"We make herbal remedies using fresh, organic & biodynamic herbs. These vital plants along with a sacred connection to place promote wellness of the 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 products that serve 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 handmade herbal products, well-tended herb 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 therapeutic uses of herbs at age 16 alongside the internationally known herbalist Mary Bove. Deb's faith in the beneficial 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 wellness 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
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.
Kiera joined the team in 2014 after spending 16 years as an entrepreneur in the technology industry. She now acts as IT & Office Manager, 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.
Alicia arrived at Avena with over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the Healthy Lifestyle niche. She's all about "roots to retail" and is passionate about managing Avena's sales growth. She does so with her belief that the company's sales program must align with and empower its greater social mission and goals. When not working, she's likely boating off the coast or skiing in the mountains with her family.
When Erda joined the team in 2016, she brought with her three decades of fascination with holistic health approaches, including nutrition, herbs, and love of supporting others in building better health naturally. Involved in organic gardening and farming for years, she is a local-foods enthusiast, permaculture design and biodynamic agriculture student, and an inspired student of non-violent communication.
A fascination with the beneficial properties of plants and storytelling is ultimately what lead Nichole to Avena's gardens. Here, she shares the garden's beautiful story over social media, at events, and with the world at large. Always up for an adventure, you'll most likely find her outside, playing percussion with a local Latin jazz group, or enjoying all Maine has to offer.
Born and raised in New York, Daniela joined the team at the start of 2018 with a background as a health & fitness editor, yoga instructor, quality control associate, and lover of all things food and Broadway. Outside of her roles at Avena, Daniela finds balance among family life... including a husband, two young boys and a cat, cooking, enjoying time outdoors, and renovating their 150-year-old farmhouse.
Tanya is a lover of gardens and working with her hands. She started in Avena's gardens in October of 2011, then took over creation of cremes and salves, and now manages Avena's Quality Control program and Production department. In her spare time, she partners with her mother to create beautiful goat's milk soaps and lotions for their business, Wandering Goat.
Kaela began working in Avena's gardens in 2017, then transitioned into the Apothecary, where she now coordinates the daily blending, bottling, and labeling of our compound tinctures. Her training as an herbalist began at age 16 apprenticing with Marguerite Ulhmann-Bower, and later with Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes. She loves wandering through the gardens at Avena and spends her free time studying and meditating with plants.
As 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, young son & dog and tending to organic herb & vegetable gardens at home. Her favorite Avena products are Immune Broth & Fairy Flower Creme.
John came on board in 2016 as a seasonal gardener and continues to garden with us, while assisting several days per week in our apothecary and shipping department.
Before joining Avena to help craft our cremes and salves, Audrey apprenticed on another local farm and lead the gardening group at a day program for adults with intellectual uniqueness. Prior to that, she attended the University of Maine, where she studied Ecology & Environmental Science and researched native pollinators. In her free time, Audrey enjoys tending to plants and channeling her creativity through music, dance, art, and cooking.
Marc joined the team in early 2018 to support our Production Kitchen and the creation of our tinctures, oils, glycerites, and elixirs. He brings a strong interest and background in ecology, plant magic and uses, meditation, and seeking a life of balance. Outside of Avena, Marc can be found playing music with friends, brightening the communities he calls home, swimming, tending his large garden, or building things out of trees and sticks.
Alyson started at Avena in the spring of 2018 after twenty years in the culinary industry. She enjoys the sense of life balance and calmness she has since discovering by working in our Apothecary. In her spare time, she savors hiking, cooking from the bounty of local farms, and crafting pottery. She spends as much time as she can with her husband, dog, and two cats at her home in the woods.
Stephanie joined the team in 2017 to oversee the tending of our herbal gardens. With a background in designing and managing educational farms, at Avena she merges a passion for holistic health with organic crop maintenance. She loves growing for the pollinators that share Avena's gardens, as well as cultivating a sense of wonder.
Elsie is one of our seasonal gardeners for 2018. She manages our herb drying room and helps maintain and harvest herbs from our herb gardens.
Brittany is one of our seasonal gardeners for 2018. She helps maintain and harvest herbs from our herb gardens.
Bob has enjoyed being part of the Avena team since the spring of 2007. In earlier roles, he worked in shipping, tea making, and oil & tincture creation. Currently, he tends to our facilities needs and helps with groundskeeping. Bob is an avid honey bee keeper, caring for Avena's bees as well as his own.
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 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 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 wellness, women's health, Ayurveda, meditation, biodynamic agriculture, pollinator habitats, and yoga for farmers and gardeners. Indoor and outdoor classes occur in our beautiful 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."