Shoes off. Feet grounded into the soft earth. Gazing up at the sweeping mountain range above, with the warm sun melting into my skin. A heady trip out west? Nope. Just a blissful day spent at the Gaia Herbs oasis.
The Gaia Experience
A couple of weeks ago, we had the honor of touring the Gaia farm and lab facilities. Five of us from Rosewood Market arrived early in the morning, just before the mountain fog began to lift through the sunrise. Gaia representatives waited to greet us before guiding us to the farmhouse to meet industry peers from other stores around the Southeast. In and around the farmhouse, strangers were sipping Gaia herbal tea while chatting like old friends.
After introductions, herbalist led the way down the gravel driveway towards the rows of Hawthorne bushes and Gingko trees. The next few hours were full of information about different herbs, their many uses, and their histories. With each new crop, we would pick a leaf to smell and taste. Between Lemon Balm, Milky Oat, and Echinacea, our senses were beyond fulfilled. As the tour guides spoke, we took in the earthy smells and complete stillness of the farm. Because it sits in a valley, you feel so far from the stress of the modern world, even though you’re only about five minutes from downtown Brevard, NC.
At the North Carolina Gaia farm they are growing 21 different crops this year. The herbs grown there supply about 25% of all the herbs that Gaia uses. The other herbs come from their secondary farms in Costa Rica or Indonesia, or from other suppliers around the country and the world. As much as they would like to grow everything in Brevard, the climate is not ideal for all the different crops that they need.
Though they can’t grow everything in NC, they do test everything in those facilities. No matter where in the world an herb might come from, it will be tested for quality in our neighboring state. Then, it goes through a series of extraction and encapsulation processes before finding itself bottled, shipped, and sitting on our shelves in Columbia.
As we drove away from Gaia, in awe of their dedication to the environment and their consumers, we felt gratitude for partners that share our passion for healthier and happier communities. Next time you buy a Gaia product, you can feel confident that they have the Rosewood Market approval. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. You can always learn about the entire life-cycle of your supplement through their Meet Your Herbs campaign. Each bottle comes with a batch ID number that you can enter into their database to see every “traceable aspect of each herbal component of your product” (Gaia website, 2018).
We are beyond impressed by the professionalism, experience, and hospitality of the Gaia team. They provided us with an in-depth look at the entire process, literally from seed to shelf. The delicious plant-based lunch (hello, Mexican-style jackfruit!) and full-sized samples didn’t hurt either. We left a little more inspired to continue pursuing our collective mission: to support our world, our neighbors, and ourselves to eat, do, and live better.