49 Voices: Gail and Daniel Jones of Willow

Gail and Daniel Jones of Jonesers Alaskan Valley Nectar. (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

This week we’re hearing from Gail and Daniel Jones from Willow. Gail grew up in Anchorage while Daniel is originally from California. The couple owns and operates Jonesers Alaskan Valley Nectar.

Listen now

GAIL: We make the handmade nectars and teas all from wild-harvested local flowers, berries, herbs and mushrooms. We work with gardeners that grow for us, farms that grow for us. And then we wild-harvest.

DANIEL: Everything that we can pick and can get time off to pick is done by ourselves. We work with local herbalists to create it. Farms, we work with. We used to joke that people that owed us money had to go out and pick. So, little things like that.

GAIL: We started as a tea company, and we needed something to enhance our teas, and that’s where the nectars started. We have over 100 teas. The nectars aren’t quite there yet, but it definitely matches up to every single one of the teas that we do. And they’re all originals.

Fireweed is from the flower blossoms and flower pollen that we harvest within a 200-mile radius. It very high anti-inflammatories, and it is our local flower pollen. We also do the chaga mushroom from the birch tree. It’s the highest antioxidant mushroom in the world. It’s anti-cancerous. It’s building your immune system. We make that in a nectar form, a powder form, a tea form. Different ways to intake natural resources.

DANIEL: If you’ve ever gone to a Wal-Mart or a grocery store, and gotten a jelly or jam off a shelf, and read the ingredients and things that have to keep it preserved, and not knowing if it’s been there three or four years. And you have a product that you’ve created from the ground up, here in the Valley, that you’re proud of, nothing on the table here is older than a month old. That says something, that says something and you stand behind your product.

GAIL: Yeah… I get to be with my family. I harvest. I get to be outside all the time. Different events, festivals. I do farmer’s markets. I have my own indoor market in Downtown Anchorage. I do the Downtown Anchorage market. I mean, I’m out there and it’s fun. A lot of my friends will come up and they won’t believe it’s like a real job. And I’m like, yeah absolutely. It’s great.

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Wesley is a reporter for Alaska Public Media, covering primarily city government and Anchorage life. He previously worked at Alaska Public Media as a web editor, producer and education reporter before a two-year stint in Kotzebue, AK as News Director for KOTZ-AM.