Erin Wilkins, Asian-American owner of Herb Folk, in her airy Petaluma shop

Meet Sonoma County Maker, Erin Wilkins of Petaluma Shop Herb Folk

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Sonoma County is a destination full of incredible makers and artisans with unique backgrounds and expertise. This couldn't be truer than with Sonoma County's wellness experiences and wellness boutiques. For evidence of this, we needn't look any further than Erin Wilkins, a Sonoma County  herbalist and owner of Herb Folk in downtown Petaluma. Erin Wilkins' Japanese-American family has lived in Sonoma County for almost five generations, except for the generation-and-a-half when they were displaced to internment camps during World War II. She embraces this complex history, both in her identity as an Asian-American, and in her work as the herbalist and owner of Herb Folk.

One set of Erin's grandparents grew up in Santa Rosa as laborers on different Sonoma County truck farms, which grew vegetables on a large scale intended for grocery markets. Generations later, Wilkins is now raising another generation of her family in Sonoma County, a son and daughter, who now go to the area school their great-grandfather once attended. 

A practicing  acupuncturist for a decade before finding her life's work in herbalism, Erin Wilkins now honors her grandparents' labor, as well as Sonoma County's abundance of produce and herbs, through a distinctly Japanese lens. "Here at Herb Folk, I like to carry through the farm-to-table concept of yakuzen, which translates to 'medicine meal,'" says Wilkins. "So often, herbalism really just goes back to how to incorporate more herbs and medicinals into everyday meals." 

Herb Folk sells a wide array of herbal teas, broth blends, elixirs, powders, and mineral soaks, hosts educational workshops and events, and can also prepare custom herbal formulas. Because Wilkins feels that Asian culture is often exoticized, especially in the wellness space, she focuses on selling responsibly sourced products in an honest, straightforward spirit of helping others. "I really want Herb Folk to reflect a true, authentic Asian-American experience," Wilkins says, "which I find is down-to-Earth.

Colorful herbs in glass jars on an outdoor table, at a farm event put on by Herb Folk in Petaluma

"There's such a rich history of Asian-American and Asian culture here in Sonoma County, and it's something I don't think has really been shared or talked about enough," she goes on to say. "It's been incredible to be a part of this community, working together with the next generation of Asian-American business owners and creatives in the area to really amplify our voices and share our histories." Visit herbfolkshop.com for their latest hours, upcoming workshops and special events. 

Erin is one of the many wellness practitioners in Sonoma County. Here in Sonoma County we like to think we have our unique brand of wellness, where travelers can restore their mind, body and soul at more than 40 spas and wellness centers, from luxurious resort spas to unique day spas. Or, simply grab your yoga mat and enjoy a few moments of zen amidst towering redwoods or while overlooking the Pacific.

Discover more Sonoma County maker stories at sonomacounty.com/cultivated.