News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 4/13/2011 8:48pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.
Washing Japanese KnotweedPruning Apple Trees

Spring greetings and warm, green blessings to all!

Hi, I'm Chris, writing to you from Matthias and Andrea's, Healing Spirits Herb Farm in Avoca, NY.

I wanted to let everyone know what a wonderful experience it has been being on their farm for a little over a week now. How did I happen upon this little, slice of heaven? From a website called HelpX or HelpXchange ( HelpX is a place where farm owners (or anyone looking for help of any kind) can make a listing where they talk about their farm and put up some pictures. On the other end, people like me, who are looking for a wonderful experience (a vacation, I call it) can surf the website by country or state to find all help listings. If you have heard of WWOOF, World Wide Organization of Organic Farmers, it is much like this, but I believe the HelpX website is set up to be much more user-friendly and you can search help listings prior to signing up, which makes things much easier.

My experience on the Healing Spirits Herb Farm has been nothing short of what I call a "life awakening". The first day I found myself grinding Japanese Knotweed, an immune booster, preparing it to be shipped out for encapsulation. It was somewhat surreal being on the manufacturing end, since I've only been a consumer. Regardless of what is being produced, you will find being on this end for a change, brings the picture full circle and creates a sense of completion in ones-self. 

In addition, I've harvested other amazing healing herbs, like Nettles and Teasel root. --add what they do-- On hands and knees, with blessings spoken, I reached into the nutrient rich, organic soil and gently pulled these amazing healers from the womb of our, Mother Earth. It is truly an amazing, even spiritual experience, which will bring you closer to the natural world that sustains all life.

Not too far from the house are a few apple trees. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze kicking up off the creek that the trees grow next to. The trees are young and in need of some guidance. Like a good steward of the earth, Matthias showed me how to guide these trees out to the sides so that all of the tree will receive the light it needs to grow. We snipped most of the branches that were growing straight up and would eventually grow to block the rest of the tree from sunlight.

A little sore from a days work? Got a cold? Allergies got you sniffling and sneezing? Matthias and Andrea can tell you about the hundreds of herbs they use and even assist your healing like the herbalists of old.

In addition to their positive healing teachings, Andrea and Matthias have a strong connection within their local community and the national herbal community and know how to eat healthy and local. They are well known, experts in their field. Not only that, but they support their local community and friends by trading their wares for things they don't make, such as: maple syrup, milk, produce and meat. By doing so, they set a strong example for how others can sustainably and self-sufficiently live their lives.

I promise you that by the time you are done here, you will be more knowledgable about medicinal herbs and life in general, and feel a stronger sense of community and family.

Green Blessings,

Chris, Andrea, Matthias and the Healing Spirits Herb Farm Family

Posted 9/29/2010 9:00pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


We welcomed the autumn season with a weekend in Rowe, MA, where the 19th Annual Green Nations Gathering took place.  It was fabulous!!!  Matthias and I were honored to be presenters this year.  The Rowe Conference Center was very special – we have talked for years of going there and have never gone until now.  I am sure we will be going there more often in the future – it has very special energy.  We fell in love with the land that they care take so well.  There were just over 100 people which made for a very special time of getting to know people as well as having time to visit with old friends, sitting on the rocking chair on the side porch talking to people as they walked by.  It doesn't get much better than that.

We are all getting ready for the Northeast Herbal Association (NEHA) meeting that is happening in western New York in November on the 13th and 14th.  Ryan Drum, PHD is going to be the keynote speaker.  We all feel very pleased that such a reversible herbalist is going to grace us with his knowledge.  It promises to be a fun filled weekend!  If you are interested in learning more go to

We are busy getting in roots, roots, and more roots.  It is that time of the year!  Today we dug Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow Dock, Valerian, Comfrey, and Elecampane root.  Tomorrow will be more of the same.  It is glorious to be out enjoying the land this time of the year and we hope you are too!

Posted 9/20/2010 4:01pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


Hello Everyone!

Red Clover

Just wanted to let you know we still have some beautiful Red Clover Blossoms available and we won't be able to pick much longer as the season is coming to an end. The weather here has been just gorgeous and it is one of the most wonderful crops we've ever had, with the deepest purple I've seen. Very Happy Clover.

We also have wonderful elderberries, just in time for the cold and flu season. Elderberries are very good for boosting the immune system. We eat them every morning on our oatmeal. Delicious!!

P.S. - The elderberries are dried.

7 song class

7-Songs and his students from the North East School of Botanical Studies, visited our farm this past week.  How wonderful to be around so many young people excited about the green world, just makes you feel alive with the promise of the next generation. 

This weekend we will be teaching at the Green Nations Gathering in Rowe, MA.  We have been going to this gathering on and off for about 20 years.  Pam Montgomery has such a nice way of honoring all of the green world, and its an honor to be part of this celebration.

Posted 9/7/2010 6:31pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


Our website and email are finally back up and running!!!  I am sure you all know how we feel having run the gauntlet of trying to understand why things aren't happening the way they should in your head but not with the computers.  Thank you all for everyone that helped us out!!!

