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Summer was so busy we are long overdue for blog posts and to let everyone know what’s been going on.

We are so excited to announce some wonderful new locations added to the list of Healcrest Tea retailers!

559265_570341936366546_493743451_nHead on over to Garfield, our lovely neighborhood, where all these delicious herbs are grown and where Bantha Tea Bar just recently opened for business at 5002 Penn Avenue! At Bantha you can enjoy locally blended and grown tea and tisane blends, served in beautiful one of a kind pottery mugs. Bantha carries 5 of Healcrest’s signature blends including the hugely popular Coconut Green Chai. Cozy up in the window nook with a good book or friend and enjoy Bantha’s beautifully designed cob building remodel complete with tile mosaic nature scene.

10394869_881739761893427_261757500942978787_n1795494_815538535185284_2095466175356805294_nLawrenceville is home to some of the hottest and coolest spots in Pittsburgh right now. Welcoming the newest hot spot Caffe D’Amore. Caffe D’Amore has been brewing up some of the best coffee and espresso in the Burgh for the last 5 years at Pittsburgh Public Market, Farmer’s Markets, and special events. They’re newest venture is to open the Caffe D’Amore Cafe on Butler St. At the new cafe they are serving select single herb teas from Healcrest Urban Farm. Visit Caffe D’Amore 5400 Butler street for the deliciously simple and sought after Tulsi (Holy Basil), and Chocolate Mint Herbal Teas!

1474506_580587105347096_315983624_n11026799_355211708017327_4695850770458453589_nIntroducing our newest and ONLY tea pouch vendor! If you can’t find us and you don’t want to order online, head over to Robin’s Nest Gallery and Gifts in our neck of the woods. Robin is a purveyor of fine arts and crafts in Pittsburgh. Visit her at 5504 Penn Ave for Healcrest Loose Leaf Tea Pouches, jewelry, visual art, tableware, kitchen items, greeting cards, and many one of kind items.


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Get a pack of pops for your freezer!

We’ve got pops, all kinds, and they need to be enjoyed!.Pick up a variety pack our remaining summer flavors of Chocolate Lavender, Plum + Lemon Balm, Cucumber + Lime-Mint, Basil Lemonade, Peach + Basil, Nettle + Vanilla, mix and match as much as you like! Help us make room for Pumpkin Chai, Grape + Fennel, and Apple Cider Pops!

Our pops will keep in your freezer for up to 8 weeks. Plenty of time to enjoy with friends. Pick them up for a gift, party, or Halloween treat! Come see us FRI-SUN 10-4pm at the Pittsburgh Public Market 2401 Penn Ave. in the Strip District, we have parking!!!!

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Taste for Pace 2015


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Reflections, Gratitude, Funding to a TEA

We had a lovely evening last Tuesday with Emily and Kate of WePropelle! Along with the wonderful company of many of the Rock IT! members,  we enjoyed beautiful weather and inspiring conversation at Healcrest Urban Farm under the big apple tree. Check out all of the beautiful photos from the evening lovingly taken by Cara Rufenacht Creative
10014415_874376175976273_2022010700818529614_oMaria and I had such an inspired time we are still feeling the High Vibes from a week ago! Thank you all so much for spending your evening with us. We know how valuable time and energy are and we are so grateful, fortunate, and blessed that you shared your with us.

We thought it helpful to reshare some of what we spoke about that it may support your own efforts.

Healcrest Urban Farm is so fortunate to received support from many varied sources. Many of the structures and gardens have been built by student work crews through PGH Learn and Earn Program, formerly Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Program from 2005 – 2010. This program, through participating CDCs and Non-Profits, places youth interns with qualified businesses. Grants pay the student work force and small, local, and non-profit businesses get the benefits of working with a young person outside of your businesses payroll.

In 2012 we were able to purchase our first Ice-Cream cart, Big Bertha, with a grant from Awesome PGH. Awesome if made up of 10 people who every month give up $100 each of their disposable income to projects they believe make PGH more awesome. As a grant winner we were featured and participated in an award ceremony. At the award ceremony we were inspired by all the other awesome projects and we made some great connections. By being a grant winner we were offered 2 news spots as well as other publicity and it really gave us some good fuel to work with.

