My name is Dr Paul Richards and I’ve been growing herbs organically for much of my life. As a botanist I’m well aware of the benefits of organic farming: stronger healthier plants, sustainable soil management and wider ecological diversity. I was one of the first members of the Soil Association over thirty years ago.
For many years the herbs I grew were used by herbalists in tinctures and balms; indeed, many still are. However, about 15 years ago, I decided to encourage the use of my herbs in a wider range of skincare products. Together with my wife, Carol, we set up Herbfarmacy and, in our farm kitchen, developed a small range of balms, creams and oils. Our aim was to make great quality, effective skincare using only ethical ingredients.
Since then the range of products we make has grown and now we sell Herbfarmacy products across the world. We’ve employed local people to help but we’re still a small team with a strong sense of ethical responsibility, looking after wildlife, growing herbs, making products in small batches and shipping them out, all from the same 5 acre farm in Herefordshire. Making Herbfarmacy products is a way of life that follows the pace of nature.
In early Spring, wrapped up against the last of the winter chill, we sow our herbs by hand using seeds collected from the previous year’s crop. It’s a slow, delicate process but well-worth the time taken; almost all will germinate in the pale Spring sunshine. When the nights are warmer, we’ll carefully plant out the seedlings in our fields. Rows of fragile new-green shoots, surrounded by rich soil, over-looking the Wye Valley.
Carefully tended by hand-hoeing between each one, the seedlings soon grow into strong, healthy plants. The fields are vibrant with colour; butterflies, bees and other small creatures vie for attention. In the glorious, long summer days from June to September, a small team of enthusiasts hand-pick several hundred kilos of herbs and flowers. We pick by hand to help preserve the delicate petals and to protect and respect the integrity of each plant.
The flowers and herbs are gently dried, then carefully steeped in oil to lock-in the very best herbal benefits. Using recipes that we created ourselves, we take small batches and gently blend the herbal oils with other ingredients, before slowly filling our distinctive green bottles and jars by hand. Purity is key. It takes time and is a labour-of-love but each of our balms, oils and creams is unique and hand crafted.
When you use a Herbfarmacy product you share in our philosophy. There is comfort and reassurance in knowing that nature has been allowed to provide its very best to the ingredients, that plants and wildlife have been treated with respect and that the products you use are individually made with care.
We hope you dig what we do!