We are busy getting ready for our open house on the 18th of this month.  Please check the calendar for more details about that.  It should be a nice time for all of us.

We have the extended growing house up and about half full – we hope to finish filling it this week.  It’s so nice and big!  We are planning on getting more yarrow, nettle and lemon balm – the ones we run out of so often.  It’s so much fun thinking of how it will look come spring…a lush garden inside while their brothers and sisters outside are just beginning to poke their heads out.

For everyone that is going to Green Nation's Gathering in Mass., we will see you there!  It always proves to be a good time by all.  Come join us if you can.

Our two granddaughters that live here on the farm just started school today.  Olivia was so excited to start 1st grade this year.  Last night I "unwrinkled" her skirt she was wearing – unwrinkled does sound better than ironed.  Kaylee is going to nursery school, and is very happy to be going out the door with her sister.  Her parents will pick her up and bring her home before lunch and I am sure she will be ready for a long nap.  Our grandson in TN started school last month – it seems so early, but then they get out early too.  Our other granddaughter is getting her learners permit – now that’s amazing to me!  Where did that time go to?

~ Andrea & Matthias

Posted 8/17/2010 5:18pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


Green Nations are communities of people who love Earth, respect all her beings, and honor the interdependent diversity needed for peaceful, sustainable life. It includes herbalists, gardeners, farmers, environmentalists, healthcare providers, spiritual ecologists, and earth stewards. They extend a warm invitation to all to gather “to learn, inspire each other, network for the planet, play, and renew our commitment to live in beauty and walk in harmony on Earth, our partner. Ours is a revolution of the heart, taking action to make the world a better place for life.”

Organizers say they are “delighted to bring the 19th Green Nations Gathering to Rowe, a spiritual center that supports our visions, dreams, and goals. After doing some large conferences, we’ve found the intimate container that Rowe provides enhances our ability to make deep connections with each other, the plants, and Earth.” In turn, Rowe is delighted to have Green Nations back again.

Teachers will gather from near and far to bring participants a full schedule of plant walks, plant spirit, herbal, health, and food topics, as well as ceremony, an herbal emporium, and lots of fun. There will be an opportunity to interact with a panel of herbalists covering a live case study.

Beginning with an opening circle on Friday afternoon, the gathering will continue throughout the weekend with three concurrently held classes in each of the six sessions. There will be classes for both beginners and experienced practitioners. For those who want even greater depth, there are intensives that last four hours and cost an additional $35. Throughout the gathering, there will be a reverence for all life and its diversity and an emphasis on renewal and sustainability.

No Photo Available

Special guest, fondly referred to as the Mother of Herbalism, is Rosemary Gladstar from Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center and Botanical Sanctuary. She will give the keynote address as well as teach an intensive and a class. Other well-known teachers include Susun Weed of the Wise Woman Center; Karyn Sanders of Blue Otter Herb School; 7Song of the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine; Chris Marano of Clear Path Herbals;

No Photo Available
Pam Montgomery of Partner Earth Education Center; Kate Gilday and Don Babineau of Woodland Essence; Matthiasand Andrea Reisen of Healing Spirits, Margi Flint of Earth Song Herbals, Bevin Clare of Tai Sophia Herbal Medicine SchoolLeslie Silver of Lifeline Botanicals, Lesley Wooler of the Herb Wyfe and Bonnie Kavanagh of the Herbal Nurse. Mark Carlin of Sweetwater Sanctuary will lead a prayer lodge ceremony. We’ll dance and sing around an Equinox Fire Circle.

Please visit or call 802-293-5996

Posted 8/17/2010 4:10pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


You can feel a change in the weather – even though it is still hot and muggy it feels different in the evening and morning.  Summer is thinking about slipping back away… doesn’t have quite the force it had a month ago.



We are busy harvesting red clover, with all this cool night weather and rain it is so beautiful.  If you are thinking about wanting any now is the time to let us know, as it is gone about as fast as we can pick it.  We are also into Elderberry season and picking faster than the birds we hope!

Open HouseNext month on the 18th we are having an open house here from 10 to 3, if you are in the area please stop in.  If you wish to make it a weekend in the Finger Lakes area, my neighbor down the road has a wonderful B&B that is in an old church – in fact both of us met there when our families where much younger.  Another neighbor up the road has a wonderful B&B at their farm as well - like us, they used to have dairy cows but now they have cute sheep!

~ Green Blessings to all of us this week ~ Andrea and Matthias

Posted 8/9/2010 9:28pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Father of the bride


It seems like forever since I’ve written.  Having our daughter’s wedding here on the farm was wonderful and beautiful and time consuming but so very worth it.  They transformed our barn into a beautiful Renaissances wedding.  The work they and their friends did was truly amazing.  


