An Interview with Michael Yocco

By October 26, 2015Interviews
Fay Farm - healing hemp salve

fayfarm

By Thomas Ivory, Jr.

A goat farm can be the perfect place to discover the simplicities of life. For Michael Yocco, it was the place to discover much more.

For over a decade, he and his wife, Stacy, have been herding goats and growing herbs in the Pacific North-West. It is here, at The Fay Farm, the couple began making beauty products. (www.thefayfarm.com)

Natural products like Industrial Hemp have found its way into salves, lotions, and muscle rubs with the intent to “relieve symptoms” of numerous skin and body aliments.

More than just goat milk soap, The Fay Farm also practices organic farming and permaculture techniques.

Michael was able to get away from tending the goats long enough to answer a couple of e-mailed questions.

(NOCO) Farm life is much different than city living. What drew you from the Bay Area in Northern California to Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington?

(Michael Yocco) My wife, Stacy, and I spent a good time of our adult life in California, and we wanted to reinvent ourselves. We wanted a better life, and a better life for our children. We both had grandparents that made livings as farmers, and to both of us, were heroes we both looked up to as children.

When we had an opportunity to downsize our mortgage from California, while up-sizing our quality of life, we jumped at the opportunity to purchase a farm on Whidbey Island outside Seattle, Washington. Our thinking was: Stacy could start up the farm, and since we would not be in need of two incomes, I would continue to work until the farm became sustainable. It took almost six years, but we were able to accomplish that important goal for our family!

(NOCO) The Fay Farm is “dedicated to protecting the balance and harmony with life on the planet.” How do you accomplish your philosophy on your farm?

(MY) First of all, we practice bio-dynamic farming. All of the waste from our animals is composted and used back as soil amendment to grow our herbs. A significant portion of our property sits on a wetland, and the previous owners had kept horses in paddocks in this wetland area. We thought it more important to take the man-made structures out of the wetland and let that area return to its natural state. It has been magnificent to watch this happen.

We raise Nubian dairy goats for their high butterfat to make the richest soap possible. When one of our herd retires, we let them live out their days peacefully on the farm, to honor them for what they’ve given to us. Many farmers discard an asset when it is no longer productive; we take the view that our animals are part of the farm their whole life, and to your point about balance and harmony with life on our planet, nothing could be more resonant than that!

(NOCO) Natural and healing body products are produced on Fay Farm. Why did you begin making beauty products? And why did you start using Industrial Hemp in your products?

(MY) Our daughter Aimee was suffering from eczema and psoriasis. She would come to our bedroom in the middle of the night with her t-shirt blood-soaked from scratching herself in her sleep. It was at that point, just as we were getting ready to move to the Pacific North-West, that my wife decided there had to be something better than topical steroids and immunosuppressants to manage her auto-immune conditions. As difficult as it was to watch our daughter suffer, it was so joyous to observe her response to the salve my wife prepared for her.

Many of our extended family and friends were amazed at the results and asked for a little bit to take care of cracked heels or burns or their own auto immune skin conditions. From there, the circle of people asking for the salve started expanding to people we did not even know, and Stacy thought: “Why don’t we start selling this?” We set up a card table on the side of the road and we had two of our daughters dance with a sign to persuade people to stop at our stand. That was 11 years ago. We now sell our products to over 15,000 customers in 21 countries outside the US and Canada! It has been humbling to read some of the stories of relief we receive from customers.

We started using Industrial Hemp from the start. Because hemp oil is high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, there is no better oil for rejuvenating skin and reducing inflammation. Naturally it became the cornerstone of the products Stacy has created, and the herbs we infuse into our oils is the secret sauce that makes our products best of class in many categories.

(NOCO) Can you please explain what makes your products “natural and healing?”

(MY) We use certified organic herbs, oils and essential oils in our products. As an example, our Healing Hemp Salve contains herbs that are grown on our farm and sourced from organic providers. Our herbs steep for over a month before we incorporate them into the salve, allowing all the beneficial components of those herbs to be gently extracted. I believe that is the number one reason our products are so phenomenal: we take the time to make our products right.

Nature has provided us with many herbs that can aid the healing process. Several generations ago, the matriarch of the family was responsible for researching and administering teas, tinctures, and poultices made with herbs to help any number of maladies. This is a tradition that we’ve continued and embraced.

Single molecule isolates just don’t have the requisite support molecules that our body needs to heal itself. Take for example, aspirin (salicylic acid). This is an isolate derived from willow bark. When willow bark is chewed or decocted, it has an analgesic effect that relieves pain. It also contains enzymes that protect the stomach lining. When the isolate of salicylic acid is used, the person using the aspirin gets the analgesic effect, but because the enzymes from the willow bark are not present to protect the stomach lining, the risk to the stomach lining is increased. Whole plant extracts are the way to go if you want relief.

(NOCO) You have highly recommended testimonies from both patients and doctors. How does Industrial Hemp, in particular, heal a wide range of ailments? And how does CBD beauty products differentiate from other Industrial Hemp beauty products?

(MY) Healing is a strong word, and I encourage you to portray us as a company that “relieves symptoms”. To rephrase, industrial hemp helps to relieve a lot of ailments due to the omega-3 and -6 complexes which reduces inflammation and promotes rejuvenation.

For CBD, there is an activation of our endocannabinoid system which contains CB1 and CB2 receptors. THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannibinol) activates our CB1 receptors, located primarily in our brain and spinal cord. The psychoactive “high” is a result of these receptors getting activated. CB2 receptors are located in the spleen and throughout the body. CBD partially activates CB2 receptors, which are responsible for homeostasis and in limited studies, has shown to relieve inflammation, act as an analgesic, reduce anxiety (anxiolytic), lift mood and increase appetite.

While no large scale efficacy studies have been conducted to confirm these actions, there seems to be a number of people that use these products and have commented on these effects.