By Bonnie Schiedel

Thunder Bay now has its own version of the famous international spice bazaars: the entire second floor of The Mystic Garden is home to more than 350 varieties of spices and 400 varieties of herbs from around the world. “People started asking for herbs, perhaps because of the word ‘garden’ in our name,” says owner Dawna Harty. “I brought in a few basics and then because there was such a good response, I went full speed ahead.” The herbs and spices are all organic, and, whenever possible, they are non-GMO, gluten-free, and fair-trade certified. “Non-organic herbs and spices traditionally are treated with lots of chemicals,” she says. “The organic herbs and spices are top quality, and smell amazing.”

Varieties include standbys like cinnamon and locally grown sage, as well as exotic blends like chermoula (Morocco), chimichurri (Argentina), shawarma (India), rogan josh (Persia), tzatziki (Greece), and baharat (Middle East). The super-hot ghost pepper chili powder is also popular. These herbs and spices go beyond the kitchen too, as some customers are purchasing items under a naturopathic doctor or herbalist’s direction for use as healing agents, crafting their own creams, tinctures, or balms. To that end, the store carries organic cocoa and shea butters and hemp seed oil for DIYers.

Contact The Mystic Garden in person at 41 South Algoma Street,  by phone at 983-2122 or find them on Facebook.