Botanical Companions looks to improve modern diets

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 5:39 PM
Heather Reitz, founder of Botanical Companions in Mancos, sells live plants at the Durango Farmers Market.

Heather Reitz, founder of Botanical Companions in Mancos, believes the modern diet suffers from a lack of live plants. She founded her farm in 2017 to attempt to change that.

Reitz was inspired by her grandmother, who was an avid user of whole foods. Her grandma enjoyed a hospital-free, long-lived life and credits her diet for her health.

“She’s the one who gave me my background in whole foods,” Reitz said.

At the Durango Farmers Market, Reitz sells living microgreens. Consuming the microgreens directly after harvesting them allows customers to utilize the enzymes in the plant, which severely decrease five minutes after harvesting the plant, she said. Reitz suggests topping a plate with the microgreens and eating them immediately afterwards.

“It’s important to eat those enzymes for the energy, for the clarity and for the happiness,” Reitz said. “There’s a lot of that missing in our modern diet and we wonder why we don’t have that energy and happiness. It’s extremely important.”

After graduating from Fort Lewis College in 2008, she volunteered, worked for and operated an organic farm. She later worked as a plant biologist with the National Park Service and private environmental consulting firms.

Initially, Reitz used her farm to offer herbs and different kinds of produce. When she started selling microgreens, the response was extremely positive, convincing Reitz to shift her focus.

“That’s our focus now, is nutrient-dense herbs and microgreens,” Reitz said.

As well as microgreens, she sells herbs, edible flowers, specialty produce, bouquets and botanical body products. Reitz makes deliveries every Wednesday to residents in Cortez, Durango and Mancos free of charge.

Reitz said despite the challenges of farming, she loves what she does.

“I just love that I’m providing nutrient-dense produce for the community and I get to enjoy the beauty of it all.”