By Emily Meagher
If you’ve seen Shane Avery at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, you’ll know he’s a busy man operating two businesses at once. Avery started at the market as Saratoga Urban Farm, selling microgreens and wheatgrass shots. The latter inspired him to make holistic wellness products more accessible to customers. The creation of both Earth To Mind, a CBD product line, and Junbucha, a green tea and honey-based twist on kombucha, soon followed.
Earth To Mind was born at just the right time: “People were asking if anyone at the market produced CBD products, so it seemed like a great opportunity for me to try to fill that gap,” says Avery. Earth To Mind’s product line includes tinctures, topicals, rubs, and now also soft gels. Its CBD Assistance Program aims to improve accessibility and gives 40% off to veterans, low-income customers, and those on disability. And CBD isn’t limited to humans; the products are also great for pets, to calm anxiety and to ease inflammation.
The origins of Avery’s Junbucha, “the champagne of kombucha”, were also at the market: loyal customers demanded more of the homemade kombucha that Avery would share. “Jun is a tough to brew culture, but the honey makes for a lighter, floral brew that still has those same probiotic properties.” Made with organic ingredients, Avery produces flavors like blueberry & lemon, pineapple & turmeric, and ginger & yerba mate. Cold-pressed juice is added just before bottling to make a fruitier brew than the often vinegary kombucha.
Avery’s companies both aimed to fill customer demands at the farmers’ market. The regard for community wellbeing is evident from the way they operate, whether it be through sourcing local ingredients to support other small businesses or renting out their shared commercial kitchen space for others to incubate new ideas. “You need a healthy ecosystem for your business to grow in, and I try to take an active role to help sustain that ecosystem for others.” The brands also value environmental sustainability, using recycled packaging and reusable bottles (a recent favorite was a customer using bottles for sand art). “It’s obvious to consider the earth when you’re a farmer; your hands are literally in the dirt. But other food producers are equally responsible for operating sustainably,” Avery says.
Avery is grateful for the platform that the farmers’ markets have given him. “In my opinion, it’s the best place to incubate new products and ideas. You get instant feedback, and customers reviews are honest, accurate, and high-quality. As a farmer or producer at the market, you’re adding value to a larger marketplace of ideas.” Find Earth To Mind and Junbucha at the farmers’ market every Saturday, or order online on earthtomind.com and junbucha.com.
Are you looking to grow your business in 2021? Vendor applications for our summer markets are open until January 31! Local farmers, artisans, crafters, and specialty food makers are welcome to apply. For more information visit saratogafarmersmarket.org/vendor.