Ruth Madocks taught English to English language learners for 33 years. Two years ago, just before she retired from Arroyo Grande High School, she and her father purchased 10 acres of land outside Arroyo Grande and she is now a farmer and business owner. Eating and living healthy was instilled in Madocks from an early age by her mother, who died while Madocks was a teen.
Madocks essentially has three businesses she runs from her property: Branch Mill Organic Farm, Ruth’s Herbal Remedies and a retreat center. It is she who does most of the work. Her father, Wally Madocks, 92, is, she said, “the brains behind the organization.” Madocks has one farm worker who comes twice a week to help out and she has had volunteers off and on over the last couple of years, but is seeking more.
For the farm, Madocks primarily sells her organic produce to local markets, such as New Frontiers and SLO Natural Foods. She had a community supported agriculture – often called a CSA – program over the summer, but has taken a break from it for the winter. She said she would like to sell her produce at local farmers’ markets and could be something she does in the future.
On her 10-acre property, she has a two-acre field is certified organic that produced 20,000 of squash this fall, a half-acre garden that produces garlic, greens and various other vegetables, 12 organic chickens and a 6,000-square-foot greenhouse that is currently not being utilized.
Although she loves her organic farm, her real love is making herbal remedies. Ruth’s Herbal Remedies came out of Madocks love of herbs and spices, which she discovered when traveling in Asia when she was in her 20s. It was there – in Nepal specifically – that she discovered Ayruvedic medicine after it healed foot problems she’d been having.
“I thought I’d start making [herbal remedies] and retire at 55,” Madocks said. “It’s been a hobby of mine all my life.”
She said she’s been fascinated with ancient cultures and healing all her life. While studying international studies in college, she became fascinated that Indians healed with food and herbs. After visiting India as a young woman, she was spurred to cook Indian foods.
“[People in India] were poor, but the people were really healthy,” Madocks observed.
Her herbal remedies business has a variety of products from tinctures to salves and other organic care products. Her products are for sale on her website and at various stores around the county.
“I’m having a lot of success,” Madocks said.
All of Madocks products are completely organic. For the salves, which are applied externally, she used herbs from her farm, but uses products from other certified farms for her intinctures, which are ingested.
Retreat center has different programs such as mediation, weekly yoga on Tuesday, journaling and yoga retreats, cooking classes and other special events. This month, the center will host The Longevity Lab with Aparna on Saturday, Feb. 22. Aparna will present Ayurveda – food as medicine.
For more information, go to www.branchmillorganics.com or www.ruthsherbalremedies.com.