BUFFALO COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- On about an acre and a half of growing space, Sacred Blossom Farm is far from the largest farming operation in the area and that is for a reason and the reason is sustainability.
"And that's part of my whole goal is to figure out ways to grow plants that not only work for me, but will also work, you know, for six generations down the line," Sacred Blossom Farm owner Tony DiMaggio said.
DiMaggio, a first generation farmer, put down roots east of Gilmanton two years ago to pursue his passion for sustainable agriculture after growing up in Costa Rica and working on different kinds of farms across the U.S.
Now, he grows approximately 12 varieties of medicinal herbs in dense polycultures to make three different kinds of teas. DiMaggio says, in addition to sustainability, quality is what drove him to grow his own herbs.
"I knew the whole central part of my business is having a much higher quality of than anyone else," DiMaggio said. “So our first year, I produced plenty of herbs to get the business going.”
From seeds to final product, DiMaggio has his hands in every step of the production process. He plants and harvests the herbs by hand, dries them in his own herb dryer, makes and packages the tea blends in his commercial kitchen.
DiMaggio says the work can be grueling, but to him it’s all worth it.
"And sometimes, yeah, a lot of it's very difficult, you know, bent over all day doing monotonous work, but I love it,” he said. “I'm producing something of value to my fellow man and I'm very proud of that and also improving the whole world while I get to do it."
Entering the market in 2017, Sacred Blossom Farm’s living herbal teas are available in 50 locations, including Just Local Food and Mother Nature’s Food in Eau Claire. DiMaggio has plans to expand his sustainable operation to three acres, making it one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest.