Since the first time her family members asked her to make herb blends for them – to the over 250 different herb combinations she makes now, Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh’s process has been the same. She grows and harvests herbs from her gardens and blends them into cooking blends, herbal teas, and bath and personal-care items using her own recipes. Herbs are organically raised and harvested and dried using Mother Nature’s assistance rather than mechanical driers. She custom-blends items, rather than mass-producing mixes and blends. Her company, Backyard Patch Herbs, caters to individuals with allergies and food sensitivities.
Lautanen-Raleigh’s bachelor’s degree is in anthropology, with a focus on native cultures of the United States. She worked for 20 years as a museum curator and director. What began as a hobby and a way to grow herbs for use in programs at the museums she managed, soon became a personal passion which turned into a full-time endeavor. Lautanen-Raleigh began growing herbs in 1992, after taking a winter class at an herb shop in Geneva, Illinois, and started Backyard Patch in 1995. Her programs have been listed as a “Best of the Best” in a Northern Illinois Library Association publication. Lautanen-Raleigh is a published author on subjects relating to herbs, both growing and using, and is a regular contributing author to both The Essential Herbal Magazine and Wisconsin Herbalist. She also maintains an herb-themed blog, where she shares her 20 years of herb gardening experience. Please visit her at www.backyardpatch.blogspot.com.