In Her Boots

Jane Hawley Stevens: Four Elements Organic Herbals

By Lisa Kivirist | Photos By Four Elements Organic Herbals 0

If ever there was a farmer who epitomizes what she grows, it’s Jane Hawley Stevens. When you stand in her presence, you feel all that calm, centering, healthy, inspiring herbal energy. A dedicated organic herb grower for more than 20 years, Jane blends a passion for herbs with savvy farming and business skills that together build her successful enterprise, Four Elements Organic Herbals, outside North Freedom, Wisconsin.

Today, in partnership with her husband, David Stevens, Jane raises a diverse range of species carefully harvested from the 130-acre farm, which then go into more than 200 different herbal wellness products ranging from teas to tinctures to toners. Four Elements products are available in health food stores and co-ops throughout the state as well as online.

Come meet Jane and experience Four Elements for the day at a workshop for women farmers on Friday, July 25. This workshop is part of the “In Her Boots: Sustainable Agriculture for Women, By Women” series facilitated by the Rural Women’s Project, a venture of the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). Jane will be leading a tour of her educational Chakra Garden, where the herbs are placed according to the body systems they support. From there we will explore the extensive production field were Jane will point out the culture of many medicinal herbs used in her product line as well as discuss aspects of her business, including a tour of the new office and manufacturing facility in North Freedom, about 7 miles north. Click here for more information on this In Her Boots workshop.

Read on for to learn more about Jane, including one of her favorite herbal recipes:

Favorite herb:

Lemon balm. We produced 100 pounds of dried lemon balm last year, which equals 400 pounds fresh.

Why Wisconsin?:

I lived everywhere from Florida to Arizona to Texas. I cried every time it snowed when I was in Texas because it reminded me of how much I missed the four seasons. The Midwest truly resonates with me and I love the beauty of the four seasons. My roots and heart are here. My maternal grandparents were some of the original Bohemian settlers in the Shawano, Wisconsin area back in the late-1800s.

Favorite movie:


How does your day start?:

I get up at 4:00 a.m. for what I call my ‘dream hour’ of thinking, visioning and centering. It’s a bonus perk of menopause: waking up early. After that, I’ll get the coffee going. No herbal tea in the morning!

Favorite food you grow:

I’m a cabbage girl. I love it in stir-fry with some caraway seeds and onion.

Favorite food you don’t grow:


Celebrity crush:

George Harrison

Perk of being a female farmer:

Women intuitively connect with the earth. It’s a natural, spiritual calling for us to get our hands in the soil.

Favorite website for fun:

Wordtwist, kind of like Boggle.

What’s your dream for the farm?:

To create healing opportunities for people.

When do you turn the TV on?:

For only one thing: Packers games!


I’ve learned so much from other herbalists such as Rosemary Gladstar, David Hoffman and Robin DiPasquale.

Best advice:

Put half of all your money you get in the bank for college. I was able to fully pay for the first year at UW-Madison this way.

One thing you’d take to a deserted island:

Can I have two things? My husband, David, and lemon balm tea, of course!

Don't miss Jane's recipe for Fresh is Best Cole Slaw!

Lisa Kivirist is a farmer, author, agriculture advocate, innkeeper, parent and zucchini enthusiast. Lisa thrives on diversity and is rooted on her family’s Wisconsin farm and B&B outside Monroe, called Inn Serendipity, completely powered by the wind and sun. Co-author of Farmstead Chef, Rural Renaissance and Ecopreneuring with her husband, John Ivanko, Lisa writes for publications ranging from Urban Farm to Hobby Farms and leads the MOSES Rural Women’s Project. She’s currently working on a new book, Homemade for Sale, a start-up guide for launching a food based business from your home.

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