Digging Deeper with Taproot: Meet Contributor Rachel Wolf
In anticipation of the launch of Issue 23::TRADE later this month, we got in touch with some of the issue's contributors. We wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at how their pieces in TRADE came to be and dig a little deeper into the stories behind these inspiring makers, doers, and dreamers.
First up, is our interview with Rachel Wolf whose piece "Turmeric For Health" you'll find in the HANDS section of TRADE. Thanks to Rachel for taking the time to share these stories with us!
In this issue of Taproot you focus on turmeric, with its various uses and health benefits. I’d love to hear more about your explorations with turmeric. Do you have any personal favorites of the recipes you share in this issue?
I fell in love with turmeric a few years ago when I found it was recommended for inflammation. I started making and drinking Cardamom and Ginger Golden Paste with my daughter and we both couldn't get enough! In the fall and winter we drink it nearly every night. I started recommending it to everyone - my team at work, my mom and sister - pretty much anyone who would listen - as a great way to naturally and gently reduce inflammation.
When I was testing the recipes for this issue, though, I had a hard time keeping the Turmeric Almond Bits around long enough to photograph! My daughter and her friends were constantly sneaking them out of the bowl between photographs. I'd call that a success.
You run an herbal body care company, LüSa Organics. How did you first get involved in this, and how has the company evolved?
I started making body care way back in the mid 1990's after reading an article in a magazine about a soapmaking family. The magazine belonged to my mom and I kept borrowing her copy to obsess over the art-meets-science romantic notion of homemade soap. Finally my mom bought me a book about soapmaking and a few months later I made my first batch. I was immediately hooked.
From soaps I moved into balms, oils, and scrubs and before I knew it I had an over-grown hobby/business on my hands. I had a career at the time, but my evenings and weekends were spent dreaming up and making products. In 2002 I left my career to stay home with my first baby. I began making mama- and baby-care products at this time, as well as incorporating herbs in my products. Honestly, I think that's really when the magic began to happen. Because herbal infusions take everything to a whole different level.
By the time our second child was born my husband quit his job as well and we made it a full-on family business. That's when we renamed our business LüSa Organics, after our two kids Lupine and Sage. I can't believe that was almost 11 years ago!
Tell us a little bit about the products and recipes you create. Where do you find your inspiration?
Each product line seems to spin off from my current chapter in life. Body care evolved into mama and baby care, and now, with a 15 and 10 year old at home, I'm experimenting with a line of products for teens. (I'm also experimenting with products for men, because my husband deserves a good smelling beard balm after all these years of making body care with me.) I'm 44 now, so I expect that means I'll launch a line for mature skin soon!
Other inspiration comes from the wild plants I see around me. As an example, last year I noticed an abundance of nettle and horsetail growing together along our creek. I knew that both plants were wonderful for hair, so I was inspired me to make an infused Sea Spray.
What projects do you have in the works? What’s next for you that you’re particularly excited about?
Last fall I started offering women's herbal retreats - intimate gatherings of women coming together to relax, learn about herbs, make remedies together. I've offered two so far and have a third coming up this fall. (A couple of Taproot readers have driven across a few state lines to attend, and it's been such an honor to meet and make remedies with these inspiring women.) I'm also offering a parent-child herbal summer camp at the end of August that is going to be such fun! I can hardly wait.