Through a neighborhood connection with Catapult PGH, also how we met miss Kate Stoltzfus, Maria was sponsored to apply for a KivaZip loan. KivaZip is a type of crowd funding program where anyone can support projects and the recipient receives an interest free loan from the support of interested people. With this loan Healcrest was able to secure the permits, certifications, insurance, equipment and commercial kitchen space needed to legally bring our product to the people. Through this opportunity Maria has been featured which has led to more great connections.

We were fortunate to be chosen for the Idea Foundry Intersector Program in 2013. This program is specifically designed to incubate social enterprise start-up businesses. Our time with Idea Foundry has been eye opening and deeply motivating. We are currently in the second round of their programming. Each round comes with consultation, a financial award designed to support the growth of the social enterprise, and some legal services. With the disciplined support of Nicole and Mike at Idea Foundry we have made strides in our business we may have not otherwise envisioned.

Some of our most recent financial support has come from the Sprout Fund and New Sun Rising, each supporting mindful projects in Pittsburgh and assisting in making our Funding to a Tea event a success. We were graced with Scott from NSR sharing a bit of the work they are focusing on and we are thankful to have NSR focusing on Garfield and inviting Maria to be a board member.

We are able to grow and continue our work through amazing relationships like these. Not only in financial support but the countless amounts of gifts, collaboration, free advice, and consultation we’ve received from knowledgeable people throughout Pittsburgh. I’m sure I can not list them all but advice and support is priceless and we’ve received it from Meridith Grelli of Wigle Whiskey, Jacob Hanchar of Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor, Jody and Steve Choder of Choderwood, Dora and Dierdre of 52nd St Market, Leah Lizarondo of Brazen Kitchen, Pastor Paul of Eastminster Church, Terry Doloughty of Pittsburgh Public Market, and many more.

We’ve also been fortunate over the years to collaborate with Carnegie Mellon, Chatham University, Youth Builders, The Eve Circle, Western Psych, Assemble, Bloomfield Garfield Corp., Western PA Conservancy, Fork in the Road, Chicks in the Hood, Ola’s Herbshop, and others.

Looking forward to the future we are practicing gratitude, manifesting abundance, managing our stresses by counting our blessings, while living presently and with intention. Our journey with Healcrest and working with others has given us many opportunities to learn about ourselves, however reluctantly at times.

Healcrest Urban Farm not only cultivates herbs and fruits, it nurtures our personal growth as well. As we have grown in business we have grown in ourselves. Through this experience we have had to ask hard questions of ourselves and our business and we have matured as a result. With each passing year the perennials get stronger, juicier, more robust, and of higher quality, and so do we. As we nurture the soil and cultivate the plants, Healcrest nurtures our spirits, bodies and minds.

Thank you for sharing in our love. Thank you for your appreciation of the bueatiful sanctuary that is Healcrest Urban Farm.

With love and gratitude, Dana Launius

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Everything is SPRINGing back to life!

It’s spring and I’m silly. Sunshine and warmth make me giddy and a little drunk on all the vitamin D. Spring fever is finally over and it feels as if Persephone has returned from the underworld to stay…for now.

Everything is waking up at Healcrest. In a face paced life 3 weeks can seem like a blink so in a blink the leaves have unfolded, blossoms have popped out and bloomed, birds, bugs, and bushwhackers everywhere are buzzing and humming. 


I love Spring. Everything emerges from the slumber and is excited to be warm and sunny. Throughout winter most of us have our issues with the cold, dark, slow moving way of the season. 

As if we’ve never experienced the seasonal cycle we discuss winter like it has no business being around. “Who invited her? She’s such a bore and downer.” We treat winter as an aquaintence or co-worker we don’t really want to spend time with but will be forced to, repeatedly, year after year.

