It's been interesting to note several trends that have developed over the time since we opened the farm. The first, which I noticed a couple years after we opened the shop, was a renewed interest in herbs for medicinal use. It makes sense for several reasons. For thousands of years before the development of pharmaceuticals, people used what they had to treat diseases and injuries - namely plants. Prior to WWII, plant based medicines were the norm. The trend never disappeared in Europe. They continued using plant based medicinals and researched their effectiveness. The knowledge filtered back to the U.S. and was part of a consumer-led resurgence of interest in medicinal herbs. When you read about all the side effects of some prescription medicines, who wouldn't prefer to start with a more natural, less aggressive approach.
After the recent recession, I talked to so many people who said, "I've never had a garden before - but now I'm going to start." This was in addition to the many people who had always grown fresh herbs and vegetables for their families. Our vegetable sales really increased during this period. I don't know if everyone stuck with it when the economy improved, but it certainly is satisfying to produce your own food, not to mention the cost savings and improved flavor and quality.
The latest trend is an extension of the local food movement. It seems that people have gone beyond just growing their own food to producing their own soaps and body care products. We have seen increased sales in supplies, containers and essential oils in the last year or two. More people seem to be concerned not only with what they put in their bodies, but also what they apply to them. Customers who are purchasing supplies almost unanimously talk about the chemical ingredients with multisyllabic names in commercially produced soaps, lotions, shampoos, deodorants, etc. Producing your own gives you control over the process and ingredients used, resulting in high quality items.
The common thread running through these trends seems to be a strongly renewed interest in the use of natural, organic products in our lives. The trend seems to be back to the basics - and that everything old is new again.
Our newsletter will be coming out during the first half of November. Be on the lookout!