Foster Farm Botanicals
One of the key objectives of the Frontier Co-op Global Sourcing Department is to expand organic farming in the United States and abroad. We continually look for opportunities to collaborate with farms and processors not only to source quality organic products, but also to be a resource supporting organic agriculture.
Foster Farm Botanicals in Calais, Vermont, is a grower we began working with in 2015, when owner Peter Bachman called to gauge our interest buying domestically grown organic herbs from the farm.
Peter and his wife Annie shared a vision to utilize their 200-year-old Vermont farm to grow organic herbs in a sustainable manner. In less than two years, they took that vision and turned it into a full-scale farm operation, complete with silo dryers and a full processing facility with cutting, sifting and powdering capabilities. The farm had limited production in 2016 and moved to full scale production in 2017.
Their respect for the land they grow on — which has been enriched by generations of dairy farmers — is apparent from their own description of their methods:
Many of the herbs we cultivate are perennials, which greatly reduces our tillage and helps to build soil microbiology. We take soil tests regularly in order to accurately address deficiencies and imbalances, and constantly turn under a variety of cover crops and mulches to maintain and increase soil organic matter. The majority of our fertility comes from cover crops and compost.
They determine which herbs to grow based on their climate conditions — cool and wet conditions in the spring, with hot, humid weather in the summer. Customer demand and competition also factored into the choice and acreage of crops. Ultimately, they settled on tulsi herb, echinacea, angelica, meadowsweet and calendula tops. They are also conducting some smaller test plots of skullcap and nettles, along with a few other items.
Foster Farm Botanicals is committed to growing and processing botanical herbs the right way. They have invested time and resources into making sure they produce high-quality herbs and meet our high quality, GMP and sustainability standards. We're happy to support Foster Farm Botanicals by purchasing their herbs and providing them with any other help we can. We look forward to buying additional herbs from them in the future as they expand further.