Happy couple

The wedding was the afternoon of Saturday, July 18th.  I pulled in with my sister from out west and a friend at ten o’clock Thursday evening before the wedding.  They took a long look at the major construction going on – asked among themselves and wondered – where is the wedding going to be?  There is no way it can possibly happen here.  There was still so much work to be done.  But by Saturday, it was a place of pure beauty and serenity – especially with so many lovely flowers all over the property.

But it’s time to get back to work and we are now harvesting like made to make up for lost time.  Today we harvested wood betony, nettle, alfalfa, mint, bee balm and red clover blossoms – and I am debating with myself if I should harvest more of the hyssop (hasn’t been a great seller lately, so if anyone is interested please let me know).  Hate not to harvest it, but there are so many plants calling to me right now so  I do need to be selective.



We (my husband Matthias and a friend) are putting up a new growing house.  It is just enough different from our greenhouses with its roll up sides to be a little confusing.  I will try and have pictures next week – it is pretty in its own way :)


The last few days we have had a young man from Germany visiting – he was here 6 years ago.  He is biking and taking the train all over the USA, looking into EcoVillage and Camp Hill type places.  They have had one in mind for over 8 years and will start building next year.  All very interesting and exciting, so many different ways to look at living on this beautiful planet we all inhabit.

~ Green Blessings...Andrea and Matthias

Posted 6/15/2010 12:25pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Here we go again, yesterday when I wrote this it went poof!! into cyber space never to be heard from again, and its just done the same thing to me.  I work much better with the plants than the computer!!!!

We have had a lot of rain here, and today is finally sunny.  We like the rain, however a bit more sun to go with the rain, is always nice. It has been over 2 weeks since the sun shone brightly and we are ready for the warmth.  Our plants don't seem to mind though, they have grown like crazy, its been fun to watch, you can almost hear the leaves growing, if you take the time to listen.  We have been busy harvesting the largest plantain I have seen in years. The catnip, mugwort, motherwort, sage, feverfew and hyssop is calling to me, its time come and harvest us.  Which I am going to do as soon as I finish writing thisRed Clover .

Our roses are also magifient, they are sharing with me over a pound of buds a day, and we haven't even gotten into there heavy production time.  Just LOVE the roses, I sit and watch them while feeling so peaceful and  know I see them waving at me!!!

This weekend we had a North East Herbal Association Council meeting here at the farm, people came from PA, MA, CT, and eastern NY.  It was a drive for everyone, but all agreed it was a beautiful journey and the peacefulness of the farm made it worth the trip.  We put the finishing touches to our annual conference.  Dr. Ryan Drum is going to be our keynote speaker, if you are a member be sure to come, and if you aren't, now is a good time to join and come to the conference.  For infomration go to

I am afraid to write any more as it might go into cyberspace on me again.  Have a great week and enjoy the plant kingdom.  Great Green Blessings,         Andrea and Matthias

Posted 6/1/2010 8:52am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.
Trust that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and also remembered the men and women that made it all possible for us.

Last night the rains arrived and are still visiting us on and off.  After weather in the 80's for two weeks the plants really need this nourishment.  A neighbors' brother pulled out 4 roses bushes that where then given to us, they where suffering so much, the bushes where really too big to be pulled out of the ground and where ready to bud out.  With this rain you can feel and see them coming back to life a bit more.  Even though we watered them two to three times a day, its not the same as rain from the heavens.  Our other roses are now blooming, the start of their glory days, they are so beautiful!!  Even Zoben the cat thinks so. 

With this rain we will be harvesting feverfew, sage and wood botony, its really early for them, but they seem to be very happy to be blooming early.  Good health to all,  Andrea and Matthiasroses and cat

Posted 5/17/2010 11:22am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.
This weeks special
 1 oz. bottle of Sweet Birch Oil with any purcharse

Sweet Birch also know as Black Birch comes from our woods, when I peel the bark the sweetness of the aroma takes me back to when I was a child playing in the woods with my brothers and sisters.  I am sure we where playing cowboys and indians, or building forts to keep the British out.  After my brother made a school trip to Fort Tiriconderoga, we where always keeping the British out!!!

Once all the rain stopped, and the frost decided to let go, we have had beautiful spring weather, not to hot, just perfect for planting outside.  The plant babies love the wet soil and cool days to adjust to their new homes.  I love that we are planting dandelion and burdock in rows, all our neighbors are trying their best to get rid of their Dandelion and burdock and we can't grow enough of them!!!

Can't remember a year when we have had so many birds, and so many differnt kinds!!We have Doves, Robins, Blue Birds, Blue Jays, Cardinials, Red Winged Black Bird, Finches, Junco, Crakles, Kildeer, and of course the Blue Herons are back fishing in the creek and a few I am sure I have forgotten.  We have the same Robin back for the 3rd year, we can tell because he  knocks on our window early in the morning and in the evening.  I am sure he is trying to tell us something we just can't quite get the message. Other than I think someone is knocking at our door and I go and open the door and no one is there.  Happy Spring  Andrea and MatthiasPlanting Flowers