BACK TO THE SOURCE: CORNFLOWERS
Here at Apoterra, we are extremely excited for batch# 119 of Herbal Detoxifying Steam! As you know, we are committed to sourcing ingredients that are fresh, sustainable, and where possible, local. Our skincare is only as good as the ingredients that go into it, and we believe in knowing not only where our supplies come from, but also the people who grew them. That is why for this next batch of Herbal Steam, we partnered with local urban farm, Brooklyn Grange.
We just launched a special batch made with cornflowers grown on their rooftop garden. Read on for more background on where these cornflowers came from and meet the farmer, Liz Dowd, who lovingly produced them. We’re so excited to get cornflowers blooms from Brooklyn Grange for our small batch Herbal Detoxifying Steam!
Can you tell our readers a bit about the practices used to grow these beautiful florals?
Brooklyn Grange farmers set out to better our community, our environment, and let's be honest, ourselves! That means we believe in organic, sustainable practice on our farm. These blooms have enjoyed our own compost and resident bees
What else can cornflowers be used for? Is there a reason you chose to grow this particular flower?
We love cornflowers on the Grange (we call them bachelors buttons) because they are an early pop of color, one of the first blooms in the spring. They hold up to our high winds up on the roof and propagate themselves each year, which makes one less thing we farmers have to plant! They are edible too! Our customers use the petals to dress up a cocktail or summer salad!
And what about you, you're the farm manager behind this wonderful operation. How did you find yourself here?
I grew-up in Vermont, with my hands always in the dirt. I moved to NYC in 2003 to study photography. I traveled a bit photographing old growth rainforests and when I returned to NYC I found it challenging to strike that balance of needing the diversity and culture that the city offers, while also scratching that hands in the dirt, fresh air itch. I began to study agriculture and before I knew it, I was teaching urban farming at the Youth Farm, an educational farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It was there that I gained seasonal knowledge and the confidence to manage my own farm. The Brooklyn Grange welcomed me with open arms and is like family.
From floral arranging, to growing edible flowers...how has a career surrounded by flora & fauna changed you?
When I first started farming I had no interest in flowers. I was more committed to the function of growing vegetables. That didn't last long, as is quickly found myself gravitating towards flower harvests rather than the cucumbers. Over the years I started to change my crop plan, allowing more space for both cut flowers and edible flowers. Flowers complete the farm!
For our readers who want to start a garden of their own, what are the best flowers to begin with? Anything in particular that you love to grow?
I'm classic, I love a good sunflower, mostly because of that "snap!" when you harvest them. I also recommend snapdragons and zinnias for their ease and color in the garden.
What are you currently eating out of the garden, and how are you preparing it?
I'm actually not much of a cook, sadly. I usually just carry around a ball of mozzarella to slice up with fresh basil and an heirloom tomato—nothing beats it!
Tell us a bit about your own daily skincare routine—any favorite products or rituals?
Lots of sunscreen! I don't have much of a routine outside of washing my face every morning and night.
We hope you enjoyed this interview with Liz! Here is a shot of batch #119 when we made it. The cornflowers really pop in this batch!