What: Oregon’s Wild Harvest Inc.

What it does: Manufactures herbal supplements

Pictured: Co-founder Randy Buresh

Where: 1601 NE Hemlock Ave., Redmond

Employees: 53 (varies by season)

Phone: 541-548-9400

Website: oregonswildharvest.com

As a surgical technician, Randy Buresh saw firsthand the problems with American medicine, which he said included overly relying on surgery and pharmaceuticals. In 1994, he and his wife, Pam, founded Oregon’s Wild Harvest to find another way.

“We as a society have actually lost our connection with plants,” Buresh said Friday.

Oregon’s Wild Harvest produces herbal supplements in liquid and capsule form using approximately 120 roots and herbs used in Eastern and ancient European remedies.

Buresh initially began with a product line of 12 combinations of herbs. Today, more than 20 years after it was founded, the Redmond-based company sells herbs online and in more than 14,000 stores nationally, ranging from small, local health-food stores to large grocers like Fred Meyer. Between capsules, liquid herbal extracts and bulk herbs, the company has more than 140 products designed to help with ailments ranging from stress to inflammation, said Amy Brown, marketing director for Oregon’s Wild Harvest.

Buresh added that the company was established in Sandy, but moved to a 46,000-square-foot facility in Redmond in 2014. The company also maintains two farms in Central Oregon and one in Sheridan, to grow as many crops as possible in facilities operated by the company.

“It’s our goal to become vertically integrated, as much as possible, from the seed to the bottle,” Buresh said.

He added that around 40 percent of the herbs used for capsules, and 90 percent of the herbs used for the liquid extracts, are grown on the company’s farms. The rest, primarily tropical or high-elevation herbs, are purchased from sustainable growers all over the world.

After they’re harvested, the herbs are brought into the facility and dried before being tested. Buresh said Oregon’s Wild Harvest tests 100 percent of the herbs that come through its facility for contaminants ranging from E. coli to yeast and mold.

“A lot of people who take these products are already not very healthy. They’re ill,” Buresh said. “We don’t ever want to compromise (quality) for a customer or a patient.”

Matthew Creswell, quality assurance director for the company, said testing can take up to a week for any given batch of herbs. From there, the herbs are processed for extracts or milled and placed in tapioca-based capsules. Buresh said the company can produce up to 10,000 capsules per day.

The family-run company is still growing. Buresh said Oregon’s Wild Harvest is hiring for a variety of positions and is finishing work on one of several greenhouses that will help extend the farming season.

— Reporter: 541-617-7818, shamway@bendbulletin.com

Q: What would you say to people who are skeptical about natural remedies?

A: Randy Buresh: I truly believe that these plants were put on this earth for us to use. Once you try (an herb), and you take it for a while, and then you stop taking it, you realize what it was doing. It’s very subtle.

Q: Where do you see the company in five years?

A: I really see us just continuing the trend of what we’re doing. We’re seeing more and more people looking toward organic, period. I think the future for us is unlimited.