I love Winter also. She reminds us to slow down, harvest and take stock of life. The chill forces us to hold closer the ones we love. It’s a special time of gestation and hibernation. I’m pretty sure the other mammals laugh at us between naps. “Those silly human running around. Don’t they know it’s cold and time to sleep more.” I lobby for longer sleep nights and a shorter work week in the winter. Holla if ya hear me!

I love Spring in its stretching gotta get to work behavior. The flowers all around remind us life is beautiful. And everything is getting busy in all the ways you get busy. The natural world is buzzing with sexual energy. Pollination, fruit, fecundity, sex. Our world is a sexy place and Spring is certainly a sexy time. Enjoy the first fruits of the season as their juices drop down your chin.

                 I’m so thankful for the ability to experience such beauty and excitement. I grateful to hear the bird songs, mixed with motorcycle revs, and children’s laughter. 

Life is so abundant. The lack of winter makes me appreciate the abundance and vibrancy of spring. 

May all your days be filled with abundance, joy, and wonder.

With love,


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Aquaponics at Healcrest Urban Farm!


noun: aquaponics, a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.

Like so many other projects and businesses, Healcrest Urban Farm has enjoyed growth opportunities through the connection and collaboration with others. From bees to mulch and more Healcrest ‘s expansion has been supported and sometimes catalyzed by outside organizations.
Seed-Healcrest Team
The most recent expansion is brought on through a collaboration between Seed Aquaponics LLC. An organization whose mission is to build aquaponics systems worldwide while creating collaborative opportunities between students and community leaders to implement sustainable, social and economic development solutions.
Last October, aIMG_0433(1)utumn 2014, Maria and Dana began conversations with Colleen Beck of Seed Aquaponics. In need of an additional test site for an aquaponics system, Colleen looked to Healcrest Urban Farm and the high tunnel greenhouse as a possible space. After some conversations about concepts Colleen and her crew of volunteers and interns set to work. In cold Western PA winter the crew broke ground in early December and labored throughout the winter.

Now with spring right around the corner and the cold winter seems to have passed, we are ready to fill the tank! Last Saturday, March 14, the team assembled for some of the final stages in the building process and happily filled the tank. This water tank will soon to be home to tilapia and perch.

Some of the advantages of an aquaponics system, and some that the ladies or Healcrest are hoping will lean in their favor, are the creation of rich nutrients for plant to thrive as well as a more gentle and maintained environment from that of outdoor growing. The relationship between pants and fish create a lovely habitat for plant to live an grow.
Used widely in Healcrest products, Dana and Maria cultivate chamomile and red clover flowers which struggle in the Pittsburgh climate. With this indoor aquaponics system the ladies are hoping to achieve greater yields from some of those more delicate plants.
Only a few final steps to go and the system will be complete. Colleen and the Seed crew have done their jobs of building and Dana and Maria will take over in their job of stewardship. Another collaborative relationship cultivating amazing experiences and growing beneficial structures.

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We’re Headed to the Regatta at Lake Arthur this Weekend!

We have a very busy weekend ahead and we are excited to see all of you at one or more of our five events!

Maria, Savi, Justice, and Suzy along are traveling North for the Annual Regatta at Lake Arthur. We were invited to join this event as a first time vendor in their Natural Vendor’s Village and we are excited to try a new market in a beautiful setting! Read More Here.


Friday night Dana will be enjoying herself as usual and serving TeaPops and Tea at the First Friday Garfield Night Market. Always a great time full of delicious food, local arts, and good company as always with your friendly local neighborhood vendors.

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On Saturday visit Meg in the Strip District at another exciting new market, Farmers at the Firehouse. We love our weekly farmers markets, where our resident farmers get to talk with patrons, and where we bring out some of our other products and service. Keep an eye out for bouquets, herb bundles, apothecary items, classes at the farm, and sign ups for our Fall/Winter herbal CSA!

130166945824.131.255.120Also on Saturday you can find Michelle holding it down at the Bloomfield Saturday Farmers Market. Stroll along the market this week and enjoy live music with BeLove, food and wellness demos, and always delicious food. Come to the Healcrest PopUp for Hot & Iced Tea, TeaPops, and check out Cutting Root Apothecary products. Talk to Michelle about all the wonderful benefits of herbal wellness support.




