Sustainable Table: Mountain Rose Herbs

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EUGENE, Ore. — Over the past decade, one local business has grown from five employees working out of a Pleasant Hill home to about 130 in a huge west Eugene production facility. As it grew, it maintained its goal of zero waste.

Walk into Mountain Rose Herbs‘ west Eugene production facility and it’s a sensory overload. The sounds, smells, tastes and sights are a lot to take in.

The first sound you hear ironically comes from the last step in production: shipping.

“We ship all over the country. We sell to Canada and the United States,” said Erin McIntosh, Communications Manager.

Workers pack the boxes with Mountain Rose oils, rubs and teas. The boxes might not be the same shade as this packing material, but it turns out they’re just as green–made from post-consumer waste cardboard.

“Sustainability guides everything that we do here,” McIntosh said.

The clearest example of that is the ingredients Mountain Rose uses in its products–the source of the smell that permeates the building and sticks to your clothes.

“It’s really hard to pinpoint because we sell so many different herbs, oils, spices and teas. It’s just a nice combination of it all,” said Julie DeBord, Production Manager.

“It penetrates everything. The aromas of the spices–the peppercorns, the roses, the mints–they’re so aromatic, and they just sort of cling to you,” McIntosh said.

Not just aromatic, the spices are all organic, in most cases ethically wild harvested.

“We know for a fact there are no chemical pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers being used. They’re all grown as the earth intended,” McIntosh said.

“Flavor and the vibrancy, the color, the smell–everything about it is better when it’s organic,” DeBord said.

In the most basic terms, DeBord is in charge of how its teas and rubs taste.

“Flavor has a lot to do with it, but we’re working a lot with medicinal herbs. So every tea has its primary ingredients and secondary ingredients and a specific action we’re going for,” DeBord said.

Those ingredients get poured into a machine and, in one case, mixed to make a pickling spice. Just looking at the finished product is breathtaking: a beautiful mixture of mustard seed, dill seed and black peppercorns. Combinations like this get scooped into environmentally-friendly bags made of tree cellulose and boxes created using 100 percent recycled newspapers.

“We’re able to make this packaging out of waste materials that would otherwise have just ended up in landfills,” McIntosh said.

It’s just another example of Mountain Rose’s dedication to sustainability and maintaining its zero-waste facility. So not only will these products make you feel good, you can feel good about using them too.

Though Mountain Rose does ship all over the country, you can order and pick up the products at its west Eugene facility.

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