The ‹Oakyard› in Michaelshof is home not only to the magnificent, ancient oak trees (at least 300 years old) for which it is named, but also to ‹Michaelshof Manufactory›. The Manufactory supplies the Farm Shop with a wide array of teas and spices – both demeter standard herbs, seeds and fruits which come from the Medicinal-Plants Garden in Sammatz and blackberry leaves, elderflowers, birch leaves and many more plants which we find growing wild in the local environment.
You can find a troop of harvesters hard at work in our field every single morning from Spring until Autumn – unless its raining that is! Armed with an assortment of harvesting baskets, they collect the precious leaves, fruits and flowers. With well washed hands they approach the plants, carefully making sure not to take too much from any of them. This pruning back is actually good for the plants and ensures that the next shoots that emerge are even stronger than those that came before.
When we harvest the delicate Lemon Verbena for example, the longest branches are cut first and then the harvesters gather together around a large basket and pick the leaves from the bendy branches by hand. This wonderful job leaves you cloaked in an incredibly fresh and fruity fragrance and at lunchtime you are sure to be asked just what kind of interesting perfume you are wearing that day!
The first spring growths such as cowslips, gundermann, stinging nettles, blackthorn etc have a very special magic and some of them also have very beneficial healing effects. Our stimulating spring tea, which is mixed from the first herbs early in the year, has a refreshing, but slightly bitter aroma, and gives people a great boost at the beginning of the year.
…in Summer a big troop of harvesters
work in our field…
You can gather thyme and chamomile, lavender and lemon balm, sage and much more from the gardens and fields during the summer. Some of these contain great stores of essential oils which can be added to tea mixes, making it possible to feel the warmth of a summer day at any time throughout the year
To enhance the beautiful appearance of the blends we always have a lot of calendula, roses, mallows and cornflowers growing in our field – you can catch a glimpse of their wonderful colours when you look through the little windows on the teabags. In this way you can drink with the eyes too!
Finally, in Autumn, the harvest baskets are filled with hops – beautiful bright green cones atop tall stems with a terse, tart fragrance.
In the cold of the winter
the roots of the the hibiscus and lovage, the angelica and the valerian are unearthed …
In the cold of the winter the roots of the the hibiscus and lovage, the angelica and the valerian are unearthed. They are carefully cleaned and cut and then, like all our fresh plants, they are taken to the drying room in the Oakyard where they are spread out on the racks to dry.
A small wood burning stove warms the harvest there, keeping the temperature to a gentle 30°C. The plants are ready after 2-3 days when the dried parts rustle if you shake them slightly. They are then placed in environmentally friendly plastic bags, labelled and weighed. The full shelves are a sure sign of a good harvest that year. Uncommon plants are are also packaged here: hyssop and centaury, icelandic moss (one of the few herbs we need to buy) and Indian nettle.
We make both individual medicines and mixtures and everything is sold through the store and Michaelshof. We hope to be able to start production of ointments, oils and personal care products next year as well.