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Healcrest is on Hatch!

Dear Fans of Healcrest Urban Farm!

This year has been an amazing year for local, healthy food and urban farming! Maybe you have seen the buzz on our TeaPops in Pittsburgh Magazine here & here or seen us out in the Pittsburgh region and tried one of our sophisticated artisanal TeaPops at these amazing spaces! As you may know, the TeaPops have led us into a fast-paced start-up phase as a local, natural food producer and social enterprise. This also means we must grow with the demand of our buzz and this is what we are doing! In March this year we successfully funded a KivaZip crowd-sourced loan in 2 days flat! Our supporters are amazing. As we continue to raise startup money to expand and speed-up our TeaPop and boxed tea production – we ask you, our friends, colleagues and family to join us as contributors!
The money we raise will help get us into our own commercial kitchen space and increase productivity through high-tech ice pop equipment purchases. With startup support through Idea Foundry, our growth is being supported, tracked and led by an experienced team!
If you did not get a chance to contribute to us through Kiva, now is your chance to focus your contribution to Healcrest through a Pittsburgh-based crowd-sourced platform called Hatch! What is great about Hatch is that it supports amazing local businesses like us and it functions similar to Kickstarter, where you get swag for your contribution!
Our campaign just opened today, and we are inviting friends and family to join us now as a private, even anonymous, contributor to Healcrest Urban Farm! You can contribute funds – as little as $5 – and you get in return some serious Healcrest Urban Farm swag, including a TeaPop punch card, dry-ice TeaPop shipments and a Healcrest Urban Farm TShirt depending the level of giving!
Here is the link to contribute now @ Hatch–2
Thank You so Much for Your Continued Support!

The Team of Healcrest Urban Farm!

Maria Graziani, CEO/Founder
Dana Launius, Markets and Marketing/Partner
Meg Graham, Farm Manager/Partner
Michelle Soto, Farm Co-Manager and Resident Herbalist/Partner
Suzanne South, Community Relations/Partner

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We’ll Be Joining Farmers @ the Firehouse this Saturday!

The ladies of Healcrest are excited to bring you delicious Summer refreshment at a new market this weekend! We are so fortunate and grateful to have wonderful new market opportunities.

Visit Maria at Farmers @ the Firehouse for Iced Tea, TeaPops, Loose Tea, and other amazing herbal edibles. Our flavors this week are Blueberry Lemon Balm, Roasted Peach Basil, Fresh Apple Mint, and Cucumber Surprise.

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We are excited to see you this Saturday in the Strip at “Pittsburgh’s first & largest mostly organic or Certified Naturally grown farmers’ market.” Read more about Farmers @ the Firehouse.

Voted Best Farmers’ Market in Pittsburgh, Edible Allegheny 2010; 100 Best Things About Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Magazine; Best Farmers’ Market, City Paper Staff Picks.

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This weekend we celebrate Spring; honor those who’ve come before us who make it possible to enjoy these times; and spend some time with loved ones!

We closed our work week Saturday morning with the last deliveries of TeaPops and Tisane to our market retailers and we’re all off in different directions to enjoy a 3 day weekend!

Maria and her son Savitur are spending the weekend relaxing, cooking, and visiting with family at the annual reunion in Ohio.

Suzy and her son Justice are enjoying a lovely weather weekend camping with friends and extended family in beautiful Western Pennsylvania.

Dana is visiting gorgeous Colorado to spend long overdue time with her Western family for her grandfather’s 80th birthday.

This past week the farm was graced and nurtured by a visit from the Soto family. Michelle had her parents and aunt working hard days building new gardens and tending to current ones. Now Michelle is off to Vermont continuing her studies in herbalism.

Meg remains in Pittsburgh to tend gardens, labor hard as a workhorse, enjoy food with friends, and hopefully bask in the amazing weather of the weekend.

Wishing you all a joyous weekend however you spend it. May it be FULL of sunshine filled laughs, delicious food, nourishing conversation, invigorating experiences, and
welcomed seasonal changes!


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