Here is what the best-dressed refrigerator is wearing these days--remembering that it's what's inside that counts. I've got a stash of handsome, old-fashioned brown glass bottles bearing the label Roots Remedies. They contain herbal brews that address three different needs: Energy Tonic--vitality by the spoonful; Immune Tonic--wellness by the spoonful; and Sleep Tonic--slumber by the spoonful. I am currently helping myself to the Immune Tonic, feeling a bit scratchy-throated--it features elderberries, angelica root and nettle leaf, and seems to be warding off a cold. Judging by the hours in bed he is logging, Theo, my 21-year old son, seems to be guzzling Sleep Tonic, (lemon balm, skullcap, valerian and linden flower). And the bedhead he is sporting--I haven't seen such a glorious abandon of blond curls since he was three.
Roots Remedies is a company that was started by my brilliant young friend, Kathryn Grantham, and I don't use that adjective lightly. This is a young woman who moved to New York City after graduating from Tulane in New Orleans, started a bookstore, Bluestockings, when she was 22, sold it five years later to the current owners, and went to Harvard Business School. Upon graduation, she didn't head into investment banking. Instead, she married her marketing and finance sensibilities to the expertise and craftsmanship of an herbalist.
She and her partner buy only organic ingredients from family famers in the Northeast, then manufacture small batches of the tonics in a facility on the coast of Massachusetts. Kathryn has introduced her tonics to buyers at Whole Foods and other excellent retailers--you can find a list at her website, along with the beginning of what promises to be a charming blog. What with sampling and selling, Kathryn's been busy--and now she and her husband Oliver are expecting their first child in November.
Swans Island blanket. (Every second of sleeping is precious.) I've already stockpiled my favorite new children's book, appropriately enough called The Duchess of Whimsy: An Absolutely Delicious Fairy Tale, by the husband and wife team, Randall and Peter de Seve. You might recognize his illustration style, as he has contributed many covers to The New Yorker.
Eventually, Roots Remedies will be creating other regional tonics, using the herbs and flowers of the Southwest, the West, and the Midwest. But for now, who doesn't need a little hit of American Ginseng, Black Currant and Oat Tops from time to time--no matter where you're living? The Energy Tonic lifted me right out of my recent Heat Wave Torpor; I drained every drop. There's always mail order.
Hat's off to an idealistic entrepreneur, my favorite kind.