by Augusta Vieira, Tolman High School Marketing & Management Academy Student
In 2008, Mary Blue lost her best friend and her sister-in-law to cancer. Jessica Gill and Suzy Hastings were the two that lost their lives. Knowing how badly Mary wanted to open her own herbal shop and resource center, Jessica had asked that all donations when she passed be made to Mary to start her own business. That same year of their passing, Mary collected enough money to open her own business, named Farmacy Herbs, along with the Farmacy Herbs Community Health and Education Center.
I got the opportunity speak to Mary Blue about her business and everything that happened before Farmacy Herbs impacted her life. Before starting the company, she worked as an herbalist and created herbal products, which she used and created plants as medicine with. After she got Farmacy Herbs off the ground, she saw the company as a business and a family tradition since it was started through the wishes of her late friend.
Unlike most farms that grow vegetables and crops, what is different about Farmacy Herbs is that they don’t grow vegetables. Instead they grow the ingredients for things such as bulk herbs, Farmacy tea blends, culinary herbs, honey, topical products, lip balms, salve, infused oils, clays, butters, and wax.
In addition to selling products at Farmacy Herbs, Mary also offers her products in places such as doctor offices, restaurants, and at local farmers markets. Some of the restaurants in Providence, RI, to which Farmacy sells their products include Chez Pascal, Nick’s on Broadway, and AS220 Food and Bar. They also sell to Clover Foods in Boston, MA.
Working with Farm Fresh RI had an impact on Farmacy Herbs. Being able to sell at their farmers markets increased business and “being well organized and good communicators” changed the business for Farmacy Herbs.
Looking to expand Farmacy Farms, Mary offers herb classes online, internships, summer camps, and more. Some of the educational programs offered are community classes in which participants visit schools, nonprofit groups, garden clubs, medical professionals, and nursing homes to teach communities how to make certain products that Farmacy offers. Mary Blue is also looking forward to the RI Herbal Festival, currently scheduled for September 2020.
If you wish to visit Farmacy Herbs, they are located at 28 Cemetery St in Providence, RI. To contact them by phone, you may do so at 401-270-5223. And for more information, visit their website at https://www.farmacyherbs.com.
A group of students from the William E. Tolman High School Marketing & Management Academy in Pawtucket recently took on a project of writing profiles about some of the local farms that work with Farm Fresh RI. This was a great opportunity for students to get interviewing experience, learn about the local food system, and see it firsthand. Thank you to all of the students and farmers who participated!