Visit Vanuatu Our Journey to Kava | Botanic Tonics


Sourcing the Best Ingredients

Sourcing our ingredients is no simple task. Our team traveled to Vanuatu, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, to learn about kava and the traditional beverage made from the kava plant's root. Kava has been a vital part of Vanuatu's culture for centuries, and it's used in a variety of settings, from formal ceremonies to informal gatherings among friends. Our team was fascinated by the labor-intensive process of cultivating and harvesting kava.

Harvesting the Crop

2022 was the first time the team visited this area, and together, we joined rural farmers in harvesting the best kava for feel free and documented the process. The trip was well worth the effort, even after the three day trek through the jungle, particularly because that year's kava crop was exceptional. After settling in, we met with locals to learn about harvesting techniques, a crucial step in bringing feel free to life. Unlike many other plants, kava can only be grown through cloning. This means that the farmer selects a suitable stalk, cuts it off at a suitable point between nodes, plants it carefully in the correct kind of soil, ensures it receives the appropriate amount of sunlight and water, and eventually, the cutting grows, with the single stalk becoming a whole new plant with its bundle of kava roots. On the trip to Vanuatu, we learned that it takes generations of knowledge to cultivate and harvest the plants.

 

kava crop

Appreciating Culture & Tradition

But no journey to a distant island nation to learn about kava's rich history is complete without a few visits to a local nakamal. The term originates from Oceanic languages and refers to a gathering place for communal ceremonies and, of course, to drink kava. We shared stories of connecting with locals, sipping kava, and soaking up the community vibes that stretch back across centuries of island history.

kava ceremony

As we concluded our trip, eager to share our kava knowledge with the world, we honored its roots through connection and community. Our experiences taught us to value our own traditions and communities, which are critical in fostering genuine relationships with the world around us, and we're confident that's exactly what feel free, our non-alcoholic kava drink, helps you do - cultivate authentic connections. For more detailed information on our trip watch our YouTube video below. 

About The Author

Erin Berthold Botanic Tonic

Erin Berthold, PhD

Erin Berthold is the R&D Director at Botanic Tonics. She holds her PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Florida. There she studied the interaction potential between mitragynine and cannabidiol, two compounds from complex natural products. She is passionate about developing creative and alternative options for individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

Erin earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011. Prior to going back to obtain her PhD, she worked in manufacturing, quality control, engineering, and quality assurance roles across regulated industry at pharmaceutical, medical device, and dietary supplement companies.