In the first of trendy health waves there was green juice. Now we have yellow tonics as people have gotten turned on to turmeric. It is no wonder since it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that come from its main active ingredient – curcumin – which you can read about in detail at Mind Body Green.
When we found out our tea source – Bellocq Atelier – was making their version of a turmeric chai with the following description, we knew we had to get our breakfast beverages on the band wagon. Called Canyon Chai, it is a tea and elixir that is “fragrant, spicy and completely addictive. Perfect on it’s own or in a creamy latte, before work or after yoga. Beautiful spices include cardamon, smoked black pepper, ginger, fennel seed, cinnamon and clove. A dash of rose petals and calendula add a lovely hit of floral and flourish.”
We decided to add one extra healthful ingredient straight from the Greenmarket to give drinkers an extra energy boost without the caffeine. It is the root of a plant called ashwagandha, and it is known as “Indian ginseng” for its energy-sustaining and stress-reducing qualities. According to an article in Bon Appetit, it is considered part of the category of adaptogens – plant remedies for various maladies in the body caused by stress. We are sourcing our ashwagandha from Furance Creek Farm in Pennsylvania run by the herbalist Grace Galanti (learn details about her inspiring story in this recent Edible article.) She is often at her stand at the market with a kind smile, explaining the benefits of the plants in her various teas, tinctures, and dried root powders. Since I am at the Greenmarket throughout the winter months I got in the habit of warming up with her herbal hot teas. There were always three different herbal options, but I was always drawn to the ashwagandha blend since it was said to be energizing and mood-uplifting (which we can all use more of through the New York City winter).
Then my farmer friend Madalyn Warren, who now sells her fermented vegetables at the USQ market under the label Kimchi Harvest, told me that she takes ashwagandha root every day and can no longer live without it. So I tried taking her and Grace’s advice by putting a small amount (1/8 tsp) each day in my tea or juice, and noticed the consistent sustained energy it provided throughout the day and have become a convert. I figured we would share this incredible herbal energy with our customers by putting ashwagandha root into our Golden Milk Turmeric Chai blend. In the summer I am looking forward to bringing Furnace Creek’s fresh herbs and roots behind the bar to incorporate into some intriguing bitters and infusions. This way day or night at the PRINT bar you can be sipping your way towards health!