While new this season to the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market, Old World Salves has already generated a loyal following for an array of healing herbal salves that were previously found only at local grocery stores.
New owner Nicole Eagan has been broadening the line to include an impressive array of healing teas, tinctures, syrups and pet care.
Old World Salves arrived to Eagan’s life in a completely synchronistic way about five months ago. With a background in health services in the U.S. Coast Guard, she early on established a clinical and emergency medicine background.
While transitioning from the military to stay-at-home parent, Eagan’s interest in alternative healing prompted her to embark on an educational journey; she earned two master’s degrees in herbal medicine and complementary alternative medicine.
After her family’s move to the Olympic Peninsula, Eagan took a position at Sunny Farm Supplements. It was in the supplement shop where her life took an expansive turn when she made the acquaintance of Victoria and Russell Fiorini, the original owners of Old World Salves.
“The business was humbly passed down to me,” Eagan said. “They were looking to hand their life’s work to someone who would carry the business and keep it strong and rolling.
“I took that gladly from them and have been trying to honor them ever since.”
Eagan shares that she’s drawn to the ever changing nature of herbal medicine.
“New things are constantly being discovered,” she said. “Medicinal herbs can provide so much more than what they thought twenty years ago. I’m maintaining the original herbal formulas that have been passed down to me. I’m also finding ways to improve them.”
Eagan has already expanded upon the Fiorini’s original line, guided by the needs articulated by her conversations with market guests.
“People will often share that there’s something going on with their health that isn’t represented in the product line,” she said. “They want to create a trusting relationship with the person making their medicine.”
Eagan said she’s quick to dive into her research, working with guests to develop new formulas influenced by their evolving feedback, looking to provide her community with an alternative to conventional medicine.
“Right now, there is a health crisis,” said Eagan. “A lot of people have fallen into quick conventional band-aids that don’t truly heal. For a lot of people, conventional medicine has been a let down, with a lot of damaging side effects.
“Not being able to control your own health, or access your optimum wellness, it can destroy someone’s life. Working with a community herbalist, you learn that you can do a lot of this yourself. You have the control to make those decisions.”
The reception, she said, has been hugely positive.
“People come back to me with so much emotion and positive, vibrating energy,” Eagan said. “For me to see the change that’s been made by the products is so powerful. I’m helping people heal from the inside out or the outside in. To me, the best part is when people come back smiling.”
Old World Salves already feels as if it’s been a part of the Saturday market family for years. Eagan’s passion for farmers markets may have something to do with that.
“Farmers markets are so important because they keep our community strong,” she said. “If you’re not buying locally grown food from the farmers in your community, you’re not helping to provide them with the stability they need so they can keep doing the good that they’re doing.
“It’s a circle with a ripple effect.”
Victoria Fiorini, the original owner of Old World Salves, recently passed away after coping with a long illness.
“I know that this is a very difficult time for the Fiorini family, as her passing is still very near,” Eagan said. “I want to express how truly grateful I am for meeting Russ and Victoria. They humbled and blessed my life by giving me this business. I don’t know how I could ever thank them for doing that.”
Eagan’s presence every Saturday is a testament to her gratitude to the original owners. Thanks to Eagan’s willingness to apply herself so passionately, individuals in Sequim now have an expanded opportunity to find new routes towards health and well-being.
You can find Old World Salves every Saturday, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market located at Sequim Civic Center plaza.
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. See www.sequim market.com.