The Story of How Our Newest Powder Came to Be
Happy New Year to everyone, with wishes that you are getting time to enjoy family, good food and outdoor winter activities.
Our final product launch for this year is one I’m very excited about, as it is a model for how our business is supposed to operate. Ideas for new powders usually originate when one of us, usually me, learns about a plant food I had not known about before. In this case, I read a review by Ralph Moss, a prominent cancer journalist, about the work of James and Dorothy Morré, cancer researchers at Purdue University.
The Morrés and their team of National Cancer Institute researchers were looking for markers in the blood that went up when a person has cancer. In their search, they discovered the ENOX family of proteins, which seems to track fairly well the presence and growth of cancer in a person’s body. One of the proteins, called ENOX 3, tracks the aging process, meaning the level of protein in the blood that seems to correlate with the biological age of the patients according to other well recognized biomarkers (like hearing, eyesight, muscle strength, etc.). This important discovery allowed them to test a large number of plants, drugs and supplements to see which would lower the levels of ENOX 3 in the patient’s blood.
They, indeed, found many such substances, both natural and pharmaceutical. The most potent of these were Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley and a few others. Long-term ingestion of these herbs does seem to lower the ENOX 3 levels in the blood. However, the single most potent substance they found in lowering ENOX 3 levels was an herb I’d never heard of – summer savory (Satureja Hortensis).
I immediately set out to see whether I could grow summer savory. This is step 2 in the development of our products. I found it was extremely easy to grow, vigorous and productive in the Napa garden and, importantly, has a delightfully herby, peppery taste that was a great addition to just about any savory dish. It quickly became a staple fresh herb in our kitchen.
The next step was to dry it and use it as a powder, as we’ve found that not all plants do well with this step. Not surprisingly, since it is similar to other dried herbs that are widely used, both the flavor and the aroma were intensified by the slow drying process. At that point, I knew we had a future “star” product. The final step was finding a farmer to grow and dry it for us. Luckily, biodynamic grower Mike Benziger was up for it, which means we are surely the only company able to offer certified biodynamically grown, shade-dried, powdered summer savory. It’s extremely gratifying for us when it all works out like this, and we get to offer you a truly unique and health-promoting new powder.
Finally, as our business grows, we are finding we need help more help. As a result, we are looking to hire a full-time marketing person to help with Dr. Cowan’s Garden and the Human Heart, Cosmic Heart business. I am attaching the job description, so if you know anyone who might be interested, please let us know.
With peace and joy,
For many of us, our relationship to food is a never ending journey. Sometimes to move forward one finds themselves looking back. For bread and specifically the grains used to make it I find that the best results are indeed found in reflection. It is sometimes true that modern ingenuity has value for us, but that is usually only when paired with ancient wisdom. For grains, that wisdom is in the ancient varieties that have been grown for thousands of years.
During this time of relative uncertainty, we have decided to renew our commitment to gardening. Dr. Cowan’s Garden was originally a place, located in Napa Valley on a plot of land generously donated by a friend. It embodied our ideals and was a sanctuary for growth and learning.
The garden was our muse for new product offerings and for improving existing ones. The garden kept our ambitions grounded to certain fundamentals, as the practice of gardening can be challenging.