Here at A Moveable Feast, people often ask what is the difference between Organic and Wildcrafted herbs? That's a good question!
Our suppliers globally source cultivated and wildcrafted herbs and botanical from domestic farmers in over 20 countries, including the USA. Direct purchasing by our Suppliers ensures that the integrity of these products are consistent, of the finest quality available, are rigorously tested, assure they meet GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) requirements, all while helping to sustain the livelihood of these small farmers and wildcrafters.
Herbs and Botanicals that are labeled as Certified Organic are grown (cultivated) without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, etc., meeting or exceeding the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) standard for Organic. The USDA describes organic agriculture as "organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible"
Organic farming also makes use of biological controls, crop rotation and other methods to manage weeds, insects and disease.
Essentially, true organic farming makes use of cover crops, animal manures, and crop rotations to fertilize the soil, maximize biological activity and build long-term soil health. To manage insects, disease, and weeds, organic farming makes use of biological controls, such as predatory insects for pest control, liquid corn gluten for weed control, and the ever important crop rotation for disease control.
"Cascade Lavender Farm, near Madras, in June, Oregon" by Bonnie Moreland is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
One of our popular dietary supplement lines, Natural Factors, operate their own farm in Canada, shown below, where some of their herbs and botanicals are grown and processed.
Examples of Cultivated Organic Herbs:
from L to R; Coltsfoot, Tansy, Motherwort
Wildcrafting is the practice of foraging for plants in the wild. So basically any plant that grows on its own, without human help, and in a natural (not cultivated) habitat can fall under the wildcrafted designation.
According to David Hoffman, author of The Herbal Handbook, A User's Guide to Medical Herbalism, there is a problem with wildcrafted herbs, and that is an environmental one. The wild places of the world are being desecrated at a speed that staggers the mind. The Amazon River basin alone continues losing thousands of acres daily. If we add to this the threat of pollution, the picture for a wild-plant collector is worrying indeed. In the face of this it can be argued that wild plants should not be picked at all but conserved and their habitat protected."
There is no designated certification for herbs or botanicals that claim to be wildcrafted. BUT what is more important, is that we use suppliers who seek out and source wildcrafters who collect plants in areas that are free of pollution and contamination, who are skillful in plant selection with expert knowledge of species, and who respect and protect pristine stands of plants from over-harvesting. These independent wildcrafters have demonstrated an adherence to these high standards and guarantee that these plants have been ecologically harvested.
Wildcrafted herbs are more resilient than their cultivated counterparts. They have to survive and thrive in environments that are more difficult than those of a cultivated plant. Wild herbs need to be strong in order to compete with the surrounding vegetation competing for the same nutrients, and therefore they can be more potent botanicals.
Examples of southeast Texas Wildcrafted Herbs:
from L to R; Yaupon, Saw Palmetto, Prickly Ash
So next time you visit A Moveable Feast, be sure to stop by our Herb Wall and see the largest selection of herbs and botanicals around. We stock nearly 400 different types of cut and sifted herbs, roots, and powders. From Agar Agar to Yucca, we have your needs covered.
"Herb Wall" at A Moveable Feast
Times have certainly changed, since A Moveable Feast opened 50 years ago, but our Herb Wall remains, as always, Self-Service. Please remember, when you do visit our store to purchase herbs, we require you to wear a mask and gloves when bagging your selection. Gloves are available upon request. These is also a minimum purchase of 2 ounces required. Thank you for your understanding.
As 2022 begins, the Management and Staff at A Movable Feast want to wish everyone a Safe, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.
And as always, Thanks for Supporting Small Business!
Blessing to all my readers!
Proprietor and Steward
A Moveable Feast