On Thursday, Nutrilite invited about 30 Fitbloggin’ attendees to tour their Trout Lake farm. The farm is located in southwestern Washington, about 30 minutes north of Hood River, Oregon. On the way to the farm, the group stopped at Multnomah Falls.
After a 30 minute or so stretch and walk break, it was on to the farm. At 700 acres, Trout Lake Farm is the largest organic herb in the United States, and one of four owned and operated by Nutrilite. The farm is in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, in a 7 square mile valley. All the farms in the valley are organic, which means there is no chance of contamination for the farm. Trout Lake Farm receives glacial silt via the White Salmon River, which provides all the irrigation for the farm and a high mineral content for excellent growing conditions. On the tour, Fitbloggers got a chance to see lemon balm, skullcap, and echinacea growing in the fields.
The fields are plowed, planted, weeded, and harvested with GPS-enabled tractors. Using GPS allows the farm to be more efficient and accurate with both space and time. Before making the switch to GPS, cultivating the soil was occurring at a 1mph pace. After the switch it’s happening between 3.5-4 mph. Fields are weeded by crews of workers. Because there are no pesticides used, the farm uses nature to fight nature (e.g.: lady bugs are introduced to target aphids). All herbs are harvested at the peak of their phytonutrient levels to ensure the most nutrient dense end products. After harvest the herbs are dried on site in large barns. The herbs are hand loaded and laid out on a perforated floor situated above propane heaters. 4000-6000 lbs of herbs are dried at a time, and each load is dried in less than 24 hours, some being finished in as few as 12 hours.
After touring the farm, Fitbloggers headed inside for refreshments and a short presentation on the history and philosophy of the company. Nutrilite was founded by a man named Carl Rehnborg, who spent time in China in the 1920s. While there, he made the observation that the people living in rural conditions were eating closer to the earth and seemed to be generally healthier than their urban compatriots. Rehnborg began to brainstorm ways to create a business around getting those healthy fruits and vegetables to the people lacking them in their diets. After returning to the United States, the first product was made available in 1934. It was the first known multivitamin/multinutrient supplement on the market. Today the company is headed by Carl’s son, Dr. Sam Rehnborg.
Fitbloggers learned that Nutrilite does not promote their products as fruit and vegetable replacements. They are supplements, intended as preventative, not curative. Products are designed with a vitamin and mineral base, and then a variety of phytonutrients are added for optimal effects. The company recommends “eating the rainbow” and has a variety of products available based on that rainbow. In addition to the supplements, Nutrilite provides weight loss management, sports nutrition, and a line of energy products.