From Seed to Shelf: Tales From Our Turmeric Sourcing Travels

Published on October 23, 2018

Our Turmeric has a Story Worth Telling

In the herbal supplement industry, it's common to purchase ingredients on the open market, but at Gaia Herbs, we choose to follow a different path. We are firm believers that the quality of an herbal product can only be as good as the quality of the herbs that go into it. That's why many of the herbs in our products are grown on our 350-acre Organic farm in Brevard, North Carolina, where we can cultivate them to our exacting standards.

When we do need to look beyond what can be grown on our own farm whether due to climate or a simple lack of space - our network of Organic and Sustainable communities allows us to source herbs from where they grow best, and where conditions are ideal to produce the highest possible level of botanical compounds. One of our core values has always been our seed-to-shelf philosophy, which starts on our farm and extends to those we source from around the world.

Turmeric Fields in Indonesia

We look for farmers who will grow to meet our stringent quality standards, and grow either organically (80% of our raw material is Certified Organic) or using sustainable farming practices. They must also adhere to environmentally and socially responsible business practices, natural resource conservation, and socio-economic development in their farming communities.

Gaia Herbs dedicates time and resources to our Global Sourcing Team to visit our farm partners and see their operations in action. We know by first name the people who grow our herbs as well as those who oversee the processing facilities. We visit the farms, the fields, even the local communities, and we watch to see how everything is done, making sure that positive business practices are followed.

The Turmeric Farms of Central Java

Members of Gaia Herbs' Global Sourcing team recently traveled to the outskirts of Central Java, Indonesia to visit the farms where much of our Organic Turmeric is grown. Turmeric, one of the most well-known botanicals used in herbal supplements, is a bright orange root revered for thousands of years for its properties to support overall health and vitality, and is widely used as a spice in culinary traditions around the world.

Gaia Herbs sourcing partner holding raw turmeric herb

There, we met with Ian, our long-time supplier, who would serve as our tour guide in a country where he has been visiting for over a decade, building relationships with growers and processors in order to bring their goods to the international market.

Indonesia is home to a sustainable farming initiative where local people act as stewards of the land. Primarily forested with Teak trees grown specifically for the hardwood industry, the rich, fertile forest floor and the natural shade provided by the tree canopy provides the ideal conditions for growing Turmeric. This mixed forestry model, also known as intercropping, makes the most efficient use of limited land and allows the indigenous people to make a living from sustainable farming.

The farmers led our team through the fields and down the narrow roads that wound through the forest, an occasional motorbike squeaking by. These one lane roads are only wide enough for a small pickup truck, which make their way in and out during harvest season.

After seeing the Organic farm, we next visited the facility that processes the harvested Turmeric. There, we were welcomed by Ian's Indonesian partner, Puji, whose bright smile let us know immediately we were in the right place. Puji oversees the harvesting on the Turmeric farms, constantly communicating with the farmers about supply and quality throughout the season. She owns and operates two processing facilities, where her team of twelve people slice, dry and sort the Turmeric by hand, passing the dried material through screens and over magnet tables to sort for size and quality, and to remove any foreign material. Puji and her team then package the Organic Turmeric for its final voyage over land and sea to the port city of Lampung, where it will then make its next journey to the United States.

Gaia Herbs sourcing partner Pujis Turmeric sourcing facility

By strictly controlling the Turmeric production all the way from the farm to port, we can ensure that it meets our rigorous standards of purity and integrity, so that when it arrives at Gaia Herbs in North Carolina, we can be confident it is the highest quality we can find.

Because It's The Right Thing to Do

Gaia Herbs is dedicated to producing the best quality herbal products in the world with an uncompromising commitment to purity, potency and integrity. This has been our promise from the beginning, and on this, we will not compromise.

This is why Gaia Herbs invests both time and financial resources to meet with our farm partners, see firsthand their operations, and verify they are adhering to the strictest standards.

We value the trust given to us by our customers and we want everyone to feel confident that any product labeled with the Gaia Herbs name is one that they can feel good about putting in their body. Find out more about our global sourcing initiatives and sustainable farming practices.

We look forward to highlighting more visits to our global farm partners in upcoming blogs.