Meet our customers: Solar Ripe
Tuesday 26 January 2016
Image: Solar Ripe herb field in Fife, Scotland
Our customer Solar Ripe set up their business in 2013. They specialise in medicinal herbs, in the form of tea blends and medicinal balms and oils – and like us here at Organic Herb Trading, also grow some of the herbs they work with.
How did your business start?
Solar Ripe started in 2013. I had become more interested in and passionate about medicinal herbs over the years and I wanted to use a wider variety of organic herbs that I could not buy locally. I felt that there was a gap in the market and so started selling herbs for use as teas. Over the years I have started to make herbal oils and ointments, grow a medicine garden for educational purposes and to provide some of the herbs for the remedies, and also set up some herb study groups for people to come and learn more about herbal medicine.
What is unique about your company?
A big part of what we aim to do at Solar Ripe is to empower people to use herbal remedies and learn about the plants that grow where they live. The herbs that we sell and grow are therefore herbs that are native to the UK, that have naturalised here or are herbs that people commonly grow in their gardens and are already familiar with. This hopefully encourages people to use what they can find in their locale rather than importing more exotic herbs and so reducing our impact on our environment.
Who and where are your customers?
Currently we sell our products at local markets and events, food co-ops and also on-line (solarripe.eu).
Our customers are a combination of people who are becoming more aware of the negative impacts of allopathic medicine both on themselves and the environment and looking for alternatives such as traditional herbal remedies, and those who are new to herbal tea but have tried a sample at one of our stalls and enjoyed it. I love seeing people try herbal tea for the first time and find they like it, especially children. They don't hide what they think and it is rewarding when they bring their families over to have a taste as well!
How’s the future looking for you? What are your plans?
With regards to the herb garden we recently celebrated our first anniversary at the site, which is really exciting. The plants have had a season to put down their roots and become established in the medicine wheel and we are now looking to create new beds for a range of mints. With the poly-tunnel up we also hope 2016 will be the first year we are able to run workshops to help educate and empower people to reclaim herbal medicine.
We are currently looking for more suppliers to stock our teas, and also to increase our internet sales.
Why do you buy from OHTC?
We buy our herbs from OHTC because they are organic and fairly traded. This is incredibly important for us as plants are our healers and we believe we should respect them, and their growers, and not pollute them or their environments. All of the ingredients that we use are organic, we do not use any agro-chemicals on our medicine garden, and we reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
Why is organic/provenance important to you?
See above and also www.solarripe.eu/organic/
Please feel free to tell us one unusual fact!
We are lucky to share our medicine garden with many toads (that the heron enjoys) and over the summer the garden was covered with hundreds of baby toads the size of my thumbnail everywhere you looked, making gardening tricky. At this time I found an adult with a bleeding eye, unfortunately probably due to my work. I put a yarrow spit poultice on their eye while they sat on my hand. The toad seemed to come round from their shock, the bleeding stopped and I put them down and they walked away. An incredible moment.
What is your favourite cup of tea/or long cool relaxing drink?
My favourite cup of tea is when I make it at our medicine garden. I get to sit by a big patch of mint and blackcurrants, boil the water in my storm kettle and pick fresh herbs to go in it such as chamomile or raspberry leaf, and then sit and drink it while I watch the buzzards, robins, toads, wrens, shrews and bees going about their day. Wonderful!
To find out more about Solar Ripe, visit their website.