Double Market Weekend! Find us at the Iowa City Farmers Market & Cedar Rapids Downtown Market Saturday, June 1st

Our Process

Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) in bloom
Our Farm
We grow over 150 varieties of medicinal and culinary herbs, flowers, and perennials on our farm. Click here to view the full list of herbs we currently grow. We are currently Certified Naturally Grown and are pursuing organic certification for our land. We utilize regenerative practices that foster the health and resilience of our soil such as low-till systems, compost, cover crops, and interplanting. We plant organic and non-GMO seeds and never use any chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers on our crops.
We are intimately involved in the entire life cycle of the plants we cultivate - we start the seeds, nurture the soil, tend the plants throughout the season, and harvest by hand at each herbs peak medicinal potency. Our herbs are processed immediately after harvest or are brought to our drying facility just 200 feet from our fields to be shade-dried at low temperatures. We think that dried herbs should look and smell as vibrant as they did fresh! We then garble and process the dried herbs by hand, allowing us close inspection of our herbs before packaging.
You may notice a theme - we are there to monitor plant health and product quality at every single point in the process. We want to provide the highest quality herbs we can while investing in the health of our land and our community. Unfortunately, the botanical industry at large relies mostly on bulk dried herbs that have been grown in countries where the farming practices, post-harvest handling, and labor wages are questionable at best and downright harmful at worst. For an excellent insight into the international herbal trade, I suggest reading Ann Armbrecht's The Business of Botanicals
Our Ingredients
Over 90% of the botanicals we use in our products are grown right here on our farm in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Our apothecary features herbs that grow well in our bio-region so that we can ensure sustainable production. Herbs that we cannot grow ourselves are thoughtfully sourced from other small herb farms or through reputable herb distributors. We prioritize purchasing the other ingredients we use (carrier oils, honey & beeswax, alcohol etc) from local producers and certified organic operations.
Our Products
Rhubarb Botanicals creates herbalist-formulated plant-based remedies to support total health and well-being. We make the majority of our tinctures from fresh plants that we harvest on our farm at a 1:2 ratio with 50-95% certified organic cane alcohol, and make dried plant tinctures at a 1:5 ratio with 40-80% alcohol or non-palm derived glycerin. The tinctures are left to macerate for at least one month before being strained in our hydraulic tincture press. Our formulas are thoughtfully designed and blended with intention.
We are a small-batch farm-to-bottle operation. While we aim to be consistent in our offerings, we ask that you realize that our formulations and products may change over time. This may be due to the abundance or the failure of a crop, logistics in sourcing an herb or ingredient, or various other factors that may arise. Our products may also taste or look slightly different batch-to-batch as we fine-tune our extraction ratios and production methods. We think that allowing the plant to speak for itself and witnessing the changes year to year is thrilling, and seek to honor these expressions in our products. We welcome your questions and feedback.
We believe that herbs are more than the sum of their parts. They are intelligent and complex beings, each with hundreds to thousands of unique compounds that have been symbiotically developing over thousands of years to ensure the survival of their species. Though the research being done on isolated plant compounds can yield interesting and useful findings, we are wary of this sort of reductionistic thinking. Our whole-plant extracts offer the full spectrum of plant constituents while honoring the intelligence of nature.