Winter is Coming – Brace Yourselves with Fire Cider


Brrrr! Even on the mild Northern California coast, the chill of autumn is in the air. The rain has begun (thank goodness!) and the holidays are upon us. With so much happening, no one has time to get sick. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to support your immune system as the weather shifts and the sun wanes. My favorite is by making FIRE CIDER!

I was introduced to this magical herbal concoction when I lived on the Mendocino Coast, from my beloved fermented foods swap group, Coastal Culture and Abundance, though it is not actually a ferment, it’s an infusion in vinegar. Fire Cider is a traditional herbal remedy that has been made and shared by many herbalists for decades to help boost the immune system, fight inflammation and infection, and warm the body from the inside. Recently, a company tried to trademark the name Fire Cider, effectively attempting to “own” a generic herbal remedy and prevent others from using this generic name for their versions of it, even though it was being made and shared by herbalists long before their attempt to lay claim to it. Herbalists responded by boycotting the company, Shire City Herbals, and continuing to spread information about it so that people could make fire cider themselves and keep this lovely tradition alive!

From, a group of herbalists working together with herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who coined the phrase “fire cider” and started sharing the recipe over 25 years ago,  to protect the name Fire Cider from trademarks. They are committed to providing information and materials for the herbal community so that together, we can fight to keep traditional remedies free and available to everyone:

The remedy is used to help warm up the body, and generally acts a stimulant and antimicrobial used during cold and flu season.  Recently, a large company decided to trademark the name and is forcing small businesses who have made and sold it to change their product names.  Some of the companies and individuals in question have made and sold this remedy for many years longer than the company that trademarked it has even existed.  Many people feel this is a dangerous precedent to anyone who creates and shares recipes anywhere on the web or in books and this led to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office asking that the mark be deemed generic.  Until the company agrees to freeing Fire Cider from trademark restriction, a boycott of their product has been launched.

Fire Cider

Every fall, our Coastal Culture and Abundance group got together to make fire cider, each bringing some ingredients to share and an empty jar to take our fire cider home in, and we gathered again last week to make new batches for the coming winter.

Making fire cider has become a fun autumn tradition for me, and it’s a great excuse to get together, so I highly recommend making fire cider with friends and sharing the bounty! During Covid I even did a fire cider making Zoom with a few friends. All that chopping and packing jars can get tedious so it’s nice to have company!

You’ll find countless versions of this recipe online, but the basic recipe includes onions, hot peppers, ginger, turmeric, garlic, horseradish, citrus fruit, rosemary, apple cider vinegar, and honey. I like to add a variety of other beneficial ingredients like black peppercorns (to help activate the turmeric), oregano, burdock root, radishes, rose hips if I can find them, any other fresh herbs I have on hand, and plenty of different varieties of citrus and peppers. I usually skip the honey or add it later, after the fire cider has had a chance to infuse.

Fire Cider recipe from

How to Make Your Own Fire Cider

Gather as many of these ingredients as you can, preferably organic. No need to peel anything but be sure everything is clean.

  • ~1/2 cup fresh ginger root (grated or chopped)
  • ~1/2 cup fresh horseradish root (grated or roughly chopped)
  • ~1/4 cup fresh turmeric root, or a couple Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 onions, chopped (I like to use multiple colors)
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic (I just remove the outer layers and separate the cloves, no need to peel them completely)
  • a few hot peppers of various varieties, chopped
  • 2 or more citrus fruits, cut into rounds (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit are all excellent additions)
  • a few sprigs each of fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano, parsley and cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp or so of whole peppercorns
  • ~1/8 cup or so of fresh burdock root
  • A few slices of turnip, radish, or daikon, if desired
  • raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Chop or grate all ingredients into small pieces. Grab a large jar – quart or half gallon size, depending on how many ingredients you have, and fill it up with ingredients. It helps to add a little of each ingredient at a time to create pretty layers in the jar. If you find that you are having to pack ingredients in tightly to fit them, I recommend moving everything into a larger jar or starting a second one, because you’ll want plenty of space for the vinegar.

Once your jar is full of colorful ingredients, fill it with apple cider vinegar. Using a plastic lid or a layer of wax paper under the metal lid to prevent corrosion, cap the jar and let it sit out at room temperature for at least 4 weeks, preferably in a cool, dark place like a cupboard. Turn the jar over or give it a good shake every few days or whenever you remember to, letting all the goodness infuse into the vinegar.

