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Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir

"I'm Irish, Welsh, and I've got a bit of Scotch in me," says Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir, quoting her grandmother. "She infused me with her culture and sense of humor." Born Heather Petty in Excelsior, Minnesota, she spent childhood summers with grandma in South Dakota. She studied art in Minneapolis, then moved to LA to enroll in the Parsons School of Design. In 1985 she became ill, and doctors were unable to help. "They said I'd maybe live to be 30," she notes. Hearing a radio interview with an herbalist, she saw her within a week. "She gave me a list, things I could eat: garlic, onions, brown rice, broccoli and turkey," she says. "My symptoms turned around." She left school to pay medical bills, got married, worked in health-food stores, and relocated to Eugene in 1993. She found work as a chef at Friendly St. Market, studied at the Oregon School of Herbal Studies, and opened her shop, Mrs. Thompson's Herbs, Gifts and Folklore in 1994. "Herbalism is a more friendly, comfortable way of caring for your health," she says. "It's like something you get from your grandma or aunt." After a divorce, she kept the shop name but changed her own to Nic an Fhleisdeir, a Gaelic version of Fletcher, her grandma's name. Learn about classes, Celtic imports, and more at celticherbs.com.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 1 September 2011

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