Hello! My name is Chase Fincher, you can call me Fern, anything and everything within The At Home Apothecary was created by yours truly! In the past 8 years of my personal herbal journey, and the past 6 of my professional, I’ve grown to love herbalism in a way that I really didn’t know was possible. At first I found it fascinating that plants seemed to have this hidden side to them that was only revealed to a select few who chose to walk the path. I’ve always seen “the path” very literally, a journey into the deep woods. The first steps are clouded by ignorance, underlying beliefs, and a naivety that plant medicine quickly breaks through. The first step from the empty clearing onto the wooded path must be taken seriously, and with respect to the community of plants that the forest consists of. As you walk, you learn; plant blindness lifts, and the plants begin to “tell you their secrets” as the herbalists from Appalachia like to say. As the sun reaches less of the forest floor, the path is illuminated by knowledge. The closer relationship you form with each plant, the more they continue to share, the better you understand how they all work within the system of the forest. You become a part of that system within the forest.
To feel plant blindness lift, and to begin to recognize the wealth of herbal knowledge, history, and healing within the craft that is all around us is truly an indescribable feeling. I’ll be honest, in the beginning of my journey, I didn’t really understand why it was important to form a close relationship with the plants you work with. Of course it seemed beneficial, but now with time spent actually forming those relationships, I get it. All plants work differently in every individual body. To know how that plant effects you, you have to have real experiential time building that practice, and working with an herb in a multitude of ways.
After completing a few different routes of education through Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, The Herbal Academy, a Permaculture certification through AB Tech, and now 8 years of self study, the beginning of my career was spent making herbal remedies in moderately small batches and selling them at farmers markets. That quickly grew to supplying stores in my local area with my remedies, and eventually (until COVID) I sold my remedies in a shop of my own. After a year of the pandemic and operating entirely online, I decided it was time to start working towards the ideas and goals that originally started me on my journey. I had seen myself providing remedies to my community, but the way I started out, wasn’t where I wanted to be. I wanted to exist in every part of the process. Which led me to where I am now! In 2021 I moved back to my hometown, and have been living on a piece of land we are fortunate enough to call our own. (In the eyes of the government anyway, we reside in an area between Cherokee and Catawba territories.) This land provides us with so much medicinal native flora, and we’ve spent the past 3 years building greenhouses, atriums for seed starting and herb drying, putting medicinal perennials in the ground, and building a place for my very own At Home Apothecary!
We now have a space specifically dedicated for herb drying, medicine making, and teaching. Which, truthfully, wasn’t something I foresaw on this journey for myself. I’m a very solitary person, so putting myself out into the world as a teacher and as someone who helps others take their first steps into herbalism is something I truly believe the plants brought me to. But it’s been so rewarding. Since selling my first remedies at farmers markets, I saw that as a community we lacked education when it came to how herbs heal. And whether I wanted to or not, I had to educate each and every person on how to properly use the herbs they purchased. Those short interactions, over making a sale, truly aren’t enough to properly educate someone. Much of The At Home Apothecary began as beginner resources I was putting together for clients and online customers of my apothecary, and it with a lot of intention, it grew into what it is today. As herbalism is a life long passion for me, I intend for this course to continually grow and provide more for the community.