Nov 26, 2013

Holiday Pop Up Events // Portland Apothecary

Ready? Set? Go!

We are quickly entering the vortex of the holidays and wanted to let you know some of the events that we will be participating in around town this year. There are some seriously great artists & makers that we are sharing space with and we hope to see you at any, and all, of these events! In chronological order we have:

First we have this lovely event at the Ace Hotel. Shop a little, get a hot toddy at their bar and take some photo booth pictures while you're at it!

Also on Black Friday, we'll be offering some seasonal remedies at one of our favorite shops participating in Little Boxes, the amazingly tempting Palace in SE off of Belmont. Charlotte always throws a great event and really all your shopping could be done in one spot! Bubbles on hand of course, and treats by Sweedeedee!

One of our favorite spots in Portland, PMOMA over in North Portland, is curating a pop up shop of their favorite artists this year. We're thrilled to be a part of it, and know that there will be one of a kind gifts to be had. Best to get there on opening day on Black Friday but it will be open until the holiday season comes to a conclusion.

On the evening of December 6th and the day of December 7th we will be getting the chance to work with all the amazing artists listed below at Union/Pine. This is sure to be one to remember!

This is the first year for the Winter Market at The Makery, but is sure to become a fine tradition. We love all the makers who hold permanent residence here and are looking forward to spending a few days in their beautiful and inspiring studio. December 14th and 15th from 10-5. 

And finally we'll be hosting our open studio and CSH Share Pick Up on December 20th. We'll be having some wintery snacks, warming ourselves with good company and laughter and offering some last minute gifts to snap up. We're in the Boxlift Studios at 333 NE Hancock St and it will be from 5-8 that evening. Come and bring friends!

Nov 12, 2013

Yarrow & Hyssop Tea

We created a tasty blend of medicinal herbs to take when you feel a fever coming on, or at the beginning stages of a cold. Yarrow & Elderflower are the main actors in this tea with Hyssop and Mint adding a great refreshing flavor. Calendula petals are there to remind us all of summer and the brilliant medicine of the sun. Especially for those of us here in the Pacific Northwest!

Like many herbs Yarrow has many different functions and has been used in a myriad of ways throughout the years. It's lore is of epic proportions and it has never ceased to be one of the go to herbs of Western Herbalists wether it was carried into battle to staunch bleeding, thrown as different lengths of sticks to predict ones fortune or taken in low doses to strengthen ones energetic boundaries. We are using it here with other herbs to help direct it towards breaking a fever, otherwise known as a diaphoretic. Yarrow is a tough and hardy plant that you will find growing in sunny locations whether on a sunbaked hill or along the side of a road. The leaves are feathery and soft and the flower itself is an umbel making a perfect landing pad for pollinators and other beneficial insects. It's importance to the ecosystem is also paramount. We have both used Yarrow to help staunch a cut while out in the woods by chewing on the leaves a bit and then applying that rudimentary poultice to the area. Bleeding stops fairly quickly after that. I've also used it as a digestive bitter while out on the trail if that's all I can find and while the taste is extremely bitter uncut, just remind yourself that that is the medicine.
Towering Elder

Elder is practically a medicine chest unto itself and we hope to write a longer post on it in the future, but in this case we are talking about elderflower that we harvested for this tea. Elderflowers, again a great plant for pollinators, are abundant on each plant. Elders here in the Pacific Northwest grow voraciously and can get so big, that it gives me pause to call them a shrub, but then again all of Nature is huge up here. Elderflowers are creamy white, easily harvested and have been used traditionally in both cooking and medicine. Elderflower spritzers are deliciously refreshing in the summer and help to cool the body down, just as the elderflower in this tea is a diaphoretic which helps your body to sweat to cool it down.   Elder, like Yarrow has an interesting and highly magical lore surrounding it including an association with fairies and is said to either attract or repel witches according to your particular point of view! We here at Portland Apothecary are attracted to it :)

Beautiful harvested elderflower

You can easily drink this blend as a pleasure tea to cozy up with on a rainy day or a cold crisp starry night, but if you need to put it to use as a hard working medicinal it is best to make a strong blend by infusing or steeping a small handful of the blend for over 20 minutes at a minimum. While your tea is steeping make a hot bath, throw in some mineral salts like our Mountain Mineral Soak blend with it's strong essential oils to help open your respiratory passages, then throw on some warm pajamas & wool socks, wrap up in a sheet under the covers and drink your tea. You will begin to sweat and that will break a fever helping you back on your road to recovery. This tea will open your pores, and as one of my teachers at acupuncture school said, 'you have to open a window so the thief can leave'. Meaning the open pores will allow the pathogen a way to disperse!

Community Supported Herbalism // Portland Apothecary

The meaning behind the acronym CSH means a lot to us. CSH stands for Community Supported Herbalism. When we started Portland Apothecary we began with the concept of medicine boxes and used the more familiar term CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. As all new ventures we morphed and reshaped our ideas, getting rid of the idea of boxes and moving into shares much like a CSA. We then started realizing that while we aspire to have a small Portland Apothecary farm someday (and please do contact us if you have a lead on land near Portland for us!), we weren't quite an agricultural business even though we support small farmers in our process. We do use a similar model to a CSA still however, but instead of monthly or weekly shares we work on a seasonal basis and have CSH Shares available in Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Our supporters preorder their Shares and then we ship them out or they are picked up on or near the Solstice or Equinox of each season. 

