Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | February 2007
|New Store in Bucerias Does it All Naturally|
Harold Sokolove & Sue Fornoff - PVNN
Look into the small window at the shop at #14 Av. Javier Mina (between L. Cardenas and Madero) in Bucerias and you’ll see food items, soaps and medicinal products like in so many stores around town.
But there’s something different about things at the Herbs International store. First of all, you can’t go inside this establishment. The window you just looked through is the “service window,” where products are ordered and delivered to customers who walk up to the building.
Secondly, all of the products sold, from culinary blends (spices and seasonings) to soap and natural sunscreen protection are made without additives or preservatives from all-natural ingredients.
Allan Johnson, his wife Nora and now their son Daniel opened their Herbs International store about 3 weeks ago. While the name sounds like a franchise, this is a real family operation.
Just about everything sold there is produced in the small kitchen behind the roughly ten by ten foot sales area that you see through the service window. If Allan and family don’t make it, then it comes from other popular sources for natural products. The 100% pure hand-milled cucumber-melon glycerin herbal soap, for example, comes from Saegertown, PA in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Longtime Bucerias residents might remember Johnson’s store from several years ago. He closed it to concentrate on the second floor construction of his family’s residence.
The Johnsons live in Bucerias six months of the year and have been making their yearly trip back to the States for 16 years. Herbs International, therefore, is only open between November and April.
If you’ve been looking for shade grown organic coffee, they have it, $65 pesos per half-kilo, ground to order or whole bean.
Johnson is particularly proud of the pickles at Herbs International. “This is a closely held family secret... my grandma’s recipe for bread and butter pickles,” he says. Johnson put his own name on Herbs International’s seasoned sea salt "Sal Cosmico" and seasoned pepper "Pimienta Cosmica." (His nickname is Cosmo.)
The Johnsons also make natural peanut butter, and nut butters from almonds and sunflowers. “It’s hand roasted and ground,” says Nora. “No additives or preservatives. We add a little pure organic honey from the mountains around Tepic.”
In the non-food department, you’ll find insect repellent made from witch hazel with essential oils. There’s also all-natural sunscreen lip balm. Johnson says he’ll “buy, sell or trade for any natural product. Bring me roots, berries, plants or oils and we’ll see what we can do.”
Herbs International is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 2 pm and 4 to 7 pm. Telephone (329) 298-1122. Email: email@example.com.