‘Tea mixologist’ focused on wellness, nutrition
Ruthie C. Vastine is a tea mixologist. At her mobile beverage cart, Madre Holistic Tea Bar, Vastine serves up innovative mixed teas crafted with fresh ingredients from local growers.
Whether you want something calming or a jolt of energy, Vastine has you covered with her holistic approach to tea.
“For me, my approach to tea making equals a cocktail mixologist,” Vastine said. She starts by muddling fresh herbs, pouring the tea, adding a touch of sweetness, shaking with vigor, pouring, and finally, topping off the mixed concoction with an artful garnish.
Her approach is intentional, mindful and full of purpose, much like her approach to holistic wellness and nutrition.
The name “Madre” translates as “mother” in Spanish. “I come from a long line of women healers,” Vastine said. “This is Latina. My heritage. Where I come from.”
Nourishment to nurture wellness is an innate ancestral calling for Vastine. “This is a love letter to my grandmother and my culture, using herbalism for health,” she said.
Vastine’s mother is indigenous Arawak from Puerto Rico, her father is from the Galicia region in Spain.
Vastine traveled to the Methow Valley from the west side every year to celebrate New Year’s Day. She and her partner, Will Vastine, would snowshoe in nature before venturing indoors to write goals for the next year. When it came time to start a family, the couple decided to move permanently to the Methow Valley. “It was an opportunity to give back to a community we cared about,” Vastine said.
During the pandemic, Vastine was pregnant and laid off from work. She took advantage of the down time and graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is a certified health and integrative nutrition coach.
“I learned nutrition and health are not just about food,” she said, but primarily about mental health. The act of making and drinking tea is an intentional and meditative act, “you pour the water, select the tea leaves, and steep,” she said.
Vastine worked in the wellness business for many years prior to moving to the Methow Valley. She currently works at Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness during the week at the front desk as a marketing coordinator and holistic nutritionist. Images of her nutritious meals can be found on Instagram www.instagram.com/mtnmamawellness, and more images of her creatively crafted teas can be found on Instagram at www.instagram.com/madreteabar.
Madre Holistic Tea Bar features cold brew teas. “The cold brew lowers the tannins, so you taste the flavors of tea,” Vastine said. The cold brew tea is not as bitter and allows the full taste of florals and botanicals to shine.
The tea is sweetened with natural sweeteners: local honey, coconut nectar and agave nectar. “I take out the junk that covers up the complexity of tea,” Vastine said.
Her selections will feature seasonal teas: iced in summer and hot teas in the cool autumn months. Vastine uses all organic ingredients — sourced locally when possible. Some teas are her own creation, while other featured menu items are from Methow Valley Tea, an herbal tea farm in Winthrop locally owned and operated by Skip Mackintosh.
Vastine’s Lemon Balmer — a spin on the classic “Arnold Palmer” — features lemon balm grown by Tyler McGrath at Methow Medicinal Herb Farm. The cold brewed Hibiscus Berry Tea contains saskatoon berries from Mike and Ashley Utskot’s Nettle Grove Farm in Carlton. Vastine is excited to support local farmers and producers.
Just like ingesting local honey builds up immunity to local allergens, emerging studies indicate that ingesting locally grown produce is essential to nourishing healthy gut microbes from local soil microbiomes. A refreshing tea made from locally grown herbs and berries, sweetened with local honey, does a body good.
Vastine’s Madre Holistic Tea Bar can be found at the Methow Makers Market in Winthrop at the Confluence Park, once a month. The next pop-up market times will be posted on the Facebook page Methow Makers Market, and on Instagram @methowmakersmarket.
Once a week, Vastine is mixing tea drinks at the Chelan farmers market on Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. Visit www.chelanfarmersmarket.org for more information.
In the near future, Vastine plans to park Madre Holistic Tea Bar in a set location with regular hours.
“My approach to tea is sharing what I love about the process. The experience is like watching a cocktail maker. It takes a little longer, but I hope people find it worth the wait,” Vastine said.
Menus and more are posted on Vastine’s website, Mountain Mama Wellness, www.mtnmamawellness.com.