No Rest for the Gifted

| May/June 2007


Founder of the biodynamic herb farm Resting in the River and Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason gracefully maintains an intimate connection with the earth and an incredibly busy schedule.

Many people are fascinated by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. But for Marsha Mason, who’s seen her share of Hollywood’s charms, the natural world is a far more fascinating place on which to lavish her attentions. Not to suggest that Mason doesn’t love the craft she’s spent her life cultivating and for which she’s won two Golden Globe awards and received four Oscar nominations. Some of Mason’s most recognized performances were opposite James Caan in 1973’s Cinderella Liberty, and in the 1977 production of then-husband Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl. She also made several guest appearances on television’s Frasier in the late ’90s, for which she was nominated for an Emmy. More recently, she portrayed Ouiser in the 2005 Broadway production of Steel Magnolias; she appeared in the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Hecuba in the summer of 2006; and she just completed working on the Turner Network Television production of Stephen King’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes, which will premiere in July.

Still, her successful acting career is only one part of Mason’s very full life. She says a connection to nature and an inherent belief that it is our responsibility to care for Mother Earth led her naturally into gardening and becoming a steward of the land—an interest that eventually blossomed into Resting in the River Organic Farm & Natural Products. Mason’s sustainable organic and biodynamic farm near Abiquiu, New Mexico, produces thousands of pounds of herbs each year and turns many of them into organic Wellness Sprays, salves and body products.

Finding the Garden

Mason’s farm produces thousands of pounds of herbs each year and turns many of them into organic products.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Mason says her connection with the earth and living things started at a very young age. “As a young girl, I was overly sensitive and emotional and I used to walk down the road of our house to an old cemetery at the bottom of the hill,” Mason says. “I spent a lot of time just communing with nature during times when I felt somewhat an outsider. I think I’ve always had some kind of connection to nature and seen the beauty in it.”

She was introduced to gardening and farming in the 1970s when her burgeoning acting career took her to Los Angeles. Her across-the-street neighbor and avid farmer Henry Fonda introduced Mason to the concept of organic fertilizer—in the form of chicken manure—which piqued her interest. She ended up transforming her entire back yard into a large rose garden. “I was very hooked on compost,” Mason says of her early gardening years. “There was something about making compost that really excited me.”

elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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