Horsetail Herb Farm grows certified Organic medicinal and culinary herbs in Marathon, New York on a small scale using horse power, and human power. Sole proprietor Becky Frye has 10 years of experience farming and she and her partner/teammate Corey McNaughton cultivate over 20 species of herbs, increasing that number every year. These species include temperate tulsi, calendula, oats, nettle, yarrow, echinacea, lemon balm, marshmallow, catnip and many more!
Being close to the plants is a dream! All sowing, transplanting, harvesting, drying, arranging, garbling and packing of the herbs is done by hand. Although doing all the work by hand was very rewarding, using draft horses for the heavy work is very helpful! Having horses around not only brings fertility to land, but extends the connection that the farmer has with the plants, to the horses, forming a triad of fulfillment and connection. The environmental implications of diesel-free traction help Becky towards her ultimate goal of existing in the world while doing the least amount of harm possible. Add regenerative soil-building practices, biodynamic tendencies, and a deep respect for soil biota and no-till farming for a great environment to grow healing plants.
Becky began actively learning about and building relationships with herbs and their medicinal qualities in 2016 while poor, sick, and uninsured. When she realized that most of the herbs on the mass market were imported (even though many are native, naturalized, and temperate in the United States), she was inspired and challenged to grow higher quality herbs herself. Knowing how empowering it is to take control of your own health using beautiful and accessible plants, she wishes to combat unequal access to healthcare by growing the herbs for folx to heal themselves.
Thanks to DAPNet (Draft Animal Power Network), Becky connected with Donn Hewes and Maryrose Livingston in 2021. She currently farms on their land, using their beautiful Suffolk draft horses. Horsetail Herb Farm would not exist without their generosity, time, and helping hands. Thanks also to teamster Julia Ramsey for her expertise (she is often included in photos).
Horsetail Herb Farm hopes to bring the terroir of New York state to the Meeting House Farm Herb Collaborative by offering in quantity the most commonly used native, naturalized or temperate high quality medicinal plants for those interested in plants-as-medicine. Being a part of the collaborative brings a sense of community and resiliency with other like-minded people as well as helping to relieve the business challenges of marketing and distribution.
What is Becky’s favorite herb? It’s a solid tie between Yarrow and Nettle, two plants that have unfailingly been there for her during times of desperate need.