Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Some people came to the farm one day.  They said they had an herbal business and were interested in seeing what we had to offer.  I explained that we were strictly a retail business and did not do wholesale.  They were completely perplexed and had blank looks on their faces.  I was quite amazed that someone who had a  business did not know the difference between wholesale and retail.  Although they might deal in the same product (like plants) the models for wholesale and retail are quite different. 
Retail suits me just fine.  I grow 99% of the plants I sell.  We sell to the public.  People come to the farm (or our stand at Landis Valley Herb Faire.)  I get to talk to loads of nice, like-minded people about plants.  I make suggestions  based on their needs and sites.  I recommend uses for plants they may be interested in.  I show them a particular plant and how it performs in the garden.  It's a wonderful job and I love it.
I do buy 10-12 flats of plants from an excellent wholesaler in Dillsburg.  They are generally things I need just a small quantity of that I can't grow from seed.  And we buy items wholesale for the shop--soaps, lotions, spritzes, roll-ons, etc. from Tina & Maryanne, aka 'The Twisted Sisters' who do only wholesale business--selling to other businesses rather than the general public.
Back to the visitors.  I asked what their business was.  One said they had taken a course from 'Person X' and they were now an herbalist.  I'm always suspicious of people who call themselves herbalists--because it really is a meaningless term.  There are without a doubt well-known, nationally and internationally recognized authorities in herbs.  They could certainly call themselves herbalists, but it's  probably not fair to them since anyone can take a course and make the same claim.  Again, some very respected people teach excellent courses that would be a great basis for an herbal education.  I did not know, nor had ever heard of, 'Person X' who had taught this visitor.  I asked some people, much more versed in the herbal education field and they had not heard of 'Person X'.  Perhaps they are legit, perhaps not.  Certainly, there are excellent herbal courses available; some no doubt, are scams.  If you are going to take advice from someone on products that you will apply to yourself or ingest, please make certain they are well qualified to offer that advice.  When people ask me if I'm an herbalist, I always reply as the late, great Bertha Reppert (a true herbalist) did--"I am a student of herbs."

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