Lauren Haynes, Wooden Spoon Herbs

Images: Lauren Haynes

 

Wooden Spoon Herbs is deeply rooted in the Southern Appalachian mountains.
How did your connection to the natural/social environment influence your path to becoming a clinical herbalist and founding WSP?
My ancestors drank this water and ate food grown on this soil for generations, so it's just part of me. I've always had the deepest connection with nature, and when I realized you could use that to heal yourself it was just a revelation. I truly dove in and never looked back.
 
You focus on sourcing American-grown herbs, tell us about that...
Sourcing herbs is exactly like sourcing food. You want it to be as local as possible, as fresh as possible, and to be light on the earth. The end result is tastier and more potent medicine. We started out growing all our ingredients, and as we've scaled, we've shifted into farm partnerships with small, organic herb farms in pristinely gorgeous areas around the country.
 

 

In observing the present health crisis, what are your hopes that we as a society will take away from this moving forward?

Is a full paradigm shift too much to ask for? I want healthcare for all. Universal basic income and an end to homelessness and poverty. I hope everyone can see how similar we all are, and how many things distract us that ultimately are superficial distractions. I want us to all develop our compassion to a new level. 

 

What is your sensory experience of where you live/work? Can you share a touch, taste, smell, look and sound... 

It's super peaceful. Touch - linen quilt. Taste - Emergen-C with a splash of fire cider. Smell - Hawthorn flowers that just bloomed. Look - Vintage Yves St. Laurent sheets. Sound - Rustling leaves and the distant sound of water.
 
Can you share your favorite way to find solitude?
Yes! I love to walk back in the woods, sometimes with music, sometimes just hearing the birds, to the creeks behind my house and just chill and meditate on a rock while I listen to the water. So good.
 

 

“I hope everyone can see how similar we all are, and how many things distract us that ultimately are superficial distractions. I want us to all develop our compassion to a new level.”

 

 

How do you maintain a connection to others during this time of social isolation?

Video chatting my family for hours, calling all my friends, and trying to engage with my community on social media and offer support any way I can. Getting real in all my business emails and cultivating those relationships on a new level. Sending our packaging rep a care package because she has a cough. Growing more human.

  

What adjustments are you making to how you spend your time while in quarantine? For example, some people are creating ambitious to-do lists while others are using the time to slow right down and make space...

Honestly, little has changed. We don't have neighbors, and we see only one or two people a day (including the post man). Our whole team works from home so we are able to keep working. The need for herbal remedies has only increased. So we are actually busier now than before... Which, coupled with the trauma of the situation right now, is a little exhausting.

   

“Honestly, little has changed. We don't have neighbors, and we see only one or two people a day (including the post man). Our whole team works from home so we are able to keep working. The need for herbal remedies has only increased.”

 

 

What is bringing you comfort or joy?

Giving myself permission to work from bed. Bad TV. Beautifully scented hydrosols as a pick-me-up.

 

A daily ritual and/or bedtime routine - what keeps you grounded?

Morning ritual is always making a matcha with homemade almond milk. I use a milk frother, nothing fancy, and add grass-fed collagen for protein, vitamin D drops from Thorne, and a few drops of stevia. Bedtime routine is magnesium powder and flossing my teeth, nerdy but true. 

 

“Bedtime routine is magnesium powder and flossing my teeth, nerdy but true.”

 

 

Do you have a daily creative practice outside of your work? Drawing, music, dance, cooking, gardening...

Yes! I try to meditate every day, which is truly a practice, and I cook three times a day, a by-product of living in a town with no restaurants. I love to look up recipes from restaurants I love, like Honey Hi in LA, and make them at home. Or I love my cookbook collections. Any cookbook by Alice Waters or Amy Chaplin is my go-to.

 

Could you share a favorite nourishing recipe you like to make for your loved ones?

This week I made Tofu & Bok Choy Stir-Fry. Desiccate a half block of tofu and slice into half inch rectangles. Heat avocado oil in a cast iron, and brown the tofu on all sides until crispy, about ten minutes. Meanwhile, mix up your sauce. 1 part rice vinegar to 2 parts each toasted sesame oil and tamari. Slice your boy choy on the bias. Add to pan when tofu is browned and crispy. Pour the sauce over everything, and sauté until the sauce gets caramelized, about five minutes. Serve with white or brown rice.

  

“I try to meditate every day, which is truly a practice, and I cook three times a day, a by-product of living in a town with no restaurants.”

 

 

Is there a book that has inspired/moved you recently. Music or podcasts you are listening to?

The Velvet Monkeywrench by John Muir. It's a guide to building a better society, written in the early 70's. Musically, I am loving the soundtrack to Self Discovery for Social Survival, which is a surfing documentary. And I'm taking a break from podcasts. 

 

A sentimental object?

This funny straw hat I would never wear that my grandma got me. I'll keep it forever.

 

The Velvet Monkeywrench by John Muir. It's a guide to building a better society, written in the early 70's.”

 

 

Wise words/words to live by, can you share a favorite quote? 

"When you think you've rested enough, keep resting." Truly my mantra. Passed to my acupuncturist by her teacher.

 

Discover Wooden Spoon Herbs at Oroboro.

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