23rd maj 2014
It started with wanting the best
Right from the beginning, we’ve been passionate about bringing people the very best organic herbs possible to enrich their mind, body and soul. This means offering herbs of exemplary quality that only a professional herbalist would be willing to dispense.
In the early days of Pukka, we knew that to find this standard of organic herb we needed to go directly to growers who shared our values; those individuals and communities who were prepared to go the extra mile to meet our quality standards.
The search for incredible people
Our search for the very best growers led us to the four corners of the world: across Europe, Africa, India, South-East Asia and South America. It was in these beautiful places that we found herb farmers with a profound respect for and understanding of nature, the soil, and plants.
Their unrelenting hard work and boundless enthusiasm, often in the face of tough living conditions, combined with their knowledge of plants and farming, inspired us then – as it still does today – and we were fortunate to be able to work with them and create mutually-beneficial, long-lasting relationships.
Nurturing our Pukka growers
Of course, just as we need our growers’ help to understand the local culture and farming conditions they face, many need our help with certain aspects of growing and harvesting to match the standards we look for.
With this in mind, we created a herb farming training programme in 2006 based on the World Health Organisation’s ‘Good Agriculture and Collection Practices for Medicinal Plants’ (or GACP for short).
This on-going training programme helps farmers qualify as Pukka growers by giving them guidance on how to best grow, harvest, and dry herbs to optimise their quality and efficacy.
It also supports farmers so that they can grow and collect their plants in a sustainable way, conserving and protecting vulnerable species. It’s a Pukka innovation that has meant continual improvement in the quality of our herbs, as well as many rewarding relationships; something we’re very proud of.
Our global Pukka family
Today, we’re blessed to be working with thousands of Pukka growers in over 20 different countries around the world.
Most of our growers, farmers and collectors own just a small piece of land and join together with their neighbours to form a loose-knit group. This group then typically sells their plants to a larger local producer who can handle all the complexities of European quality control requirements.
We visit our growers as often as we can to listen to their challenges, and share our needs; with local economic realities, crop success, and climate change inevitably part of our discussions over numerous cups of tea.
Yet, whilst we always seek to have long-term relationships with the people and the places they live in, we in no way ‘own’ their crops – they are free to sell to whoever they want… although we work very hard to be top of their list!