Featured product: Marigolds - 2015 harvest stocks now available Wednesday 21 October 2015 We now have large quantities of marigold flowers and petals available – for a quote and latest availability information, please contact your account manager or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our online price list is also available for guide prices, and for smaller quantity orders. Our latest shipment follows a shortage of imported stock in recent months, largely due to the challenges faced sourcing product that meets our quality standards. Crops are tested for pesticide or microbiological contamination in EU accredited laboratories and pre-shipment samples are always requested - upon delivery, all goods are inspected before being taken through a QC process, including for organoleptic approval. Our usual source for imported marigolds is Egypt, where Mike Brook and Matt Richards work closely with a small group of suppliers, using ‘Good Agricultural and Collection Practice’ guidelines to deliver the best possible quality – from soil management to crop to processing to shipment. The harvesting of whole flower heads and petals is done by hand to keep them intact and in good condition, and we have first-hand experience of how much work this entails at our herb field in Somerset! As well as being labour-intensive, marigolds require and hold a high percentage of water, so water quality is absolutely key to ensuring that crops meet organic standards and our quality specification. Unfortunately, water contamination has been an issue in recent years, but Matt Richards’ background in water resource management is a real help in identifying and resolving any problems our suppliers may face. Our latest stocks are sourced from two of our Egyptian suppliers with whom we have worked for many years and who supply us with a wide range of products - they have both recently increased their marigold production specifically for Organic Herb Trading, helping us monitor quality at a scale that meets our demand. If you are looking for marigolds in larger quantities on a longer-term basis, please speak to us about your forecast volumes and we will work with our suppliers to build in your requirements. Harvesting in Egypt takes place February to April. Our herb field marigolds are also available to buy in small quantities, as well as marigold macerated in sunflower oil here at our on-site manufacturing facility – whilst stocks last. Uses Marigolds are excellent ingredients within beauty products and herbal teas and alongside these very familiar uses, have a wide range of medicinal properties, which our herbalist Jane Wallwork-Gush tells us more about, below. Marigolds are anti-inflammatory with antihistamine properties, and work in perfect tandem with eyebright and plantain. They also have anti-fungal action, particularly in powdered form. Liniments seem very old fashioned in our modern times but they are very effective topical pain reducers. Mix equal parts of marigold, St. John’s wort and arnica (or daisy) tinctures and put into a spray bottle. Spray directly on the painful area and leave to soak in. (Caution: Do not use on broken skin as it will sting! And do not expose the treated area to direct sunlight as St. John’s wort can cause dermal photo sensitivity). Marigolds can also be infused in oil which can then be used for a number of medicinal and culinary purposes. It can be used in place of your usual cooking oil to liven up some roasted organic veg, to make a healing skin salve, and when added to marigold or blackberry vinegar, a fantastic salad dressing emerges.