Once it’s sat for at least a month (no harm in letting it infuse longer if you like), strain the liquid into a jar and keep it in the fridge. The solids can be composted or if you’d rather not waste them, I dry them in a food dehydrator for a day or so, then grind them all up in a coffee grinder and use it as a spice blend. If you like, you can add about 1/4 cup raw honey to the liquid to make it a bit more palatable, but I don’t really mind the taste, so I leave it out.

Now that you’ve made this lovely concoction, how do you use it? It can be taken by the spoonful or in a shot glass as a healing tonic whenever you feel a cold coming on, either on its own or mixed into hot water, honey and lemon. You can take it regularly as a preventative measure during the colder months as well. I add some to my homemade salad dressings, and you can also use it as a marinade or add it to any recipes that could benefit from a little kick. Basically, anything you’d use vinegar for, you can use fire cider for, and it will add a bit of spice and all kinds of immune boosting benefits.

Fire Cider is easy and fun to make, and it adds a gorgeous festive touch to your countertops while it steeps. And it’s especially fun to make with friends, so gather your tribe and make a party out of it!

How do you use fire cider? Do you add any special ingredients not listed above? Please share your tips in the comments!

Seeking New Career Adventures

Me at Lucidity Festival 2023

Wow, it’s been a while. So much has happened since my last update – a global pandemic, starting a job at local cannabis dispensary Doobie Nights after being laid off, exploring my newly discovered polyamorous-ness and developing two amazing relationships, becoming an auntie to my sister’s adorable kiddo Nico, adopting two kitties Mochi and Boba, many fun adventures, and riding the waves of the tumultuous cannabis and events industries. Definitely all worth their own blog post(s)!

What has prompted this long overdue update is that I’m in the market for a new job, and/or freelance projects, so it’s time to stop neglecting my own business in favor of working on my clients’ / employer’s. After almost 4 years as Marketing Director at Doobie Nights, the struggling business (by no fault of their own really – California cannabis is rough) is making cuts, and, well, Marketing always seems to be the first to go (which is not usually a wise move, IMHO). My hours have been cut from full time to very very part time and I’m going back to how I began this role, as a contractor working mostly from home. Ok, maybe that last part is a wise move.

I joined the team at Doobie Nights just before they opened the store, while they were finishing building the unique experiential space. I slowly added more responsibilities to my role as a one person Marketing department over the years, adapting to the changing needs of the business and industry. I led brand and marketing strategy as well as all aspects of digital marketing, website and social media management, graphic design, customer retention and communications, PR and media, event planning, partner marketing, and eventually I supported with operations administration, sales, and nurturing vendor relationships as well. I’m really proud of the marketing strategies and systems that I created and refined, the campaigns and connections I built, and everything I contributed to the company that will serve them for years to come. But with increasing competition, high tax bills and a struggling industry, they eventually could not afford a full time Marketing manager and weren’t able to offer me much room for growth.

Doobie Nights printed materials I designed.

So, here I am on the job hunt again and a little uncertain about not only how I’m gonna pay rent next month, but whether it’s time for another industry switch. As I mentioned, the cannabis industry in California has been hard, mostly because it operates in a legal gray area – totally legal locally and in the state, and still a Schedule I illegal substance federally (while that’s up for review at the moment, DEscheduling is definitely what we need, not this REscheduling nonsense).

Which means that cannabis companies are allowed to exist in California, but we are very limited especially when it comes to advertising and banking options, we cannot sell anything outside of the state or ship our products, and we are strictly regulated and over taxed. The worst hurdle we have to deal with is 280-E, a federal tax code regulation that makes it impossible for businesses engaged in anything federally illegal to write off most business expenses (like Marketing or labor costs) like any other business can. Let’s just say the only people making actual money selling legal weed are the regulators collecting the taxes (at the city, state, AND federal levels, I might add).

Luckily I am always up for a challenge, and have actually been involved in this industry in a variety of ways (from medical patient to activist to trimmer to grower to distributor) since the legacy market days. I truly believe in the power of this plant that has transformed my life. It’s a big part of why I left Idaho for California – those greener pastures! So I know this niche pretty well and have worked in the legal industry since 2018. Our clients at The Hybrid Creative were usually in cannabis, and I have learned a ton being a one person Marketing Department at a dispensary in the heart of NorCal’s weed country.

