Who are you and what do you do?
Sarah Kate: I’m an herbalist, holistic chef, author and co-founder of The Kosmic Kitchen. These days I spend most of my time at home and in my garden, finding inspiration for everyday nourishment from the herbs, flowers and wild plants growing around me. Tending to my home has been a form of therapy for me helping me create a sense of calm and endless creativity. I’m always piddling around the house, trying to create beauty as much as I can. Since Covid hit, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching one-on-one Virtual Kosmic Cooking Classes designed to help my clients feel confident using herbs in their daily meals and rituals while creating their own kosmic kitchen practice. It’s been my greatest joy and the highlight of my week getting to cook with so many magical women across the country.
Summer: I’m all around plant lover, addicted to fun-loving (and very niche) memes, and forever on the healing path. Well, at least for this lifetime. I love herbalism, gardening, cooking, and gathering. I work with Sarah Kate as Co-founder of The Kosmic Kitchen, where we educate on kitchen herbalism and help folks transform their kitchen practices into healing rituals. And, I recently started a small marketing agency called Warmly, Summer where I support growing herbal product companies in building brands with purpose and integrity.
What’s your earliest plant memory?
Sarah Kate: My mother and grandparents share a love of plants and from the time I was really young I was out in the garden with them weeding, planting and tending. My mother transformed our little inner city backyard into an oasis of sorts. I feel like I remember her telling me she started out with cuttings she got from friends and over time the garden was lush with impatiens, wedelia and hibiscus. We also had lots of animals— from chickens to bunnies, finches, cats and dogs. That garden was a lively and magical place for me and I saw how you could transform something and make it really beautiful.
Summer: When I was about eight years old, my parents and I moved into an apartment complex in Tampa where they offered community garden plots to residents. My mom and I decided to grow eggplant and tomatoes, two things I normally would never (ever) eat. My parents didn’t cook much and at that time produce selection in Florida wasn’t very glamorous, aside from the fruits and things that you could grow yourself.
When I tried my first vine-ripened tomato, my world was rocked. I still remember the sweet and juicy taste, and how confused I was. I wondered, “How could these tomatoes be the same thing as the tasteless produce we usually get at the store?” It called me to question why many foods had so little flavor, and my eventual discovery of both GMO and organic foods.
Since then, no matter how small my place, I try to cultivate and connect with plants through gardening. I think growing and tending to plants is one of the best ways to develop a relationship with their medicines and unique personalities.
Are plants involved in your current work? If so in what way?
Sarah Kate: Studying herbalism most definitely changed my life and put me on a path to work with plants and share that with others. With the work we do for The Kosmic Kitchen, plants are at the forefront of our practice as herbalists and as cooks. In our newly released cookbook, The Kosmic Kitchen Cookbook: Everyday Herbalism and Recipes for Radical Wellness, we share our take on an herbal kitchen practice and how you can infuse the healing power of plants into your daily meals and rituals. My hope with our work and cookbook is that people walk away feeling like life is more fun, empowering and magical when plants are in the picture and you’re working to develop relationships with them.
Summer: The plants are a part of almost everything I do. Our cookbook, my plant related marketing and educational work, and in my own personal practices. My main focus has always been to try and connect to medicinal plants each day, largely through cooking and gardening, and to help others who aim to do the same. I truly believe that when we create deep connections with the plants and ecosystems, we will realize that we’re capable of healing so much. Not in a well versus unwell way, in an everflowing state kind of way. Much like the act of balancing, I believe healing is happening moment to moment. The plants assist me in my pursuit of living in alignment.
When we understand the cycles, patterns, and plants, I believe we will be able to walk a better path as a collective. I’m very much still in the work of self-discovery and healing, and my work tends to reflect where I’m at in the process. At this moment I’m still loving and integrating herbal foundations, which is why I think our new cookbook resonates well with those who’re eager to learn how to make herbalism a daily cooking practice. Sarah and I have both been working in this realm for 10 years together, and our work brings to life our herbal kitchen practices, which helps us both to ground and connect to the plants in a way that is both healing and playful.
