Souper Immunity!

If you really want an immune boost come visit our booth at Alchemy’s Handmade Holiday Festival, this Friday evening and Saturday from 10-5 pm.  We will be handing out Fire Cider samples and selling our holiday edition wax sealed bottles as well as herbal bath soaks, unique tee shirts from A Fine Example and other great handmade gifties!

Dana just made turkey stock from the Thanksgiving carcass (thank you Meat Market!) and it came out really well.  Soup stock made from simmering an organic, healthy animal has tons of nutrition in it.  If you don’t have a day to simmer, here’s an easier immune boosting soup recipe from my doctor in NYC.

'Tis the season for soup!

Superimmunity Soup from Dr. Vincent Pedre

When you need an immune pick-me-up, try this superimmunity soup to charge up your immune system and ward off that cold.  It contains many common vegetables that we all enjoy, but feel free to vary the recipe by adding your own winter vegetables.  You may vary the mushroom used from shiitake to reishi or maitake, all are highly medicinal.  It is ideal to always add the astragalus, but it may be harder to find at your local grocery store.  Astragalus may actually require a trip to Chinatown or to Mountain Rose Herbs on-line.

Also, remove any ingredients you don’t enjoy.  For example, I am an avid cilantro lover, so I always add cilantro to my soups, but there are those among that may not share my enthusiasm.  Feel free to quietly omit the cilantro and use parsley instead.  You can also use the soup recipe to make a vegetable stock to use in other recipes.

Here’s my recipe:


1 yellow onion

2 large organic carrots

2 stalks of organic celery

1 head of kale

30g dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms

30g dried astragalus root

1-2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

10 garlic cloves (chopped or whole)

1 bunch of cilantro

¼ cup olive oil

Sea salt

Ground black pepper


  1. Wash and cut the vegetables
  2. For extra browning and flavor, you can sauté the vegetables with olive oil or sesame oil
  3. Wash the mushrooms and astragalus root and place into pot
  4. Pour cold water into a large soup pot up to 3/4 full, add all vegetables, and bring to a boil
  5. Lower the heat, and cook uncovered for 40 minutes
  6. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste
  7. Cool down and enjoy!
If you have an autoimmune condition or other chronic disease, you should consult with your doctor before taking medicinal herbs or mushrooms.  Read Dr. Pedre’s whole post about immune boosting for the winter….and don’t forget to take your daily dose of Fire Cider!!!

Our Romanesco at Brix Wine Bar!

Time to harvest!

24 heads of romanesco ready to go to Brix on South St. in Pittsfield!

Yesterday afternoon we delivered our first romanesco harvest to Brix Wine Bar and Bistro.  Rumor has it that they have shots of Fire Cider and will soon be serving a Fire Cider Hot Toddy as well as our signature drink that my brother Brian created, the Scorched Earth!  Dana and I can wait to see what the chef at Brix does with this lovely fall vegetable.  How awesome is it that we get to go to one of our favorite restaurants and eat food that we grew? Wicked awesome!

Someone appreciates our leftovers!

Romanesco leaf or lollipop?

Self Medicating: We All Do It, Shouldn’t We Do It Well?

Dana and I at our Shire City Herbals booth this past weekend.

Dana and I had an amazing weekend at the Alchemy Imitative Handmade Holiday Festival.  It was so great to meet and talk with so many Berkshire County residents and we really had a blast handing out samples of our Fire Cider!  Huge thanks and apprecation to all who helped put on the festival and to all our brave and adventurous taste testers.  We actually sold all of the Fire Cider we made and are now putting together a new batch, ready in 6 weeks.  We will be using the commercial/certified  kitchen at The Unitarian Church, just a block away from where we live on Wendell Ave, truely a community project.

One thing in particular really got me thinking this weekend about what ‘medicine’ is and how we use it.  A woman and her son came to our booth at the fair, daring each other to try the Fire Cider.  They did and really liked it. Mom made an offhand refrence to her son being good at ‘self medicating’  but then thought better of her comment as it was a reference to an adult behavior associated with abusing drugs, alcohol, even food.  But I thought, don’t we all self medicate, all the time?  Shouldn’t we teach our children to become increasingly aware of their needs and how to meet them healthfully?

What do I mean by ‘self-medicating’?  When you get up in the morning and you choose to wake up with a coffee and a doughnut you are self medicating.  When you choose to eat greens with homemade dressing for lunch, you are self medicating.  When you take Fire Cider at the first sign of a cold instead of cold medicine, you are self medicating.  When you take a nap to recharge mid afternoon, when you go to the gym or get a massage, all these things are forms of self medication.  We are all constantly making choices that alter our physical, mental and emotional state. And when we do it well, we feel well.

What if we taught kids to self medicate, the healthy way, so that when they become adults they can use those ‘recreational substances’ for recreation and know that to feel good and be healthy they have to listen to what their body is asking for.  It takes introspection, awareness and a genuine passion for health, longevity and life to self medicate well.  We are all constantly choosing our lives moment to moment, meal to meal, activity to activity.   You can start self medicating healthfully by choosing to construct your reality out of the best foods, supportive relationships, optimal physical movement and environment, work that feels satisfying and challenging….if you need help with this, give me a call!

And remember, you are a unique and vibrantly amazing human bean and you deserve the best!  So give yourself the best you can everyday, one day, one meal, one hug at a time.

Another soon to be classic by Brian Huebner of 'A Fine'