Our General Manager recently went to Costa Rica to visit the organic turmeric farm of Gaia Herbs, one of our largest herbal medicine suppliers. She writes about the experience below:
When I think of Costa Rica, I usually think of rainforests and three-toed sloths lazing about the verdant splendor. I’m adding turmeric to that lush list, having made my first trip to Costa Rica last month to visit one of our favorite herbal companies’ organic turmeric farms.
The company I visited is Gaia Herbs, and we have been carrying their products since they first started doing business in the late 1980s. Their name is synonymous with high quality, and for good reason. Gaia tests all raw source materials and each batch of product for purity, integrity, and potency. They are so transparent in their manufacturing processes that they actually make their test results available to the public via their “Meet Your Herbs” page on their website. That’s right: you can find out which tests were performed on any of their products to guarantee it is what it says it is, and has the potency it claims on the package.
Visiting Gaia’s organic turmeric farm on the Nicoya Peninsula was nothing less than spectacular. Gaia founder, Ric Scalzo, guided our group of retailers on the farm while explaining every aspect of growing and harvesting organic turmeric. Scalzo waxed poetic about the plant “microbiome,” or the importance of growing plants that had a symbiotic effect with the turmeric and the soil microorganisms. A burgeoning worm compost pile further ensured Gaia provides its organic turmeric with the richest soil possible.
One of my favorite parts of the farm tour was after we finished watching turmeric being harvested, and we went to where it was being sorted, washed, and dried. Gaia’s local farm operations manager, Luis Iglesias, explained how he had sought to employ local women in an otherwise economically depressed area. News spread by word-of-mouth, and the number of Gaia’s female farm employees grew exponentially.
I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to visit Gaia’s organic turmeric farm in Costa Rica. It has further solidified my already quite positive opinion of Gaia Herbs and what they do, not just for raising the bar for herbal medicine manufacturing practices but also for demanding companies improve the lives of people who work for them and the world at large!