DOBSON — Much more than parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme grow at Lavender Anne’s Herb Farm. What began as a desire for Kelly Dougherty and her husband Joe to provide homegrown goodness for themselves, has grown into a business for the couple. Their journey began several years ago while living in Nicaragua.
“When we lived in Central America was our first gardening experience,” Dougherty said. “We had a little garden out front. As we were looking to move back to the states we really wanted to have an experience on an organic farm, learning to grow our own food.”
Upon returning to the states, the two worked first at an organic farm and goat dairy in western Pennsylvania and then an herb farm in the same region. It was here that Kelly Dougherty began learning more about medicinal herbs. Quiet Creek Herb Farm in Brookville, Pennsylvania, offered a variety of educational courses. Cheese making, soap making and the use of medicinal herbs were a few of the courses in which Dougherty took part. She also has taken courses at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Weaverville.
“They just had a really amazing program,” she said of her time at Quiet Creek. “That kind of set us on the path of being interested in providing for ourselves and our family.”
She made soap for friends and family as Christmas gifts and when the soap was all gone, her friends and family wanted more.
From that first batch of soap, Lavender Anne’s was born. Dougherty now offers a full line of products including soaps, salves, medicinal tinctures and vinegar, aromatherapy sprays and more.
“I think there’s a wonderful place for conventional medicine, but it’s also gotten to a point where we’re putting things in and on our body that we don’t know anything about and that are chemically produced,” Dougherty said. “We started with a desire for ourselves to know what we’re putting on and in our bodies and provide the same for our customers so they can learn more about what’s happening, what going into products, where things are coming from.”
Lavender Anne’s soaps are made with all natural ingredients and essential oils, as well as herbs grown locally at the Doughertys’ farm.
Herbal salves made with natural oils, beeswax and infused with medicinal herbs as well as moisturizing ingredients such as cocoa or shea butter are popular items.
“Each recipe is made up a little bit different whether it’s for sensitive skin, eczema and psoriasis, or a healing, like a natural Neosporin salve.”
Dougherty also makes a lymphatic cleansing salve used to stimulate movement and clear the lymph system in the body as well as herbal tinctures.
“Tinctures are alcohol preparations of medicinal herbs meant to be taken internally for various things,” Dougherty explained. “We have some single herb tinctures and then other ones that are blends of different herbs. We get some of our alcohol from the Mayberry Distillery.
“Taking herbs in their whole form is the safest and most wholesome way, whether its topically or internally,” she added. Using local ingredients is also important to Dougherty.
“We do try to buy from other farmers that we sell with at the farmers market and local businesses. We want to be able to support other local businesses in this area.”
Her latest creation will be a medicinal vinegar called fire cider which will be made using apple cider vinegar infused with peppers and ginger, grown locally at Shore Farms in Yadkinville.
“It’s a spicy medicinal vinegar that helps wake up the digestive system. It’s really good if you feel a cold or stomach ache coming on. It will just kind of knock everything out your system,” she said.
Some of these products may remind customers of old home remedies their grandparents may have used, or the concept of herbal medicines could be totally new.
“We’re interested in providing healthy and sustainable options for people and for them to feel safe and comfortable trying something new, stepping away from a more conventional option,” Dougherty said.
Lavender Anne’s products are available for purchase at www.lavenderannes.com. Dougherty also sells her products at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem, which is open on Saturdays until Nov. 19. She plans to have a booth at several upcoming events this fall and winter including the Whimsical Women craft fair in Pffaftown in November, the Krankies Craft Fair in Winston-Salem and Open Air Art Market at Foothills Arts Council in Elkin, both in December. Visit Lavender Anne’s page on Facebook and Instagram for updates on new products.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.