Tell us about your business.I've been blending & concocting teas for 15 years. This winter I funded & built a kitchen & storefront via Kickstarter.com. Uber Herbal opened April 16, 2014. The kitchen is visible from the store through our tea & toast bar. Here we serve specials made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Our "regional food store" offers myself & other farmers & food producers a sales venue. I got started brewing chai in a borrowed kitchen in 2000, selling to local cafes. The chai biz quickly revealed to me my love of food & my innate talent for concocting. For 9 years I grew that company from Seattle to SF, but in 2008 we grew too fast & crashed. I stopped brewing & spent the next several years moming & learning to farm. Meanwhile local people outright insisted that I get back in the kitchen! Stoked that my tea blends still held a place in people's hearts, I did. Recently I launched a line of farm direct products that I call the Seasonal Small Batch Wonders: delicious & medicinal local foodie gems!
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Uber Herbal's shop just opened up in a 650 sq. ft. space next to the railroad tracks in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon. The front 300 ft. is our regional food store where we sell our own products & those of other local producers. The back 350 ft. is the production kitchen. The two spaces are separated by our bar where we serve tea & toast. The toast is always smothered in fresh, local goodness. Specials include: fresh raspberries & local hazelnut butter, cilantro pecan pesto & microgreens, & rose squish on goat cheese. We put a unique spin on our teas, brewing several with citrus & hot peppers, making a fresh, raw, organic hemp seed milk & serving our chai in a coconut. The chai is a masala brew of all organic spices that we hand blend & grind on a bicycle grinder. After several years in borrowed kitchen spaces it is thrilling to be back in my own kitchen, pumping odd, ancient and nourishing creations out into the world! I love that customers experience our kitchen directly.
What inspires you?This living planet continually astounds me. The farm I steward motivates me while teaching me about flexibility, vibrance, life & death. My daughter rocks my world! She continually blows open my heart & mind with her growth, innocence, play & presence. She inspires me to be a better parent which sculpts me into a better person. I surround myself with creative, highly motivated people who dream big. I completely love watching them set goals & actualize! Especially my parents! Married 47 years, still in love & always modeling integrity, excellence, work ethic, big love & adventurousness. In the kitchen I'm inspired by whatever fresh ingredients or exotic flavors are on hand. I love to make beneficial, healing foods. I'm pretty sure that every word is a prayer & every action is sacred so I do my best to live it.
What makes your business stand out?1. Our recipes. Ancient with a modern spin. 2. Our ingredients. Always organic, wild crafted or grown in our own fields. Imported ingredients are always certified fair trade because we want farmers like us to thrive. 80% of our ingredients are purchased directly from Oregon companies because we want Oregon to thrive. 3. Our process. I cook at low temperatures with long cook times to bring out the properties of roots & barks while preserving the freshness of leaves & fruits. 4. Our bicycle grinder. Stationed at the front of the store, we grind all of our whole, organic chai spices with this funky yet powerful tool. 5. The marigolds. We grow lots of marigolds, which we string into vibrant leis & sell at farmers market. 6. The Seasonal, Small Batch Wonders. Cult. Following. 'Nuff said. 7. My story. Its a good one about getting back up on the horse.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Being in business is like an epic dance contest and you don't always get to pick the music. Also, try not to shelf your self care.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made is a deep respect for the creative process. It is the pulse of our heart's beats. It conjours images of well worn hands, well loved tools and worn out boots. American Made calls to mind a focus on hard work, regional ingredients & thriving local economies. I hear it as a call to return to our roots, when we made things with our hands from the resources readily available. Sturdy things, durable things, beautiful things, nourishing things.... American Made puts the craft in craftmanship. These are action words and to me, the very best form of patriotism. And for me, of course, American Made is a full pantry of packed ball jars and the famous women's quote, "I eat local because I can".
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