Their 5-acre property near Versailles, IN, produces a fairly common assortment of livestock and produce, but herbs are putting Ande and Lauren Schewe’s farm on the local map.
A permaculture designer, teacher, and consultant, Ande has been leading farm tours and edible forest garden walks for about 15 years through the pair’s business, Wake the Farm Up. “It’s a way to catch people’s eye for what a farm is, as well as introduce his services,” says Lauren, a.k.a. Lola. “It’s really how we started, and what eventually gave birth to Lola’s Botanicals.”
The couple’s interest in herbs of all sorts led them to establish Lola’s Botanicals in 2014 and to launch an unusual herb-based CSA program they call Community Supported Herbalism (CSH). The Schewes focus on wildcrafting, or harvesting herbs from their natural or wild habitat. Over the years, they’ve documented more than 300 edible plants, cultivated them on the farm, and brought them to market.
Products include herb-based bug sprays and salves, herbal teas, essential oils, infused vinegars, and culinary herbs. The Lola’s Botanicals CSH program is available in two packages: The Travelers Share is $200 and includes four boxes of seasonal herbal products per year, and the Apothecary Share, which is $380, is eight boxes per year. Boxes are shipped to about 60 subscribers at the “spokes of the wheel”—the four seasonal equinoxes and the midpoints between them.
On top of that, the Schewes supply a number of local businesses with herbs, including ingredients for Chocolats Latour; juniper and spice berries for New Riff Distillery’s Kentucky Wild Gin; and herbs for breweries like Blank Slate, which uses sage for a sausage-inspired beer called Turn for the Wurst.