A breath of fresh air is literally what brought this couple to Taos.Eden and Keith Colibri escaped the seemingly endless fires on the central coast of California …
A breath of fresh air is literally what brought this couple to Taos. Eden and Keith Colibri escaped the seemingly endless fires on the central coast of California to fulfill a dream of running their own specialty shop. After loading up their valuables into the car, they headed for Northern New Mexico.
When they arrived in Taos, they realized this was where they belonged.
Illuminations Apothecary began in mid-July as a pop-up shop with a bookshelf of herbs and body care products inside the Taos Spice Merchants store. Having grown a little bit every week, the store is now split, a shared space that has cooking herbs and spices on one side and medicinal herbs and body care on the other.
Keith spent two years perfecting the all-natural body care products, which he now produces in the back workshop while Eden focuses on medicinal herbs, teas and other healing products.
"We carry a couple of lines of tinctures, and we source everything very specifically. We specialize in medicinal herbs and sell herbs so that people can make their own," Eden said.
In addition to the alternative medicine needs, the apothecary offers alternative spiritual healing as well. Books on spirituality, candles and smudging sages, and jewelry items made by local artists that contain mineral elements are also available.
Eliza Collins, who opened Taos Spice Merchants nearly a year ago, says the store started when her daughter called her from a spice store and wondered which spices to use on certain foods. Taos Spice Merchants now carries 200 spices and specially made spice mixes as well as custom-mixed balsamic vinegars and specialty olive oils.
Collins says the medicinal herbs complement the spice shop.
"They go hand in hand," Collins says. "It is now a one-stop shopping experience."
"It's a perfect combination," Eden explains. "It's a wonderful complement because it really is based on the concept that food is medicine."
Keith and Eden met in San Francisco; both have retail experience and have always had an interest in native European and Native American folk practices in medicine and spirituality.
"From the moment we got here, we received so much acceptance and support from the community, we were blown away by it," Eden said. "Taos just kept telling us, 'This is where you're meant to be.'"
They offer classes, nearly on a weekly basis, on how to use and cook with the healing herbs. They also offer educational classes with guest speakers on such topics as poisonous plants, mushrooms and first aid using herbs.
"We want to be known as a place for people to hang out, to come together," Eden says. "We really want to be a crossroads for the community, to bring people together."
Janon Johnson, a regular customer, reports that Eden and Keith have helped her in many ways.
"Keith has turned me on to different spice combinations," Johnson said. She says the organic golden milk and spice mixtures, one of the stores top selling items, takes away inflammation and helps her sleep at night.
Some clients speculate that Eden and Keith might have been Egyptian pharmacists in a past life.
"They really have an intuitive command of foods, spices and herbs that are transcendent," Johnson said. "And Taos is the perfect place for this."
Taos Spice Merchants and Illuminations Apothecary are located at 226-B Paseo del Pueblo Norte next to Brodsky Bookshop and across from the historic Fechin Inn. Parking is available behind the store.
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