"Herbal medicine matters. We believe medicinal plants and a
sacred connection to place heal body, mind, and spirit
and encourage humans to be mindful and loving
stewards of the Earth."
-Deb Soule, Founder & Herbalist
Avena Botanicals' staff is a collaborative team based in Midcoast Maine. Some of us were born and raised in Maine and others moved here because of the beauty and quiet. We are herbalists, gardeners, healers, professional artists, writers, teachers, parents, hikers, meditators, yoga practitioners, bee-keepers, local food enthusiasts, and more.
Our skills are unique, and finely-tuned. We create high quality, hand-crafted herbal remedies that enhance people's health, spirit, and well-being. Over 70% of the herbs we use are grown in our certified biodynamic gardens. Our extracts, teas, oils, salves, elixirs, and cremes are available throughout North America.
We believe that hand-made herbal remedies, healing gardens, and biodynamic practices promote health, spiritual awareness, and wholeness for individuals and communities and for our Planet Earth.
Deb is an herbalist, gardener, teacher and author of The Woman's Handbook of Healing Herbs and How to Move Like a Gardener. Raised in a small town in western Maine, Deb began organic gardening and studying the medicinal uses of herbs at age 16 alongside the internationally known medical herbalist Mary Bove. Deb's faith in the healing qualities of plants includes a desire to make organic herbs easily accessible to women and families living in rural areas.
Deb's passion for plants, gardens and healing and her commitment to sharing herbal knowledge with others is central to her work. She frequently is a guest-lecturer at various conferences as well as an instructor for botany and horticulture students, garden clubs, and medical students. In 2005, People, Places and Plants magazine named Deb as one of the 50 most influential gardeners in the Northeast.Read More
Bob has enjoyed being part of the Avena team since the spring of 2007. In earlier roles, he worked in shipping and tea making. Currently, he makes Avena's extracts, glycerites, oils, and elixirs. Bob is an avid honey bee keeper, caring for Avena's bees as well as his own.
Tanya is a lover of gardens and working with her hands. She started in Avena's gardens in October of 2011 and now creates cremes and salves and assists in hand-crafting liquid remedies. She partners with her mother to create beautiful goat's milk soaps and lotions for their business, Wandering Goat. Elderberry Elixir supports her health and Schisandra Berry helps her do it all!
Amanda works in the apothecary and in the shipping department at Avena and is also a mother of three energetic kids, with whom she loves to play and learn. She has a degree in anthropology and is a writer. Since April of 2012, Amanda has delighted in experiencing the scent of the ocean she grew up with mingled with the fragrances of Avena's herbal gardens.
As Apothecary Coordinator and Tea Maker at Avena, Elizabeth loves working directly with the many herbs she cherishes. She also enjoys exploring the forests & beaches of Midcoast Maine with her husband & puppy and tending to organic herb & vegetable gardens at home. Her favorite Avena products are Be Calm, Immune Soup, & Fairy Flower Creme.
Artist turned farmer Denise DeSpirito's herbalism took root in NYC and has bloomed in many places since, from the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary in Ohio to Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York. She landed at Avena Botanicals in April 2014 as the Garden Manager.
Kiera joined the team in 2014 after spending 16 years as an entrepreneur in the digital design industry. She now acts as IT & Office Coordinator, keeping the company's administrative and technology systems running smoothly. An avid hiker and fine art photographer, she is often seen in Avena's gardens or on local trails with a camera in hand.
With a strong background in finance and business administration, Amanda joined the team in 2015 to manage Avena's finances and bookkeeping system. While she's perfectly comfortable in the world of numbers, she's most at home in the plant world and can often be found tending her garden or stirring her dye pot of plant-based colors.
Avena Botanicals is the first Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in Maine. Biodynamic agriculture is a holistic and spiritually alive system of organic and ecological practices and philosophies based on the teachings of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. One of the core beliefs and practices of biodynamics is to help heal the Earth.
Over five hundred pounds of fresh, hand-gathered medicinal herbs come into Avena's apothecary annually and are thoughtfully prepared into herbal tinctures, elixirs, glycerites, and oils. Over 80% of these herbs come directly from Avena's certified-biodynamic gardens. Our herbs are fresh, aromatic, sweet, bitter, pungent, and beautiful.
Over seven hundred pounds of fresh, hand-gathered medicinal herbs come into Avena's drying rooms annually and are immediately weighed and laid onto large screens. Most of these herbs are grown in Avena's three-acre gardens. We also collect a few herbs from nearby islands and meadows.
The Herbal Classroom offers classes in herbal medicine, women's health, Ayurveda, meditation, biodynamic agriculture, pollinator habitats, and yoga for farmers and gardeners. Indoor and outdoor classes occur in our beautiful medicine gardens and octagon-shaped classroom. The Herbal Classroom is a non-profit, 501c(3), educational center situated on the same property as Avena's biodynamic farm and apothecary.
Avena's gardens have been purposefully planted with protective hedgerows and flowering plants that offer nectar and pollen to dozens of pollinators. Shimmering ruby-throated hummingbirds and various butterflies, honey bees and native bees fill our gardens with an array of colors, sounds, and personalities. The presence of pollinators fills our hearts with joy and gratitude.
Our shop is located in an 1830's farmhouse adjacent to our biodynamic gardens. Delight in the old wooden beams as you smell the aromas of herbs, browse an herb book, or talk with our staff about which herbs to purchase.
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries
of the earth are never alone or weary of life."