Community Herbalist Carol Joyce of White Buffalo herbs has been growing and learning about herbs for many years. Though born in northeastern MA, she has strong roots in Western MA-her dad was born in Pittsfield & she graduated from MT Holyoke College, in South Hadley. Carol has lived all along the east coast on her sailboats & in Great Britain. She is a Social Worker/Therapist in private practice, a Community Herbalist, & now lives on her Still Willin’ Organic Farm & Botanical Sanctuary in Warwick, MA. She even was the caretaker of an uninhabited island (Soldier Key) in the Florida Keys, lived aboard sailboats for 15 years, earned her Captains license and chartered her 3-masted, wooden, gaff-rigged schooner, “Zeeto” for years in Boston Harbor.
Originally Carol started White Buffalo Herbs at her Twin Brook Organic Farm in New Salem. She grew & sold 100’s of medicinal herb plants and eventually started making value-added herbal products. She started selling just 10 of her hand-made items at the Amherst Farmers Market as a temporary, stand-by vendor over 30 years ago. Each week she would bring a wheel barrow & table w/umbrella to set up in the middle line of the market, when it was allowed, at the Spring Street parking lot. Each week she’d wait for the ok from the market manager to set-up, since the market was so full and busy it only allowed set-up for other farmers, when someone was out. Finally she became a full-time farmer/vendor at the Amherst Farmers Market & remains so til today.
Eventually, Carol & her husband Marty Vogt purchased 124 acres of remote, mountainous woodland in Warwick, MA & moved there in 2000. It had been a cow farm in the 1700’s but was totally wooded, steep, and had no roads or buildings on the site. Together they built a 20-sided round house, the bottom half of which is dedicated to White Buffalo Herbs. Except for the foundation, Carol & Marty built this entire home and farm with only their own 4 hands…no cranes, no contractors, no neighbors aid. Because Carol never takes “No” for an answer & is very determined, the clearing and building was grueling and rewarding, and Carol can truly say “We built our farm, by ourselves! They are “Still Willin’ “ to work hard on this wonderful new farm and have put it into a conservation restriction, so no more homes can be built on this wilderness.
They built a steep ½ mile driveway (truly!) up to the highest point on the property (it is so high up that the weather is vastly different than in the surrounding towns & a nightmare in winter), lived without power or water for 4 years while building their dream farm, were surrounded by amazing flora and fauna (bear, moose, deer, porcupine, so many trees & wild herbs), met wonderful people, and were “helped” by their cat “Lenny” now replaced after 18 years with 2 rambunctious kitties.
Carol continues to learn about herbs and the Green World around her. She holds an annual Apprenticeship on the farm and offers many other classes. She grows a variety of mostly Native American herbs and uses Native American formulas. She named her herbal farm company to honor the Lakota story of White Buffalo Woman, or Ptesan-Wi:
It is said that White Buffalo Woman appeared many ages ago with sage leaves & a medicine bundle in her hands. She shared her knowledge of the precious gifts of herbs with her people: sweet grass for purification, boiling corn for food, making dried pemmican, cooking over a hearth, and the gift of prayer. She showed them how to use a pipe which contains the gift of peta-owihankeshni (or flame) that can be passed from generation to generation. As she prepared to leave them, she said that the four ages of Creation were in her and that she would return to them one day, when people needed prosperity again. Once she saw she was no longer needed, she left rolling over four times. The 1st time she turned into a black buffalo, heading North; the 2nd time she turned into a brown buffalo, heading South; the 3rd time she turned into a red buffalo heading East; and after rolling a 4th time, she headed WEST, turning into a White female Buffalo calf-believed by the Lakota to be the most sacred living thing on can behold.
Carol thought that by naming her farm business “WHITE BUFFALO HERBS”, she could continuously honor White Buffalo Woman and her commitment to creating a healthy community. Meaning no disrespect to our Native American Community, she cherishes White Buffalo Woman’s vision and hopes to empower others to create their own good health in their communities.
As always, Carol strives to create new products that will be helpful to her community. She keeps her prices lower than most herb stores to help all folks be able to afford organic herbals. Carol now makes over 120 herbal products, herself, and attends 2 farmers markets each week: Forest park in Springfield on Tuesdays and Amherst Farmers’ Market every Saturday since long, long ago.
White Buffalo herbs products are available in person at the farmers markets or online at www.whitebuffaloherbs.com Carol can be reached directly via the internet at firstname.lastname@example.org
This season, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Carol is pleased to be offering her effective, sweet smelling (non-Aloe) GERM RELIEF Hand Sanitizer at the Main tent entrance to the Amherst Farmers Market each week. Dedicated staff will spray your hands as you come in to the market. Come by Carol’s White Buffalo Herbs’ tent in Amherst to browse her traveling HERB APOTEHCARY SHOP & have a chat…
Bringing you organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, locally-sourced blog posts on a semi-weekly basis from the Amherst Farmers' Market.