Q & A with Mountain Rose Herbs: The Importance of Organic Herbs and Spices
Despite the role that culinary herbs and spices play in flavoring many of the meals we love, their purity and integrity is sometimes given little consideration. Few people take into account how the farming practices and processing methods used to produce herbs and spices may affect their potency and quality. Or that many large-scale spice manufacturers are known to use harmful pesticides on their plants and then store harvested plant material in warehouses for long periods of time. These practices can have devastating impacts on the flavor and health benefits of many herbs and spices by compromising their antioxidant value, nutrient content, and most notably, their taste and aroma.
All of this is why are ecstatic to tell you about one of our favorite affiliate partners, Mountain Rose Herbs, a manufacturer of organic herbal products that is passionate about creating pure organic herbs, spices, teas, tinctures, essential oils and other products.
Mountain Rose Herbs holds spices, essential oils and tinctures to a whole new standard, emphasizing potency, quality, sustainability and organic agriculture. They also offer seeds, glass jars for decanting or bulk storage, bath & body care and home accessories (like tea strainers and mortars and graters). To get a better idea of their practices, we had a little Q&A with members of the Mountain Rose Herbs team. We also gathered up some of their other products that we’re excited to tell you about.
1. Is there a practice among other spice manufactures that you’re proud to say you don’t partake in?
Unlike many suppliers of herbal products who keep their merchandise stored in warehouses for several years, Mountain Rose Herbs will never sell or stock products that are more than a few months from harvest (except for seasonal items). This guarantees our customers a fresh and effective botanical preparation. All of the Epicurean Organic seasoning blends made by Mountain Rose Herbs are completely free from irradiation treatment and are certified organic by OTCO and Kosher certified by Earth Kosher. All products are handled, analyzed and supervised by a full time quality control department. Every aspect of all products, from the procurement, and the receiving, to the processing and packaging, is done in accordance to strict quality control and organic handling procedures. The products we offer are guaranteed fresh, fragrant and colorful.
In addition, the farmers who grow our herbs and spices are given full negotiation rights in determining the price of their harvests under our Good Trade Program, which far exceeds traditional fair trade standards. Mountain Rose Herbs also donates 2% of the proceeds from its epicurean line to the Organic Consumers Association in thanks for their important work. This helps support the organic movement with every meal our customers lovingly prepare.
2. One of the things we love and appreciate about Mountain Rose Herbs is its obvious commitment to quality. What inspired that culture within the company?
Mountain Rose Herbs has been an outspoken advocate and innovator of green business practices for over two decades. Co-owners Shawn Donnille and Julie Bailey say that they’ve created a mission driven company focused on zero waste, a strict commitment to organic agriculture, high quality botanicals, and conservation of wilderness in the Pacific Northwest. Throughout the years, we have always put an emphasis on conducting business in an ethical, responsible, clear and ecological way, hoping to pave a path for other blossoming green companies. We are proud to guarantee our customers the absolute best in quality organic herbal products at very competitive prices.
3. Is there a favorite spice among the Mountain Rose team?
During these cold months, our Epicurean Organics Pumpkin Pie Spice is very popular around the office! This delightful blend has become an American tradition for its ability to boldly flavor Pumpkin Pie, pureed sweet potatoes, and other baked treats during the fall season. It’s also the revered aroma we commonly associate with Thanksgiving. Made with a blend of wonderful organic spices that produce a unique and warm flavor, Pumpkin Pie spice is used in cider, cookies, baked vegetables and much more. It contains: organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic nutmeg, organic allspice and organic spices.
4. What is the single most important reason organic spices and herbs should be used over non-organic spices and herbs?
Currently we offer one of the most thorough selections of certified organic herbs, spices and botanicals today. Contrary to other companies who supply both an organic and conventionally grown variety, organics remain our first and only choice regardless of price or profit. We will never stock a non-organic item if an organic one is available, nor will we offer our customers material which has been conventionally grown using synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. In the event that certified organic material is not available, we opt for material which was cultivated without chemicals or harvested in the wild. All of these materials have been meticulously analyzed in the lab for both chemical and pesticide residues.
Mountain Rose Herbs has continuously worked for the advancement of sustainable organic agriculture and will continue this lifelong passion into the future. From the herbs we offer, to the teas we process and the oils we have distilled, organics have proven their superiority in flavor and potency.
5. Your tinctures are so comprehensive and we love them. Can you tell us a little more about how you formulated those or who you worked with for the combination of herbal extracts?
Many of us are lifelong herbalists who have been using and making tinctures for decades. We understand the quality level needed to produce consistently potent tinctures, which is why we make our extracts right here in Eugene using organic herbs and organic grain alcohol in small batches. River Kennedy is our extract formulator and she helped us develop our incredible line of combination extracts.
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Article updated on: January 10th, 2012