Do plants speak to you and how can you tell?
Sarah Kate: A major turning point in listening to plants was when I interned up in Oregon at Herb Pharm, the tincture company. The plants on that farm are really talkative and it didn’t take long to tune into them and receive messages from them. My teacher there, Mark Disharoon, led classes that helped us tune into the essence or spirit of different plant medicines. He would pass out a shot glass with a few drops of an unnamed tincture in it and have all the interns go out and find a quiet place to sit alone with the medicine.
We’d sit there for a bit to see what wanted to come through, then come back together to talk about what we experienced. I kid you not, every single time we did this practice, there was a throughline or similar experience we each shared no matter what plant it was. From there something was awakened and it was like the plant hotline of communication was open and never stopped. When plants communicate with me, I can tell through different experiences such as a feeling, an emotional release, they visit me in dreams, sometimes they stick on my clothes, sometimes I see them in my mind's eye or they appear in places I’m not looking for them. It's truly one of the best feelings and I want everyone to experience plants talking to them because they really want to talk to all of us.
Summer: Yes, usually subtly but sometimes very clearly. Usually it’s in a very serendipitous way. I’ll ask for a sign and at times the plant appears in a physical form, in a dream, or even through a person. I’ve also had a few extraordinary experiences when meditating in the garden or out in wild places, and I believe that I know when I’m being spoken to because there is no real “thinking” going on. It’s a message that comes forth clearly that I had no actual attachment to. I see these special moments as the plant spirits speaking to me.
What’s your favorite plant?
Sarah Kate: I have many and I think it really varies and changes depending on the season or where I am. But one plant that I’m always in awe of is black cohosh. There’s something so alluring about its long raceme with powdery white flowers swaying in the breeze. Especially when there’s a stand of them. It’s truly a sight to behold.
Summer: Oh, wow. I can’t honestly answer that one. I will share that skullcap is one of my most favorite plant medicines for my body right now, as I’m very sensitive and can get anxious fairly easily. Skullcap grounds me in a way that feels both calming and restorative, I often drink it as a tea with lavender and chamomile throughout the day.
Another plant that just absolutely blows my mind is night-blooming cereus. Also known as “queen of the night” and for good reason. The flowers are pure magic. They bloom around the full moon, usually once a year, in the summertime. I grew up in Florida, where they’re often grown ornamentally, and they would create gorgeous white and yellow blooms the size of your head that would climb the length of the trees that supported them. I’ll never forget all the walks I would go on with all my herbal loves in Florida, we made a habit of visiting the blooms together on late summer nights.
What’s your favorite natural therapy, whether that be plant medicine, acupuncture or something else?
Sarah Kate: I love many natural therapies and wish I had the funds to do them all frequently, but I find cooking to be a therapy for me. It feeds my creativity, helps to ground me and makes me feel nourished. I also can’t live without being in water or bodywork. Both of those are game changers when it comes to my overall well being.
Summer: Physical touch is my favorite to recieve, as I store so much of my anxiety deep in my tissues. Acupuncture and massage does wonders for me. Personally, I tend to give the gift of plant medicines. Whether that be a healing meal or a bouquet of flowers from the garden. Flowers and laughter are my love language.
What is your favorite Wooden Spoons remedy? How has it helped you follow the plant path?
Sarah Kate: I’m in love with Rose Colored Glasses. It's got the most delightful flavor, plus has all my faves in there—hawthorne, tulsi, oats and rose. This formula definitely helps to make me feel uplifted and grounded at the same time which gives me a sense that everything is alright.
Summer: Solar-Power Energy gets me everytime. It tastes earthy, tangy, and sweet. I love every drop, helps me to feel more alive and connected. I keep it at my desk for when I’m feeling the need for some nourishment.