Canoeing in Algonquin Park
Canoeing in Algonquin Park

For over 22 years, we have been making herbal teas from amazing plants that grow in one of the truly beautiful places of the world — known to paddlers, campers and nature lovers as Algonquin Park (pronounced al-gone-kwin).

Many people, from around the world, have stories about visits to this area. Imagine a park with over 2,300 lakes, 1.9 million acres, no electricity or wifi, just vast untamed spaciousness, abundance of wild plants and animals, moose and bear and wolves as neighbours. It’s a place that asks you to paddle hard in the wind, lets you float while watching eagles and dragonflies, fills your nostrils with pine and cedar oil, and opens your heart as the loons call from lake to lake.

Even though a million people come each year, they vanish quickly into the park, portaging themselves to distant campsites, and you find yourself being transported to a simpler time, and transformed by an awareness of the vast intelligence and sentience of the earth herself. Humbled in this presence you realize the wild part of you knows this place, and you carry it in your heart and long to return as soon as you leave. This area inspired many artists, including the renowned Group of Seven.

It was the friendship of a painter and herbalist, Steven Martyn, that brought me to live on the edge of the park. I was a city gal, loaded with degrees, and working in advertising and running with a pack that liked late nights, good music and exploring the evolution of consciousness. All of it was wonderful, but my spirit called me to get out into the wild so that nature could take me deeper into the known and unknown.

Harvesting by canoe

Steven and I harvested a plant by canoe that he said helped you remember your dreams. It’s smell was fruity and fresh. Early on, when friends were visiting, we drank it with the intention of dreaming, and not only did we all remember our dreams, we had similar characters and elements in our dreams! We were amazed! That is when the idea of sharing the magical and healing herbs of the area was born. Harvesting and growing the original blends of Algonquin Tea was a beautiful time of deepening into the great mystery.

So magical in fact that I began a column in Vitality Magazine called Sacred Journeys, about living with nature, off the grid and without running water; having a pet porcupine, learning that we have instinctive ‘muscles’ that  drag us around so that we will ‘remember’ what we already know, by connecting us to the intelligence that is nature. One of the most rewarding aspects of working with plants and nature is discovering that you are always in dialogue and all we have to do is listen, and be present.

Isn’t that what drinking tea is all about? Being present. Taking a few minutes to stop time, and acknowledge the now moment, whatever it might be… Perhaps we are coming in from the cold and appreciating that feeling, or we’re visiting someone we really enjoy and we put the kettle on for a cup of tea. When I am alone, getting my tea in hand lets me do something for myself that marks the moment before I write, or meditate or do yoga or curl up with a good read or a call to a friend. It lets me feel gathered in, so I can connect deeper.

The herbs we use are sung to, the water is given tobacco to bestow blessings, the sun and the earth are thanked. We ask that they offer each drinker their best and to enjoy being transformed by their experience with us, for they are our teachers, just as we teach them.

I offer up my insights in blogs and vitality.com. Steven and his family run a nature school, thesacredgardener.ca.

Our teas are available loose and in tea bags, online here, or in wonderfully supportive stores around the world. Algonquin Tea is about close relationships with the land, the plants, and each of you.

Green economics is a heart path where we can honour all our relations. All Blessings. All Love. All of Us.

— Kim Elkington – President

Sharing the Love

Algonquin Tea donates to:

Nature Conservancy of Canada

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

Eco Justice, in honour of our dear friend Skye Faris, social justice and peace activist, 1940–2014

The Council of Canadians, fighting for clean water