TapRoot Farms / Blog


Chive flowers?

Posted on by Patricia Bishop

Hey everyone,

We just realized (because a member emailed us) that the flowers on your chives did not arrive.

How disappointing after all of Denise's lovely chive flower recipe posts.

We're so sorry about that - somehow we mis-communicated and the flowers got snipped off of some of the chives.  Thanks to the CSA member who emailed otherwise we would never have known!

We will send along chives with flowers the rest of this week.

Thanks and have a wonderful day,


Herbal Teas

Posted on by Patricia Bishop


Good Morning TapRoot Members,

Last year Amy and I began to explore growing, harvesting and processing culinary and medicinal herbs for TapRoot. These tea blends are the fruits of our labour. The herbs are beautiful and potent and I am excited to share them with you!

To brew a delicious cup of tea add about a teaspoon of dried tea into your strainer or your tea bag per cup of tea you are preparing, and place it in your cup or teapot. Pour boiled water into your cup so that your herbs are submerged under the hot water.

Cover your tea cup or teapot so that the steam doesn’t escape. This will capture the essential oils that are in the herbs as they will not be able to evaporate out of your tea with it’s steam. Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes before you enjoy its flavour and health benefits.

You will find one of the following three types of tea in your CSA box:

TapRoot Balancing Tea Blend: support endocrine and reproductive health with Calendula, Equisetum, Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Nettles and Anise Hyssop.

TapRoot Immune Tea: support your immune system with Calendula, Sage, Equisetum, Raspberry Leaf, Thyme and Nettles.

TapRoot Serene Tea: relax with a calming blend of chamomile, spearmint, nettles, oat-straw and sage.


A little more information about each herb:

Raspberry Leaf: is high in magnesium, potassium, iron and b-vitamins. The specific combination of nutrients in Raspberry Leaf makes it extremely beneficial for the female reproductive system. It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which some midwives say leads to shorter and easier labours. The high concentration of Vitamin C in Raspberry Leaf will help to prevent and ward off illness.

Equisetum (Horsetail): is high in silica, which can help the body fix calcium in order to repair bones, collagen and other body tissues, horsetail can be useful in treating osteoporosis. Horsetail is also recommended for anemia and general debility. It has also been used to treat deep-seated lung damage such as tuberculosis or emphysema.

Calendula: The component of the Calendula flower that gives it its bright orange colour is beta-carotene, also found in carrots. Because of this, it has many of the same basic health benefits and is high in vitamin A. The flowers of the Calendula plant also contain essential oils and sugars that are known to stimulate the immune system, making Calendula tea ideal to drink when you think you are on the verge of a cold, or to speed healing.

Another popular use for Calendula tea is for regulating and easing of the menstrual cycle. Calendula can help to relieve abdominal cramps. The flavonoids that are present in the flower can reduce inflammation and alleviate hot flashes related to menopause. It also effectively reduces nausea and headaches associated with menstruation.

Red Clover: is a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. Red Clover can help to lower cholesterol, improve urine production and enhance blood circulation, to help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques.

Red Clover is considered to be one of the richest sources of isoflavones, which are water-soluble chemicals that act like estrogens (known collectively as phytoestrogens). Red Clover is therefore used for hot flashes/flushes, PMS, breast health.

Nettles: are a wonder herb, the following list sounds like it was dreamed up by a travelling sales man! Nettle can help to stimulate the lymph system to boost immunity, relieve arthritis symptoms, promote a release from uric acid from joints, help to support the adrenals, promote milk production in lactating women, relieves menopausal symptoms, helps with menstrual cramps and bloating, helps break down kidney stones, reduce hypertension, support kidneys, reduce inflammation, reduce the incident of prostate cancer, minimize skin problems and allergic reactions, lessen nausea, help with osteoarthritis, alleviate diarrhea, help with gastrointestinal disease, IBS, and constipation, reduce gingivitis and prevents plaque when used as a mouth wash and destroy intestinal worms or parasites. Nettles have also been shown to be helpful to in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and relieve neurological disorders like MS, ALS and sciatica. As well, nettles can support endocrine health by strengthening the thyroid, spleen and pancreas

Spearmint: is an excellent remedy for minor ailments such as headaches, nervous strain, fatigue and stress, as well as for the respiratory problems; helping with asthma, bronchitis and catarrh. It is very useful to deal with digestive problems, including nausea, flatulence and hiccups as it relaxes the stomach muscles.

Chamomile: will ease anxiety and depression and help promote sleep.

Thyme: has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. The volatile oil components of thyme are now known to include carvacolo, borneol, geraniol, but most importantly, thymol.

Sage: a tea made from sage leaves has had a long history of use to treat sore throats and coughs. Sage has also been used by herbalists for rheumatism, excessive menstrual bleeding. Sage has been noted to strengthen the nervous system and improve memory.

Looking forward to another season of herbs and flowers,


Flax update May 2015

Posted on

The month of May has brought lovely weather to the farm. Things at TapRoot Farms and TapRoot Fibre Lab have been picking up speed.

I am continuing to develop a content marketing plan for TapRoot Fibre Lab.

When conducting research on the current flax market I came across European Confederation of Linen and Hemp's Euro Flax and Masters of Linen label. These labels provide consumers with insurance that they are buying a quality product.

This got us thinking, how cool would it be to have a label for flax and linen produced right here in Nova Scotia. Therefore, I have been working on creating a set of standards for flax and linen products created in Nova Scotia.

