She has been making soaps, lotions, creams and incense since 1995.

Spring has arrived To Foxhollow Herb Farm in Hollister, and the fields of organic lavender, chamomile, white sage, rosemary and horehound are reaching their peak. Owner Jackie Mendizabal will choose the best of this premium to make her soaps, lotions, creams, incense and all of her other products.

Foxhollow began in 1995, when Mendizabal and her husband Rey moved from Morgan Hill to a five-acre property in Hollister. The name of the farm comes from the problems they encountered when they first tried raising chickens.

“We noticed that they were slowly disappearing,” Mendizabal said. “As we looked around, trying to figure out where they were going, we found a few dwarf fox dens. And we took the name from it.

His father, Robert Jimenez, who worked as a migrant farm worker in his youth, sparked his interest in plants by helping him plant his first vegetable garden.

“I remember growing up that he had the most beautiful gardens,” she said. “So I have always had a natural affinity for plants, from a young age. As I got older I wanted to find out what plants do for healing purposes and started to study how they can improve health.

The move to Hollister allowed Mendizabal to engage in gardening, ultimately tending to two acres of lavender. And that left her with a lot of herbs that she could start selling.

“I was working in the health education department at Good Samaritan Hospital and I also started selling my herbs at farmers’ markets,” she said. “One day my husband said to me, ‘You really don’t seem to have time for both jobs, so you should probably choose one or the other.’ I chose the farmers markets. I was a little scared at first, but it all grew from there.

Mendizabal does all the production work herself, cutting and drying the herbs, then infusing them in olive oil, grapeseed oil, witch hazel or spring water, depending on what she plans to do. After draining them, she mixes them with melted beeswax and other natural ingredients.

“Before, I had a few employees,” she says. “My husband, who is retired, helps with the gardening and tractor work, and I had high school girls who helped me when I made a lot of private label products. But as they left for college, I was content to cut their expenses rather than replace them. I slowed down a bit as I got older, but I like to do it. This allows me to continue.

The olive oil she uses comes from Paicines Oils as a base for her healing balm, body butter, lip balm and soap.

“When they started the business over 20 years ago, the owners met Jackie,” said Shelley Hartman, Sales Director, Oils of Paicines. “They agreed to offer part of his body care line in our store. After a while, Jackie started using our olive oil in some of her products. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities of olive oil are a perfect match for what it does.

The relationship between Oils of Paicines and Mendizabal has turned into an excellent partnership.

Although Mendizabal has worked with some of the same plant species for years, she is always open to new things to try.

“I’m researching new herbs all the time, growing them from seeds to learn more about them,” she said. “I love my plants. Touch them, work with them, learn about them, even talk to them. I know it sounds silly, but it’s true.

Her best places over the years have been farmers’ markets, and she hopes to start selling again soon. But during the shutdown, her online activity kept her going.

“It was difficult because, due to COVID, no one could taste anything,” she said. “But my customers are so loyal, a lot of them were happy to buy from me online. It got me thinking for a moment, “maybe I should stick to selling this way.” “

Shirie Eshel has been one of those loyal customers since she discovered Foxhollow products at her local farmer’s market in Mountain View eight years ago.

“Her products are very amazing,” she said. “I use all creams, massage oils, essential oils. I really recommend the Deep Moisturizing Face Cream, and they have a great Chamomile Rose Face Serum. Their hand therapy cream is also wonderful. There are several kinds and I like to change them. Everything is sourced and organic which makes me more confident to put it on my skin.

Mendizabal spoke of a satisfied customer refueling her produce before heading to Africa. The client sent Mendizabal photographs of his creams and lotions used by the tribal women there.

“There is a lot of hard work in what I do,” Mendizabal said. “But I’m happy to be with the products from start to finish and knowing that people trust them. The thought that someone will open a present on Christmas Day, and it will be something I did, gives me a real sense of accomplishment.

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