We thought about it and for our first Autumn Share we used the term CSM, or Community Supported Medicine. That felt like a better fit and also felt empowering like we're taking the term back from Western Medicine's stronghold. Great. But then Elie went to California to help her father by working on the biodynamic farm he tends to, and off point, where some of our herbs come from. From what I could tell from our instagram feed they spent many nights after work grilling amazing food, drinking wine and talking about everything from the night sky to Portland Apothecary. After one of those nights it was clear to Elie that we should change once again. This time to CSH, or Community Supported Herbalism. Very specific, and very important to us to call our work what it is. Herbalism. A long line of tradition that both of us have ultimate respect for.

Calling our work a CSH has been very important in helping to define our desire to be educators as well as makers. We try and bring other herbalist's work into our collaborations and acknowledge our elders and teachers along the way. To stand in the continuing practice of such long held traditions can be breathtaking at times and we love our work. Both of us have over two decades, or more, of Western Herbalism training and practice and have dedicated our lives to this art. There are hardly minutes where we are not engaged with the practice. We are also blending in TCM herbalism because I (Kristen) am a licensed acupuncturist, and am dedicated to taking some of the mystery out of that art form and knowledge and translating it to be readily incorporated into daily practice.

We recently did a quick online search for CSH to see what would pop up and we're so happy to see that there are so many people adopting this idea, and whether it be from our influence or just one of those ideas whose time has come, it is amazing to see. The desire to reconnect with nature is strong for many people right now, and we are so encouraged by it. Here's to a wonderful and inspired movement!

Here are some links to people, places and events that we are enjoying right now! Of course this is an ever evolving list, and just a small sampling of people doing wonderful work!

>>>Mountain Rose Herbs has a wonderful resource in their blog.

>>>Wildcraft Studio School is doing amazing work with natural dyes and hosting both day and weekend classes at their studio. 

>>>Portland Plant Medicine Conference is coming up and hosts an amazing weekend of lectures and workshops, along with a community vendor space. 

>>>Botanicals Folklorica in Austin is making beautiful infused honeys that we are dying to try.

>>>Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine is gearing up for another year of studies in the beautiful Northern California area near Mount Shasta. 

We'll keep adding to this list in different posts! Fun to group together such amazing resources. 

Nov 1, 2013

Poetic Pome by Laura Silverman, Glutton for Life

We here at Portland Apothecary are big fans of Laura Silverman and her blog, Glutton For Life and we hope you will take the time to fully explore her work. Her adventures in foraging and then her consequent recipes in preparing those foods are inspirational and just plain stunning. In her own words the focus of her work is on the seasonal, nutritious, delicious and homemade. We welcome her guest post here on the quince, and hope it is just the beginning of working together! Thank you Laura!

In botany, a pome—from the Latin, pōmum, meaning fruitis a type of fruit produced by flowering plants in the subtribe Malinae of the family Rosacea, which includes apples, pears, medlars and quinces, among others. The latter are downy, golden orbs that send out a magical perfume as they ripen. With voluptuous curves worthy of Rubens and a complex sweet flavor, the quince is rightly known as the fruit of love, marriage and fertility. The “apples” referred to in the story of Adam and Eve, and in the Song of Solomon, were almost certainly quinces, as was the golden apple of Hesperides, which Paris gave to Aphrodite. It’s a unique fruit with an extraordinary legacy.

The paradox of the quince is that despite its intoxicating aroma—reminiscent of pineapple, guava, Bartlett pear and vanilla—its pale flesh is hard, grainy and exceedingly astringent due to lots of tannins. In Turkey, the world’s largest producer, “to eat the quince” is slang for “to get into serious trouble.” It needs a combination of alchemy and patience to be transformed into a sweet, silken tenderness. When cooked, the flesh softens and turns a gorgeous translucent pink.

Quinces are ready to eat when any greenish cast turns a rich yellow and they exude that come-hither fragrance. To cook them, rub off the downy fur and drop them into lemony water once they’ve been cut as they oxidize very quickly. High pectin levels mean quinces make excellent jams and jellies, or they can be boiled down into an intense paste—called membrillo in Spain, where it is often paired with manchego cheese. Roasted or poached, they are delicious with apples and pears in tarts and crumbles. They are also wonderful in a spiced pickle and perfect paired with rich meats (which the tannins help tenderize), as in Persian lamb stews. 

For your first venture, try simply poaching or roasting quinces. They have an affinity for honey or maple syrup, port or sweet red wine, and warming spices like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Any leftover poaching liquid is absolutely delicious stirred into bubbly water, tea or a cocktail. This ancient love potion is good to the last drop.
Sweet Roasted Quinces
serves 6

18 cloves
3 large quinces, unpeeled, halved and cored
juice of ½ lemon
¾ cup port
5 tablespoons runny honey
3 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Press three cloves into the skin of each quince half, and place the fruit cut-side down in a roasting pan. Whisk together 1 ½ cups water, the lemon juice, port and honey, and pour over the quinces. Place the cinnamon sticks and star anise in the pan.
Bake for about an hour, until sticky and golden. Now, carefully remove the cloves from the skin and turn the quince right-side up. Continue baking until very tender, about 15 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the quince cool slightly. Strain the sauce into a small pan and simmer to reduce to a thick syrup. Put a quince half on each plate, spoon over some of syrup) and serve.