North Shore Apothecary & Goods is run entirely by yours truly, Emily Lou.
I'm out there cutting & snipping the freshest plant material to go straight into the traditional copper alembic still. Then formulating, labelling, packaging....everything. I do it!
There is no way to do it except the ethical & environmentally friendly way. Any other way makes my job harder. I'd have to travel further to find those elusive pockets of whatever plant I'm looking for. I want to come back year after year to that babbling brook to harvest wild mint, so why would I ever deplete it?! My background in landscape design, aquatic plant fieldwork and native plant restoration helps me do this efficiently and with informed care.
North Shore celebrates an often underutilized sense- the sense of smell. Nature provides some of the most wonderful, layered, complicated and downright lovely smells that can transport us back to our childhood, a place of meaning, or to our emotions. We've been expressing scent from plants, resins, mushrooms, bark & lichen for centuries dating back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Odorous plant matter was considered heavenly and was highly revered. Somewhere along the way, synthetic chemicals took the place of handcrafted natural expressions of plants. These synthetics do allow scent to last longer, but can also be riddled with chemicals, hormones, and preservatives. If you're like me, modern perfumes cause headaches and the odd but oh so wicked migraine. Natural scents are more gentle, and well, natural.
During the Summer of 2017, while completing my Masters of Environmental Studies, I undertook the task of renovating a 70 year old cabin near Orrville, ON. The dream was to have a workshop and a place to run the still so it could be connected to a cold water source to aid in the condensation of essential oil during steam distillation. The dream came true! The cabin is situated right by a spring fed lake, and the water for the copper still comes up from the lake, through the still, then it waters the vegetable and herb garden and then eventually back into the lake. Dreamy.
I can't even begin to highlight the setbacks and costly mistakes I made while undertaking most of the renovation myself. Without fail, for about three months I had some sort of injury, cut, or glob of paint lodged in my hair and all articles of clothing. I got very comfortable going out in public like this. But hey, now if anyone needs help drywalling, painting, building, putting in windows, tongue & groovin', (and most importantly) demolition...I'm your gal! Of course I got help from many talented and kind people, of which none of this dream would have come to fruition without.
In sum, I love doing this. I love completing the process from start to finish and providing a product that doesn't just smell like Muskoka.... it actually is Muskoka.