8.11.2010

Roots Remedies


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.

Kathryn's got an easy attitude about her pregnancy, which struck me because it is such a contrast to what was my nervous wreck of an approach: "I just love the way the world takes care of a pregnant woman, and I'm letting it happen," she told me recently. And indeed, when we go out for lunch, people seem to go out of their way to open doors, clear off seats, make special order sandwiches (no deli meats allowed now.) She so far refuses to buy into the "consumer culture" of having a baby--and I know what she means, there's so much stuff now for every second of a baby's life, it is sort of overwhelming--but it can be fun to feather the nest in anticipation. Well, no one has ever accused me of being a reluctant consumer: as soon as they tell me what flavor their baby is, I'm putting in an order for a 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.

9 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I actually think I could use all three.
This wretched summer is getting to me.

Madgew said...

I would have to check the ingredients before I would buy these products. They are very tempting.

Madgew said...

Just checked out their website and everything looks pure and organic. Might have to try something. I might just pick it up when I got Whole Foods. Thanks.

Teresa Hatfield said...

Would also love the book!
Teresa (Splendid Sass)

The Zhush said...

Intrigued by it all...find myself wanting the remedies as well as the book as well! (and I thought those illustrations looked familiar!)

Anonymous said...

Please post a picture of Theo's precious curls!! All we ole moms out here would get a kick out of it!

Karena said...

Thay look wonderful Dominique, I love the story of your young friends career path! Facsinating!

Come and enter my Latest Giveaway!!

Karena
Art by Karena

Doug said...

After a week of long work days, less than optimal sleep and low energy, I'm ready to fork over the cash at my local Whole Foods. Thank you for the post!

Tree said...

You've done a great service to the health of us all - ourselves and our planet. And, the power of your recommendation had immediate local impact - the day it appeared every single drop in all Rhode Island WholeFoods locations was sold out! Thankfully a new order arrived today.