Wild craft


July 7, 2023

On a clear April day, Miho Sasaki and I meandered around Mirukashi to see what wild plants we could find to brew into a hyper-local blend of tea. It was a highly anticipated excursion, three years in the waiting. We had started chatting on Instagram in the early months of 2020 and had only just broached the idea of meeting up when Covid reached Kyushu and people stopped seeing other people.

Based in Itoshima, not so very far from Mirukashi, Miho is a an herbalist and medicinal tea artisan. Her teas are designed primarily around wildcrafted yomogi – mugwort – either in pure form or blended with other medicinal plants. Mugwort is full of healthful properties and has been used for centuries around the world, for ceremonial purposes by Native Americans, for medicinal purposes in China, and for edible purposes in Japan. New growth appears in March and with it yomogi-mochi, a green colored wagashi made of mugwort that each and every salon guest this past spring came to know and love. Mugwort is native to Japan and so common in our area that, as I learned from my father-in-law recently, yomogi mochi was once called futsu mochi, futsu being the word for ordinary or usual.

Several weeks after our Mirukashi ramble I went to Itoshima to visit Miho. Her atelier looks like a floral pharmacy, jars of tinctures and dried herbs line the shelves. Glass teapots stand at the ready to brew up either her Suu house blends or a tea customized to a guest’s tastes and condition. We knelt at a long, low table as she showed me the five wild herbs and leaves she had chosen from our foraging expedition that she thought were good candidates, now dried and ready to infuse. She plucked small bits of each and added them to a teapot, relying on intuition and experience more than measure. When the tea was ready, she poured the amber elixir into small cups and we took in the sweet, earthy aroma. I took a sip. It was, as Miho’s teas are always are, soul-stirring, wild but balanced, radiant and reassuring. She adjusted the ratios for a second brew and we sipped again, noting the flavors shift as the correlation of herbs changed.

Miho is, like her teas, soulful and inspiring. She is a true ambassadress for the medicinal potential of plants, a world I find as captivating as it is essential and I hope to learn much more from her in the coming years. So I’m thrilled that she will join the Spring Bounty salon session next April to lead a masterclass on wildcrafted tea. Much of the salon activities exist in dialogue with the surrounding landscape with the intent to create delicious meals and I’m excited for Miho to bring her expertise to Mirukashi and introduce guests to another powerful element of the landscape. April is a season when the local flora is young, potent, and plentiful. With her as our guide, we’ll come to better understand the power of wild plants to nourish and heal the body in a most culturally significant way, through brewing and drinking tea. Come join us. We’d love to share a cup with you.


Join an intimate gathering of extraordinary guests and together we'll explore the flavors of the season in the context of one of the world’s greatest culinary traditions. I can’t wait to welcome you.

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