Bend, Ore., August 3, 2021 – Located in Culver, Oregon, Mueggenburg Farms was established as the North American branch of the Mueggenburg Group, with the purpose of importing and distributing the vast assortment of European herbs and botanical ingredients produced overseas by the Mueggenburg members. With increased customer demand for domestic production and products, Mueggenburg Farms has become a staple in the North American market with in-house processing, warehousing and both direct domestic and international sourcing.
We chatted with Nils Mueggenburg to learn more about the Central Oregon operations.
EDCO: Tell us more about Mueggenburg Farms.
Nils: Mueggenburg Farms is a family-owned and operated supplier and manufacturer of dried botanical and herbal ingredients in Central Oregon that started in 2015. Our mission is to provide high-quality organic and conventional botanicals for the tea, spice, nutraceutical, and spirits industries. With 10 employees, we annually process and distribute over 750,000 pounds of herbs and spices such as echinacea, slippery elm bark, valerian, turmeric, peppermint, pau d’arco, and juniper berries. These herbs and spices can be anything from roots, barks, leaves, berries, flowers, to gums. We regularly import from Europe, Asia, and South America, while also arranging wild-crafting operations in the Cascades and through our partner companies in Appalachia.
EDCO: Tell us about your transition from farming to manufacturing and why?
Nils: When Mueggenburg Farms was established in 2015, the main operations were farming and warehousing. Over the years, increased demand for specialized cuts and powders pushed us to transition our facility from a farming operation to a modern food-grade manufacturing facility. This transition required some significant investment in both infrastructure and staff training to meet and exceed regulatory, certification body and customer expectations. The improvements and renovations also allow us to scale our volumes without risking cross-contamination during the milling or cutting processes. We’re also working on doing an in-house pasteurization process, which will enable us to reduce microbiological contamination, ready-to-eat food-grade products, all right here on our farm. There were a lot of bumps in the road, but we are really proud of what we’ve accomplished together and what we will continue to accomplish in the future.
With that said, we haven’t given up on farming completely! We just started a cultivation project of goldenseal root here in Central Oregon. Goldenseal is an endangered plant that requires a special permit to export, which can only be obtained through proof of cultivation. This is a very exciting project for us as we continue to push for sustainable harvesting and production practices to ensure supply for the future.
EDCO: Who is your ideal customer?
Nils: Our customers range from small specialty spice shops to multinational food and dietary supplement manufacturers. Whether you are needing 25 pounds or a full container load, we can help. We can ship almost anywhere in the world, either by full container, by the pallet or through a regular ground carrier like UPS or FedEx. Being a small business, we aim to be flexible as we understand each of our clients has their own unique needs.
EDCO: Why operate a business in Central Oregon?
NIls: Central Oregon is great for so many reasons! By nature, it is a very business-friendly environment, with great supporting associations like EDCO that go above and beyond to help and connect CO businesses. We feel this greatly affects the overall business culture in Central Oregon, where other private businesses in the area we’ve worked with have been really kind to us and look to help where they can beyond the regular scope of our transaction. Also, the strong agriculture community also provides a great environment for farming and manufacturing spices, while the dry climate allows for ideal warehousing conditions of dried herbs. Being close to the ports in Portland, Seattle, and Oakland allow for cost-effective transport when importing and exporting. And, of course, Central Oregon is just a great place to live.
EDCO: What makes Mueggenburg Farms unique?
NIls: We are a 4th generation family-owned and operated business with our roots in Northern Germany. We offer over 400 different botanicals, herbs, and spices, and even if we don’t have the material available in-stock, there is a good chance we can find it. Our vast network of growers around the world, together with over 250,000 sq ft of warehousing space between our US and German facilities allow for a year-round supply of all kinds of herbs and spices. Monthly imports from Europe and Asia also allow for products to be available in a timely fashion at our facility in Culver. We’ve also recently started exploring the realm of contract packaging – packaging finished stand-up pouches with consumer-ready herbs, spice and loose-leaf teas.
EDCO: Any recent news you’d like us to share?
Nils: We just launched a new website. Check it out! www.mueggenburgfarms.com