What does a restaurant and a bookstore have in common. In the case of a new business in downtown Antigo, the answer is a kitchen.
Located inside the former Buckalows Eatery at 800 Fifth Ave., The Blessed Fig Tree had a soft opening at the start of May and is quickly becoming the go-to place for nonfictions books, bookshelf accessories, herbs, and supplements.
We specialize in nonfiction books,” said Christian Radcliff, who owns and operates the bookstore with his wife, Brandy. “We have a variety of plant and gardening, historical, medical, classical, religious and theological, psychological, philosophical, business, informatics, crafts, outdoors, survival, local.”
Brandy Radcliff is a master herbalist, and she hopes to share her knowledge with anyone who seeks it.
Brandy and Christian Radcliff are the owners of
The Blessed Fig Tree in downtown Antigo.
The bookstore is located at 800 Fifth Avenue.
“We have a variety of teas. We have the exotics, the imports, but then we have the herbal and then ones we’ll craft,” she said. “We have exotic house plants, and we’ll be having medicinal house plant starts.”
Many of the cookbooks in the store focus on healthy recipes, foraged products and holistic meals.
“Eventually we’ll do our own snacks that are going to be holistic and healthy,” she said.
That’s where the commercial kitchen comes into play. The Radcliffs will use the equipment to create snacks, teas and medicinal herbs.
“We’re going to extend into workshops. We’re going to be teaching classes,” Christian Radcliff said. “We are wild mushroom harvester certified through the Wisconsin Mycological Association. We plan to make and craft some of the stuff into products in our commercial kitchen.”
“As Christian said, we’re going to be donning classes,” Brandy Radcliff added. “My big goal there is, as an herbalist, to pass on our tradition and help the community equip themselves and be more self-sufficient.”
The husband and wife team own 200 acres of land near Hurley where they are growing ginseng, goldenseal and other plants. They are working with Langlade County officials to get permission to harvest herbs and forage for mushrooms in the area, picking larger quantities than what is allowed for individuals.
“We hope to use the seventh largest forest in Wisconsin to supplement our supply here,” Christian Radcliff said.
He was born in Manitowoc. As a military family, they moved around and lived in North Dakota, Texas, Alaska, and Washington. He studied biology and the natural sciences, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Washington University.
He inherited 80 acres of land near Hurley from his grandfather, and the couple has added to it for their business.
Brandy Radcliff is from the state of Washington and has always liked the outdoors, one reason she enjoys life in Wisconsin’s Northwoods.
“I have been working with plants since I was 13,” she said.“I actually brought 200 medicinal plants with me from Washington. I’ve always been into foraging.”
She was educated in biology and the earth sciences and has traditional vitalistic education from the John Christopher School of Natural Healing.
The medicinal herbs she will create are based on science, the knowledge she has acquired and plenty of experimentation.
“It’s mostly my own creation, which is what’s taking so long right now,” she said. “You have to have a bit of knowledge, a bit of science and a bit of chemistry. I’m really big on understanding the plants’ compounds and how a plant works.
“It’s science-based, tradition and history.”
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 715-628-0468 or visit www.theblessedfigtree.com.