Summer is in full swing here at Oshala Farm and we are getting ready to harvest nettle seed once again! Nettle seed is packed with minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids and is an adaptogen used to support stressed, depleted, dry, worn out people. We can’t imagine a better medicine for this time of year, when we are all working so hard.
We gear up in thick long pants, shirts and gloves for harvest and still get lots of stings. Our skins will be buzzing all week but we have found that working in the nettle helps ease our joint pain from old injuries and repetitive motion. One of the greatest joys of farming herbs is always being surrounded by remedies that support us through tough manual labor.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is dioecious, meaning that it bears male and female flowers on separate plants. We go through the fields and harvest only female plants with seed. We walk the rows and strip the stocks from bottom to top. This means that we are collecting leaf along with the seed as the seeds are produced in whorled clusters at the leaf axils. We got back through all of our nettle seed after drying to remove those leaves and strip the seeds from the inflorescences. Our seeds are still inside of their protective calyces which gives them a longer shelf and a chlorophyll boost. The stinging hairs on the calyces are disarmed during the screening process so you don’t need to be afraid to eat them.
Nettle seed is one of our more labor-intensive herbs and we are proud to have these golden-green beauties to share with you. We might not have time to rest amidst the whirlwind of hard work and summer play but at least we have nettle seed to support us!
Mid-summer health from our fields to you and yours,
Elana Quinlan Scheidegger
Seeds, Nursery, and Fresh Orders