneyherbs
Students harvesting Lambs Quarters🙏🏼 💚🌿So I had a whole beautiful post written out for y’all about this amazing plant and then I tried to post it and it got stuck in the Instagram ethers and wouldn’t post!😫 Thanks Mercury Retograde for your final throws (it ends tomorrow thank goddess!) But here are a few tidbits about this amazing ancestral plant. Humans have been eating it since at least the Neolithic (over 9,000 years ago), there is fossil evidence of it at indigenous sites in north america dating to pre-european contact, was found in the belly of the Tollund Bog Man who dates to 2,000 years ago, was an esteemed green in England until spinach was introduced from Asia in the 1700’s, is among the top 5 most widely distributed plants in the world and grows in all inhabited parts of the planet except harsh desert climes from sea level to 9,000 ft, and botanists have no idea where it was originally native to. Whew! Amazing, right!? Plus of course it’s way more nutritious than our cultivated food crops like spinach and chard, often doubling and sometimes even tripling them in nutritional value. And the best part is IT LITERALLY GROWS ITSELF! It’s in the seed bed. Turn over some garden soil or plow a field and it will sprout. It grows right along our food crops and yet is considered a maligned “weed” and not given the respect and reverence it deserves! And also, it’s basically wild Quinoa. Yup. The two plants are extremely closely related (in the same genus) and the seeds can be dried and then cooked like quinoa and were used by our ancestors waaaaay back as a grain. This plant has so much to offer! The second picture is Lambs Quarters along with Purslane (another ancestral food) and the third is us making verdurette/veggie bouillon with it! Chop it finely and mix (by weight) 1 part salt: 4 parts greens and add garlic, onions, herbs, carrots, etc to make it a true bouillon! It will keep in the fridge for a year. Enjoy!
#lambsquarters #chenopodiumalbum #wildgreens #eatyourgreens #wildfoodlove #foodasmedicine #foodismedicine #ancestralhealing #eattheweeds #greenlove #herbschool #fromtherootsupseries #fromtherootsupapprenticeship #milkandhoneyherbs
Calendula aka liquid sunshine 🌞🌞🌞 There are some herbs that, when harvested and dried yourself, are so incredibly superior quality-wise to any plant material you can purchase from the larger bulk herb companies....and Calendula is absolutely one of these! Contrast the vibrant oranges and aromatic and resinous smells of your own home-dried Calendula with the yellow, scentless straw you get from big distributors and you’ll wonder what they’re even selling! And side-note: this is one you can grow in pots even if you don’t have garden access 😌 Because drying your own herbs is so intrinsic to herbalism but often a large learning curve, I put together a guide: Harvesting & Drying Herbs for the Home Apothecary. It’s on my blog- link in my profile! I cover flowers, mushrooms, barks, roots, aerial parts and flowering tops, and also have a troubleshooting section for frequent problems that can occur. Enjoy!
#calendula #homegrown #herbgarden #calendulaofficinalis #potmarigold #buildingthehomeapothecary #growyourown #communityherbalism #herbalism #herbalist #plantmedicine #plantmagic #milkandhoneyherbs
Summer and fall classes of our bioregional herbalism series, From the Roots Up, are currently enrolling! Classes meet outside and in the field and we focus on field botany, herbal ecology, medicine-making, gaining intimacy with the plants, and locally abundant medicinals. The summer session is 7/28 (starts THIS Sunday!) & 8/11 and the fall session starts in September. Class size is limited and they often fill-up so be in touch if you’d like to join us! Link to more info in my profile ✨
#bioregionalherbalism #plantmedicine #herbschool #fromtherootsupseries #herbalallies #milkandhoneyherbs
Yarrow Wild Soda✨✨✨ We made this in class on Sunday and as my students can attest- it’s so easy! This is a wild fermentation recipe that relies entirely on the wild yeasts on the flowers and raw honey for fermentation to occur 🌸🍯 I’ve got an in-depth recipe on my blog (link in my profile) that calls for Tulsi, but any aromatic herb will work for the recipe 💦 And in the meantime here’s a fast version and see the blog post for a full description!
Yarrow Wild Soda
Put 6 tbsp of fresh Yarrow leaves and flowers into a quart jar with 4 cups of cold or room-temp unchlorinated water and 1/4 cup of raw honey. Cover with a layer of cheesecloth or thin towel so it still can breathe but bugs can’t get in and let it ferment! Stir every day and once it starts bubbling when you stir it fermentation has begun! I like to taste it every day during this phase, and once it tastes nice and sparkly and effervescent then its time to strain it and then build carbonation. To accomplish this put a lid on it for about 24 hrs and then taste for fermentation....a nice trick is to put some in a small jar and test that for carbonation. If it’s not as carbonated as you’d like after 24 hrs, then leave it out (capped) for another 24 hrs. Then refrigerate (up until this phase it should have been unrefrigerated) and enjoy! One of my favorite ways to enjoy wild sodas is an a “fairy cocktail” of wild soda plus some tincture/elixir/oxymel added, garnished with some flowers with maybe even sometimes some flower essences added💖✨💦🧚🏼♀️ #fairycocktail #herbalmocktail #mocktail #wildsoda #wildfermentation #fermentation #herbalrecipes #magicmaking #flowerpower #yarrow #achilleamillefolium #milkandhoneyherbs