Wednesday, June 27, students from the Organic Farming Certificate Program and Veteran Farmer Training Program, took a field trip to Tooth of the Lion Farm & Apothecary. Located in Orwigsburg, PA, Tooth of the Lion is owned by Katelyn Melvin, a young yet, seasoned farmer.
She started the apothecary in 2013, after working for a vegetable farm for a few seasons. Making tinctures, teas and tonics while vegetable farming, Katelyn tested her market and passion for herbal medicine, discovering a need and her affinity for this holistic, niche farming method. So in 2016 she established her six-acre medicinal herb farm.
Katelyn showed medicinal herbs and herbal remedies are growing markets, so learning the basics of their cultivation opens new possibilities for students and veterans on their own future farms. Melvin guided students through harvesting, storage, and drying techniques, as well as a peek at how she produces her teas and tinctures.
After a tour of the farm, Katelyn, her employees, students and veterans learned more about the paperwork side of the business, over lunch. They were introduced to the certification process that the farm has had to go through for selling tonics and tinctures. She also discussed the extensive record keeping involved for this specific business venture.
The Tooth of the Lion sells both dried and fresh herbs and cut flowers, as well as value added products like salves, teas, and tinctures. Melvin emphasized adaptability and reading the market. She currently experiments with 30-40 different herbal blends and is always seeking to hone in her product line.
Though the farm is still young, Melvin’s business is seeing success and serves as a unique model for students and veterans as they look to find their niche and add value to the crops they grow.
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