guest blog


by Grace Bonney

About a year ago I started going into Homegrown Herb and Tea at least every other day and sometimes daily. Over the course of that year it became a habit that stuck and I can honestly say that it has changed the way I feel, both mentally and physically, in such a positive way.

Each and every cup of tea that is mixed and brewed at Homegrown is done right when you order it. Sarah doesn’t have her tea already blended and sitting around; it’s all freshly made and beautifully cared for right on the spot and that fact sets the tone for your tea-drinking experience. One goes in, thinks about what you’re in the mood for (perhaps you need a boost in energy or you’re dealing with a small ailment), discusses it with Sarah and then waits while the tea is prepared. I have waited as long as fifteen minutes while my cup is being made but I have grown to really love it. For me it is a practice in kind patience and a treasured, not often found in the course of the day, chance to slow down and breathe. It is just like Sarah told me once: everyone should give themselves the time to take tea daily. Give themselves the time…. I really liked that phrase and have muttered it to myself many times since Sarah told me. Time certainly is a small pleasure and a gift.

When I told Sarah that I was writing up a few pieces about my simple pleasures here in Portland she jumped right in and whipped up something seasonal, delicious and restorative that you can try at home.

Use equal parts of each of these herbs or around 1/4 teaspoon each.

– Dried Oat Tops or Oat Straw
– Nettle
– Dandelion
– Echinacea
– Sarsaparilla
– Marshmallow
– Milk thistle
– Hibiscus
– Dried orange peel (or you can sub a nice slice of orange)

Mix herbs and drop them into a tea sack. Add a small touch of local raw honey if you so desire. Pour in hot water. Cover and let the tea steep for 3–5 minutes. Enjoy!

Sarah says the intentions of this tea are to gently tonify the body cleansing the blood and liver particularly during this delicate change of the season. She also says that the energy in this Spring Tonic is overall quite cooling and balancing for those who might have allergies.

One note: If this long list of herbs seems daunting, don’t let it. At any natural food store these herbs should cost about $2-$3 per ounce and you can get something like 25 cups of tea from all that herb. That comes out to much less than $1 per cup!

I have become a huge supporter of not only Sarah’s tea and how it tastes but also of the way that she feels about her work and how she runs her business. In this day and age it’s a very unique way of doing things. Homegrown is not huge or trying to be. It’s not mass produced or trying to be. It’s not one-size-fits-all or trying to be. Instead it’s simple, humble and full of love and for that I am very grateful.

All of Sarah’s special tea tonics are available on her new website so check it out!


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  • This is Portland Maine, by the way… please specify, or else someone people will be disappointed by 3,000 miles…

  • Alix

    Why would people assume Portland, OR? I hate when people do that- it’s not the Portland around. Also, she said she’d be talking about Maine this week. Plus, don’t you think people would notice when they looked up the address to visit? Just sayin…


  • it’s probably a good thing i didn’t know about this place when i was at school in portland… i would have spent all of my work/study income here!

  • Homegrown is truly a special place- and though the website is a great way for folks who aren’t in the neighborhood to enjoy Sarah’s craft, it’s just not the same! So I really encourage anyone in the area to stop in to get the full experience!

  • by the way, i love your pics maria. you’ve got an incredible eye for color and composition- it makes your photos seem somehow both incredibly thoughtful and very casual at the same time.

  • Jnett — it’s a new blend she just made up for us. You can call her to place an order for it and perhaps keep your eye on the site as it might be added soon. Thanks, all, MAV

  • thank you so much for sharing this. i am a huge lover of tea. i wish i was a local, i’d be there everyday! thanks so much for this post. (drinking a cup of tea as i comment lol)

  • update: Just talked to Sarah and she is going to add the Spring Tonic to her site in the next day or so … keep your eyes peeled. I am having a cup right now and it’s so lovely and fresh! Cheers, all.

  • Wow – this is less than a mile from where my husband works and I never knew it existed! We’re both tea crazy – thank you for featuring this!!!

  • I had no idea this place existed! I will definitely put it on my list, and will be making that spring tonic today. The shop sounds fantastic, thanks for sharing!

  • I found Homegrown a few years ago while looking for a place to buy bulk tea after the Portland Public Market closed. Sarah’s shop is a wonderful example of following one’s passion. One visit is enough to show you that she loves what she’s doing, and so do her customers. Great review, and great photos Maria!

  • You’ve written a great review, and your photos do capture the feeling perfectly! I agree, this corner tea shop is the perfect spot to step out of the bustle of the day and into a different time flow while enjoying a delicious cup of tea.

  • LOVE MAINE. I wish they would specify when they refer to Portland!
    I miss my Maine : )
    Lots of love for small business

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