To Market Pantry: Whole Harmony
BY LISA ZWIRN / PHOTOS MICHAEL PIAZZA
As an herbalist, Stacey Wood noticed she was making the same artisan teas for clients, specifically those blends of herbs to help ease digestion, anxiety, sleep issues, skin problems and headaches—all (possible) symptoms of the age-old nemesis called stress.
“People were looking for a magic tea like a magic pill,” she says. At a holistic health fair in Connecticut a few years ago, she showed up with jars of blended herbs and flowers and sold hundreds of them. “That’s when our little tea company was born,” says Wood.
Whole Harmony, owned by Wood and her partner, David Soule, was soon growing herbs on a plot of land in Haddam, Connecticut. They grow long rows of tulsi (aka holy basil), which is used in Indian medicine. “Tulsi helps your body adapt to stress,” says Wood. “We use it in over half our teas.” They also grow chamomile, rose bushes, raspberries, lemon balm, echinacea, angelica, mint and more. Drying fresh herbs, a process called garbling, is done on racks in a warm room for a few days. “What you’re doing is drying the essential oil in those herbs,” she says. When you reconstitute the tea in boiling water (best to steep, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes), “you’re releasing the essential oils in the plant,” she explains.
Whole Harmony makes over 30 blends of teas, which are available in its herbal apothecary in Haddam, as well as at a handful of farmers markets in Connecticut and online. The most popular, particularly during wintry months, are Immune Builder, Winter Warmer, Sleigh Ride (“tastes like a candy cane,” says Wood) and Gingerbread, a recent release.