There are many ways to talk about and describe community. For Melchemy, several of those are important, and in play at any given time. First and foremost, our community describes the people involved in the meadery and who are directly affected by it. This includes employees who day-in and day-out work to uphold the business’s principles and maintain the craft so important to producing our meads, as well as those living around the meadery, where the facility, business, and process inform and influence their daily lives. Beyond are our regional neighbors and friends. They too are considered in how we run our meadery and to whom we connect.
The land around our meadery hosts bees, ducks, chickens, and a dog as collaborators and co-conspirators. We grow extensive gardens for food, in addition to a variety of flowers, fruits, nuts, and berries from which our bees gather nectar. There are a large variety of pollinators that live near the meadery, from bumble bees to hummingbirds, hornets and wasps to moths, butterflies and bats. Being located on the edge of the Gifford Pinchot Forest and the banks of Panther Creek, we have many visitors: deer and elk, bear and cougar, eagle and owl, pikas, douglas squirrels, ouzels, flickers, voles, grasshoppers, ravens, coyotes, rabbits and many others. The forest is ever abundant, constantly inspiring with its towering cedar, fir, and hemlock, vine maple, huckleberry, salal, oregon grape, ferns, mosses, and lichens—dangerously dry in the summer, wet and lush beyond words in the autumn and winter.
The understanding of how we exist in concert together, as collections of individuals and at the same time as integral parts of greater wholes has been one of our fundamental guiding lights. In honoring this and attempting to put the theory into practice, we are always engaged in a process of discovery, about ourselves and our place within the greater mystery. Our meadery reflects this by how we source and create our ingredients, how we structure our business principles, and how we find a proactive place in the community and world around us. As owners, employees, craftspeople, and community members, we are interested in no less than to have our endeavors contribute to cultural transformation. For us, this transformation includes living simply, holistically, communally and intentionally, with compassion for others and a dedication to learning, teaching, healing, hosting, restoring, de-colonizing, and stewarding. We find purpose in a budding tradition of place, steeped in a craft, grounded in a community greater than ourselves.