I am still experimenting making linen paper by hand. During the month of May, Patricia, Karrie, and I had a lovely chat with Gary from Gaspereau Press. He should us some of the handmade paper he brought in for his printing business as well as the Hollander beater he uses when he is hand making paper. Our discussion help points me in the right direction and helps me with what the next steps would be.

You may have noticed on Facebook, that we started to clean our flax seeds. We ordered some screens designed for cleaning flax seeds from a company out west. On nice sunny afternoons, I flee the office to enjoy the nice weather and clean flax seed. If it is windy, I winnow the seed to remove the dust and chaff. If the wind is not on my side, I spend my time threshing the seed bulbs to remove the seeds. 

Another project I have been working on is blending tow, the fibres that are left behind in the hackles, with sheep’s wool for spinning purposes. I have been hand carding, with cards designed for sheep’s wool, to remove the stem and any remaining knots.

The TapRoot flax field has been planted this week. Personally, I am looking forward seeing the blue flowers that the flax plant produces. You can watch our flax growing over the season by liking the TapRoot Fibre Lab Facebook page.

Have a lovely June, Rhea.


TapRoot Fibre Lab's paper making experiment.

Posted on

If you 'liked' the TapRoot Fibre Lab page on Facebook, you probably notice the pictures I (Rhea) have been posting of our hand made linen paper. Over the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with making paper out of our own flax. During this experiment, I have been using different parts of the flax plant, soaking some material overnight, as well as cooking the plant material in a water and baking soda mixture.

If you are interested in trying your hand at paper making, reference the links I have listed below. This list includes different paper making sites that provide how-to information and/or paper making equipment.

Paper making information:

Paperslurry - Papermaking with plants poster: http://paperslurry.bigcartel.com/product/papermaking-with-plants-12x18-poster

Liz-Anna's Lakeside Studio - Make Your Own Paper from Plants: http://liz-annaslakesidestudio.blogspot.ca/2010/06/papermaking-tutorial.html

Hand papermaking Newsletter - Sources of Fibre and Pulp: http://newsletter.handpapermaking.org/beginner/beg17.htm

Hand papermaking Newsletter - Harvesting Fibres: http://newsletter.handpapermaking.org/beginner/beg72.htm

Hand papermaking Newsletter - Methods of Beating Fibre: http://newsletter.handpapermaking.org/beginner/beg33.htm

Hand papermaking Newsletter - Assessing Your Pulp and Paper: http://newsletter.handpapermaking.org/beginner/beg88.htm

Hand papermaking Newsletter - Sheet Formation and Uniformity: 



Paper making equipment:

Paperslurry - Make a Mould and Deckle for Handmade Paper - Cheap, Quick & Dirty: http://paperslurry.com/2014/08/01/make-mould/

Hollander Beater:

Reina Hollander Beater: http://www.briarpress.org/17372

Carriage House Paper, supplies for the Hand Papermaker: 


Catherine Nash's Resources - Using Hollander Beaters : Beater Finesse: http://www.papermakingresources.com/articles_beater.html

Alibaba (search results for a hollander beater): http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?fsb=y&IndexArea=product_en&CatId=4327&SearchText=hollander+beater

Paperslurry: The Oracle Holland Beater - Papermaking Equipment by Lee McDonald: http://paperslurry.com/tag/hollander-beater/

The Oracle Hollander Beater PDF: http://toolsforpaper.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/up-to-date-oracle-flyer.pdf

The Fiber Wire: Holland Beaters - Helping Papermakers Since the 1600s:  http://thefiberwire.com/2014/05/09/hollander-beaters-helping-the-papermaker-since-the-1600s/

W WMU PILOT PLANTS: http://www.wmich.edu/pilotplants/hollander-beater

Lee McDonald Company - Papermaking equipment: http://toolsforpaper.com/blog/

Lee Scott McDonald - THE HYDRA HOLLANDER BEATER PDF: http://www.pickar.caltech.edu/me105/materials/papermaking/beater.pdf

David Reina Designs - Beaters: http://www.davidreinadesigns.com/beaters/

Mark Lander - Little Critter Hollander Beaters: http://marklander.org/hollander-beaters/

Paperslurry - The Critter Paper Beater is Dandy for Hand Papermaking Studios: 


Flax update April 2015

Posted on

It is now the beginning of May, and what lovely weather we been having!

I (Rhea) have been developing several presentations and a content marketing plan for TapRoot Fibre Lab Inc. Currently, I have been looking into several existing organic flax growing and processing standards. We are hoping to eventually have a set of standards and governance for a Nova Scotia label for flax that is grown and processed here in Nova Scotia.


We submitted an application, back in March 2015, to secure some support to move forward with this process was .

I have been experimenting with flax paper making over the last few weeks to explore different uses for flax. With every trial I have been making slight changes to see what works and what does not work. My first two trials were with flax tow by itself and then a mixture of flax tow and shive. Initially, I did not cut the fibres up before soaking. This created some issues when I tried to put the fibres through the blender. However, with a pair of good scissors, I was able to overcome this hurdle. My next couple experiments will include working with the whole flax plant. I am experimenting soaking one bundle of flax ( cut into ½ “ pieces) overnight before cooking. With the other bunch of flax I am going to skip over the soaking and cook the dried plant (also cut into ½ “ pieces). By keeping all 

measurements and steps the same, besides soak overnight, I want to identify how soaking the flax before cooking it will affect the end product.

Recently, I relocated to the farm on Canard Street.This move will allow me to experiment with flax and development our own TapRoot Fibre Lab product line.


I would like to friendly reminder you that TapRoot Fibre Lab is now on Facebook. If you’d like to say in the loop, I invite you to ‘like’ us on Facebook, just follow this link.