A TVS team was welcomed at Gaia Herbs farm for an educational tour of the farm on Aug. 29. TVS has worked with Gaia Herbs for around 15 years, packaging different dry herbal products.
Along with semi-automated filling and packaging of powder and capsule products, TVS also assists Gaia with more hands-on work, including assembling promotional kits. This trip allowed the TVS team a chance to see the starting point of the Gaia Herbs products prior to arriving at TVS for packaging.
“We have an excellent working relationship with Gaia Herbs,” said COO Becky Alderman. “They are a really great company to work with.” A few years ago, Gaia Herbs won the Regional Customer of the Year Award after being nominated by TVS.
“We have given a lot of farm tours this year, but this experience was truly unique,” said Farm Operations Assistant Manager and tour guide Kate Renner. “We focused on the senses of farm, and presented each plant as to how it related to what we saw, felt, smelled, and/or tasted in relation to its impact on our bodies in a simple and direct manner.”
The TVS team was divided into two small groups and took turns exploring the flower and herb garden and enjoying a hayride pulled by a tractor down into the fields.
“My favorite part of the trip was tasting the different herbs that I’ve never tried,” said Taylor. “The Bacopa leaves were my favorite because they were kind of bitter.”
The tour of the garden took the group around the farm house where inside other Gaia employees were seen working and preparing lunch before taking a turn on the hayride.
“The hayride was fun,” said Andrew. “I was raised on a farm and the hayride brought back memories of my childhood.”
The hayride left from the farm house and transported the team towards the 300 acres of fields. Riding a hayride was a new experience for some members of the TVS team.
Lining the way at the start were Ginkgo and Hawthorn trees planted on either side of the road. Everyone was educated on the different areas of the body that Ginkgo and Hawthorn benefit and also learned that the plant leaves had a similar appearance to the parts of the body it would affect.
The next stop was the greenhouse, where Bacopa plants filled the entire space. Some participants tried the leaves of the bacopa plant but the sour taste was unanimously agreed that it was not as good as the different herbs from the garden and the pears from the hayride.
Asian Pears were given to each person on the hayride. The fruit is a special type of pear that is similar to an apple in appearance but tastes like a pear. The TVS team also had the option to pick their own straight off the trees near the greenhouse.
At the furthest point on the hayride were the Echinacea fields. The pink flowers were spread across the field with beehives in the distance. Tour guide Renner pulled an Echinacea flower out of the ground by the roots to show where the benefits of Echinacea come from along with explaining the best times to harvest the roots.
The TVS groups reconvened for lunch at the beautifully renovated Gaia herbs farm house. With the two small groups back together, participants from INTERACT and Life Skills were able to say thank you to the Gaia community by performing two songs in sign language, “Bleed the Same” by Mandisa and “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz.
After the performance, everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Gaia with grilled chicken and veggies freshly grown in their garden.
“We would love to tour the other parts of Gaia that we did not get to see,” said TVS Activities Coordinator Brooke Wilson. “Every single one of our participants received such a superb level of attention and time while we were touring.”
Written by: Jenifer Welch