Rita Seed has been foraging the lower slopes of Mount Seymour and up Indian Arm to find natural ingredients for her homemade balms and salves which she sells under the name, Deep Cove Botanicals (deepcovebotanicals.com).
In university Seed studied molecular genetics and learned botany from experts in the field. Since moving to the Cove from the U.K., Seed has founded Deep Cove Women’s Circle – a group of women who get together to make natural, homemade products from scratch.
When she’s not concocting her latest balm or salve, Seed is a tour guide at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Deep Cove Crier: Explain how your upbringing led to you creating these products?
Rita Seed: I grew up in Wales where my Grandmother and Mother taught me our long family traditional methods of healing using plants from the garden and kitchen. My Grandmother always said, “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!”
Deep Cove Crier: Where do you forage in the Deep Cove-Seymour area for your ingredients?
Rita Seed: Deep Cove is amazing in that it has several plant habitats. I grow several common herbs in my garden but also forage locally and responsibly. For woodland species I go off the trails on Mount Seymour and for coastal plants I love to go along Indian Arm on our boat and collect plants there. I am always on the lookout when off the beaten track.
Deep Cove Crier: What native plant species in our area have healing properties?
Rita Seed: Firstly, a caution: Always forage for plants with someone who is experienced and can positively identify the plant. I am hoping to give wild walks in the future to help people learn some of these skills. A popular herb with local and First Nation herbalists is yarrow. Yarrow also promotes wound healing and healthy skin. I use it in several of my skin salves. It is easy to grow in your own garden but grows wild too.
Deep Cove Crier: What is your process for creating the products?
Rita Seed: This varies. In general I collect and process the plant materials and often infuse the active ingredients into oils to make salves and balms. Everything is local, fresh and organic wherever possible, for example, natural B.C. beeswax.
Deep Cove Crier: What are your most popular sellers?
Rita Seed: Natural insect repellent, bug bite relief, and skin salve for sunburn or rashes. The natural deodorant is also very popular.
Deep Cove Crier: Which product is your go-to that you carry with you everywhere?
Rita Seed: I carry lots of my products with me in travel size. I don’t leave home without my Soothe Stick – great for muscle pain or headaches on the go and it smells great. In allergy season I carry breathe balm, too.
Deep Cove Crier: What sets your products apart from other natural remedies?
Rita Seed: Simple: location, location, location. I am and always will be local. My products are made in Deep Cove using ingredients sourced around Deep Cove. I deliver free on Tuesday evenings around the Cove to cut out shipping costs. My recipes have been honed over many years and my Grandmother’s old recipes are merely adapted to modern tastes/methods – meaning they are not like anyone else’s. Everything is fresh, preservative-free, additive-free and made in small batches. ■