Experimenting with Herbal Coffee | October 4, 2022

It all started with the dandelions. There is something so satisfying about digging up the fat, milky taproots with all those knobs and appendages. Each root has a story to tell about where they’ve found space to flourish and where the crown has been cut back or the roots bump into each other and spiral around.

In the spring I learned how to roast the roots and brew a warming, bitter beverage (check out our video on youtube). Now I’ve leveled up to a full herbal chai inspired blend with burdock root, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, roasted dates, cinnamon, and cardamon. It’s very labor intensive and that makes each sip all the more special. Fall is the perfect season to collect these nuts and roots and experiment with your own herbal coffee blend. You can follow my instructions below, or just wing it, which is my preferred method.

  1. Use a pitch fork or long spade to carefully dig up the tap roots of burdock and dandelion. Do not substitute other types of dock such as yellow or curly unless you want a laxative effect.
  2. Clean your roots thoroughly and cut them into relatively uniform 1/4 – 1/8 inch pieces.
  3. Collect any hickory nuts and hazelnuts.
  4. Roast roots and nuts in 360 degree oven for 45-60 minutes or until you get a deep brown color.
  5. Dice up some medjool dates and add them in the oven for the last 20ish minutes. They will look burnt, but that’s ok
  6. Let everything cool down, then smash the nuts between two rocks until they’re all broken.
  7. Grind everything in your coffee grinder with a stick of cinnamon and a couple cardamon pods
  8. Add your ground mixture to a coffee filter and pour over with boiling water.
  9. Enjoy with creamer and maple syrup if you really want a sweet treat.

Making it up as we go along | March 3, 2022

There is a Calvin and Hobbes comic making the rounds lately that is just a little too on the nose. It ends with Calvin proclaiming “I think grown-ups just act like they know what they’re doing.” As a full fledged certified adult, I can’t help but agree. I like to believe that if we knew for certain how to create a perfectly safe and serene world for everyone, we would do that. While that may seem impossible on a global scale, this is our goal for the small bubble that is Persimmon Herb School.

In prioritizing reciprocal, healing relationships over power and profit, we learn that all of our interests are deeply connected. When I feel discouraged by the state of the world, I remind myself that I’m not alone. I enjoy solidarity visits with kindred spirits and like-minded local growers, and I throw some seeds in the ground, because regardless of what these clueless world leaders do, I know one thing for sure – everyone’s got to eat. If our seeds can help feed our family and our neighbors, we’re doing our part to create a safe and nourishing space.

Solidarity with our future selves | February 16, 2022

The most recent episode of This American Life: Apocalypse Creep, is a bit of a downer, but they do share important insight into why it’s so hard for us to make the necessary changes to protect our future interests. Regardless of how good the scientific models for climate change are, the future is, by definition, uncertain and undefined. This makes it hard to accept that stability is an illusion, but it also offers hope. “The future always lives in our mind. The present has our hearts.” they say at the end of the episode.

Our children also have our hearts, and I am willing to do just about anything to make sure they have a livable future. Hartford, our 8 year old, said to me just a few days ago that he doesn’t want to die from climate change. He wants to live a long happy life. Isn’t this what we want for everyone, whether it’s our genetic kin, our close friends, or complete strangers living far away?

A shared commitment to the next generation is a unifying force that can guide our work together. Hope for the future allows us to release shame around our past and give us courage to make drastic changes in the present. The internal work of surrendering attachments opens our minds and hearts to all possibilities, and supports flexible, creative, community driven, future oriented strategies to address the changes we know are inevitable.

How do we stay optimistic? | February 1, 2022

Do you ever feel naive or childish getting excited about Spring, as if the flowers will somehow shade out any suffering, the rising temperatures will melt our grief, and the rain will wash away our fear and conflict? Sometimes my little garden is the only place I feel I have any power, and even that gets out of hand by June. But like the sunrise each morning, Spring offers us a new start and I can’t help but embrace the optimism. After all, the plants are my teachers and they never give up.

We will never give up either! Our mission is to empower community care, and with that we’ve planned several spring themed events to channel our aspirations toward that which we can control. Persimmon Herb School is a welcoming and safe space where we can all work together to build the future we know is possible.

We are part of nature | January 18, 2022

When the soil, plants, and water slow down, this is our invitation to slow down with them. Rest and restoration have the same root word for a reason. Creating safe space to relax allows our body to heal. The stillness and peace we find through yoga and meditation invites the inner wisdom of our cells to focus on repair. As we begin to take control of this inner process of healing, we find strength to heal externally in our relationships, communities, and larger systems and institutions.

Imagine if we all made this commitment together. If we believe in unconditional self love and forgiveness. If the darkest depths of our feelings actually represent our expansive potential for understanding and growth. If we step into each moment as an opportunity to listen, learn, and grow together. This is why yoga and meditation are integral to our mission here at Persimmon Herb School.

Peeking out from behind the clouds | December 31, 2021

As eager as we are, health and safety remain our top priorities.

I don’t know about you, but following the news makes my head spin. It feels like we’re back to a place where it’s impossible to make plans, and yet somehow we forge ahead. Health and wellbeing are not isolated to individual choices, and we can’t remain isolated either.

Our health runs much deeper than the binary of positive or negative, vaccinated or not. Justice requires balance and safety requires trust. Healing through solidarity, patience, and mutual respect guides all of our work here.

We are outspoken advocates for the safety and efficacy of vaccination, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the scientists and health care workers who have sacrificed to see us through this pandemic. Holding our interconnected wellbeing at the center, we will continue to offer outdoor in-person programs, and fully masked indoor yoga classes.

We’re ready for a fresh start | December 6, 2021

Same great school you know and love, now with a new name.

After six years of business and two years of pandemic, we’re ready for a fresh start. Greg and I took some time to regroup, recoup, and reset. Now we’re able to show up for you with renewed passion and creativity. We have designed programs and experiences that will help us all embody the community care we so desperately need in this world. Through a combination of herbalism, foraging, yoga, meditation, and land stewardship we can connect to the wisdom of nature and learn to take care of ourselves and each other.

We’re working with friends and partners to expand our offerings. Please reach out if you have a vision or idea you’d like see happen at Persimmon Herb School. We have sliding scale pricing for most programs to ensure accessibility and help redistribute abundance. We will also have on-site childcare available for a small additional fee, so families and caregivers feel welcome and supported. Thank you for your patience as we stumble and fumble along trying to find a rhythm in this chaotic and demanding world. We look forward to collaborating, connecting, and co-creating with you!