With this niche experience I know I can be a huge asset to any company in the cannabis industry. Most of my professional experience is in this arena, or other smaller niches – events and non-profits – which all align wonderfully with who I am so it that I can do my best work promoting something I actually believe and specialize in. But this has definitely hurt my job prospects. I don’t have a lot of “traditional” or corporate experience – because I dislike mainstream corporate culture and I do not thrive in that environment. Even though my Marketing skills are universal and transferrable, a lot of my specific platform experience is not (cannabis requires its own proprietary software due to all the legal restrictions and need to connect with the METRC track and trace system). I’ve sent SO MANY applications to all kinds of mid to senior level marketing positions across a variety of industries and haven’t heard anything back from any of them, the only responses I’ve gotten from applications have been within the cannabis industry.

Luckily I have worked on projects for a variety of clients in my freelance career over the years – from personal trainers to nutrition coaches to festivals to fertilizer companies to CPG to community organizations, and I’ve picked up a bunch of new skills like project management, data analysis, video editing, social media management, marketing strategy, budgeting and coordinating a variety of teams. I’ve also learned platforms like Hubspot CRM, Google Business Suite, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Analytics, Trello, Alpine IQ, Mailchimp, Asana, SEO, etc. I tend to pick up new tech platforms and skills pretty quickly, since I am what you might call a raging nerd.

I’m keeping my mind open about what’s next, but if I can summon my manifestation powers a bit, let’s imagine my “dream” career… Ideally I would like to be able to buy a small house in Sonoma County at some point soon, which is an extremely tall order with housing prices here, but I’m quite over the constantly increasing rent. So I really need to stack some coin, as they say. I am ideally looking for a remote or hybrid role that’s close to full time and flexible, and/or a few more ongoing freelance projects. But no matter what structure my next role or roles takes, my top priorities are feeling respected, appreciated, and fairly compensated for my work; flexibility and the ability to take my work with me when I travel and work mostly from home; and working for an organization I believe in. I have to believe in the company’s mission and offerings if I’m going to successfully market them, because authenticity is the only way, and that cannot be faked.

While the cannabis industry would be the best fit for my experience, I’m also open to branching out and trying something new. I know my skills, adaptability and quick learning would be a great fit for just about industry. Sonoma County has a lot of wineries, and as a regulated industry I think I’d be a great fit there. Or I’d really love to get back into non-profits and doing something that allows me to support a good cause or an organization that serves the community. My friends used to ask me how many animals I’d saved that day working for PETA (my first job out of college was a web designer there). Not that I could ever give a real numerical answer, but I miss knowing my work has a direct positive impact on society. Getting people high and providing relief is nice too, but addressing climate change is probably more pressing and impactful. Can I do both? I’m definitely a fan of “Yes, And” solutions, so let’s see!

I turned 40 this year. I definitely don’t feel middle aged, or ready for menopause at all, and I hope I don’t quite look my age despite all the gray hair (at least until I dye it some wild color again). My 30s were amazing and so full of healing, adventure, growth, discovery and friendship. I needed that after spending most of my 20s in an abusive relationship. I always was a late bloomer, but in the last decade I definitely have come into my own and I’m very proud of where I am now – mentally, professionally, emotionally and sometimes physically. I have built an amazing life for myself and I have a wonderful community, but the one thing missing is financial security and a career I can pour myself into.

One thing I have discovered about myself over the last few years is that I care WAY less about what people think of me – that’s their business, not mine – and I’m much less afraid to be myself, take up space, be heard, and most of all embrace my WEIRD than I used to be. Life is too short to let anyone else tell you how to be you or how to live, and society is pretty messed up so why should I force myself into its boxes? I wish I would have discovered this superpower back in my 20s and stood up for myself a LOT more, and in some areas I still struggle with advocating for myself (especially professionally). But I think I am finally hearing the feedback of my past employers and clients, as well as coworkers, partners, and anyone I have worked with and realizing and embodying my inner badass. I still believe in humility and putting in the work rather than talking a big talk without backing it up for sure. But this timid hesitancy to toot my own horn needs to end, NOW.

I am a badass. I have done a lot of hard work, contributed to the success of every team I have been a part of, learned a ton and met so many amazing people along the way. Even though I am constantly learning new things and trying to improve my skills, I am experienced and knowledgeable and I know what I’m doing. I am enough. And I am worth investing in.

Can I be a badass for your company? Can I support your team and help you reach your marketing goals? Can I add some creative spark to your marketing or some organization to your administrative systems?

If you’re hiring for mid to senior level marketing, creative, operations, or administration related roles that you think I’d be a good fit for, or have a freelance marketing project you’d like to discuss, hit me up! I’m open and ready for a challenge and some new horizons. Check out some of my past work and my resume, and if any of it resonates, let’s connect. Thanks for reading and sending any leads or projects my way!