Meet the Makers: Orchard Farm Soap

Kate Jaeckel really likes hanging out with her kids. So much so that she started Orchard Farm Soap in 2002 as a way to both fulfill her love of being around her family and her belief in herbal medicine and natural skincare. Her background in massage therapy has given way to a beautiful product line that is free of synthetics and fragrance oils.

She began selling her soap at the Moscow Farmers Market in 2003 after realizing she needed a product that had a longer shelf-life than the homegrown produce she was already selling. She still sells at the Saturday market in Moscow and says, “The market has always been a cornerstone for my business. It’s our connection to the community.” She had a studio built in 2009 so that she’d have more room to fulfill all the orders she was receiving.
Since then, her business has picked up and she has several more outlets for selling her line. Other than buying Orchard Farm products at the Co-op, you can also find Kate on Etsy and at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. At the Co-op we’re proud to carry Kate’s products because of her dedication and commitment to her product standards. She’s extremely aware of issues with palm oil and deforestation and sources a more sustainable product that is in line with her mission.

The other aspect of Orchard Farm’s products that we love is that Kate grows many of the botanicals in her soaps, lotions and candles. That’s right she grows her own calendula, rose hips, St. John’s Wort, lavender and more on her farm… and we think that’s pretty cool. For more information on Orchard Farm soap visit and be sure to stop by the Saturday Farmers Market and say hello to Kate.

Feel Good Mondays: DIY Cleaning Products

Making your own cleaning products may sounds like a huge time investment, but these simple recipes for everyday household cleaners are easy to make and are free of harsh chemicals and toxins. Because if you have to clean in the first place, why make yourself sick inhaling the nasty conventional stuff?


All-purpose Cleaner
• 1/4 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 gallon water

 Floor Cleaner
To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:
• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 drops of baby oil
• 1 gallon of warm water
Apply using a mop or sponge.

 To clean wooden floors, combine:
• 3 cups vinegar
• 3 cups vegetable oil

 Natural Disinfectant
• 4 tablespoons vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
• 3 cups hot water
Pour into a mist bottle and apply as needed.

 Bathroom Cleaners
• To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
• To clean a shower, fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off. (Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue.)
• A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.
• Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.

 Kitchen Cleaners
For a natural, borax-free dishwasher soap, you will need:
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 c. citric acid
• 1/4 c. coarse salt
• 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (optional)
Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil. Mix again.
• To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

 Oven Cleaner
To make a natural oven cleaner, you will need:
• 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
• 1/4 organic white vinegar
• 1.5 cups baking soda
• water, as needed to make a thick, but spreadable, paste
• 2-4 drops essential oil (optional)
Remove the racks from your oven. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Paint the paste over the entire surface of the oven (using an actual paint brush works well). Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The paste should foam slightly. Fill a bowl with clean water and, using a sponge or scrubber, wipe away the paste. Repeat until there is no white residue and all the grime is wiped away.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID (from National Geographic’s Green Guide):

Ammonia: cuts grease
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma
Green Alternative: vinegar

 Chlorine: disinfects
Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury
Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil

 Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil
Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant
Green Alternative: eucalyptus oil

 Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Phthalates: synthetic fragrances
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: essential oils, baking soda deodorizers

 Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners
Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish
Green Alternative: hot soapy water, vinegar

Feel Good Mondays: DIY Linen Spray


If you’re feeling like your home and everything in it could use a little refresher, then take notice! This recipe for a simple linen and room spray is the perfect concoction to get rid of the winter blues and usher in the bright light and fresh air of spring. While lavender has been shown to have a calming effect, if you absolutely hate lavender, then by all means use something that doesn’t make you ill! We like to use a mix of bergamot and lavender, for a nice note of citrus. To make this spray you’ll need:

a spray bottle
distilled water (make sure it is distilled, as water that is not distilled can leave spots on linens)
25-35 drops of essential oil (per 1 1/2 cups of distilled water)

This makes a great hostess or housewarming gift too!

Fungus Among Us: Mushrooms, Part 2

featured from left to right: brown beech, white beech, white button, portabello

There are an unbelievable amount of mushrooms available in the store right now. And while you might be frightened by the looks of some of them, rest assured, they’re all delicious and filled with phytonutrients. Here’s some basic information about them and some ideas for how to use them.

Brown and White Beech:  Beech mushrooms, or Bunashimeji, have a nutty, buttery flavor, and a firm, crunchy texture. The mushrooms grow in clusters and produce tender caps. These mushrooms tend to be a little more bitter than other mushrooms, but cooking will mellow the flavor. They are packed with immune-boosting phytonutrients. They have also been shown to lower triglycerides, or fat in the blood. They make a great addition to a stir-fry when cooked with lots of garlic.

White Button: Probably the most cultivated mushroom and most commonly seen in groceries stores. Because they are harvested so early in their growth (let them grow longer and you get cremini mushrooms), they are extremely firm and mild in flavor. They are a great source of potassium (actually higher than a banana!) and also help reduce levels of estrogen (an over-abundance of estrogen can lead to breast cancer). They’re delicious when sauteed with white wine and garlic and also make a great appetizer when stuffed with herbs and goat cheese.

Portobello: Portobello mushrooms are actually in the most mature stage of growth (they start as button, turn to cremini and then grow into portobellos). They make an attractive meat substitute to vegetarians because of they’re hearty texture and deep flavor. They are often used instead of steak of hamburger patties as a low fat, nutrient rich option.

Feel Good Mondays: Peppermint Lip Gloss


Don’t let the cold weather get you down! This simple recipe for peppermint lip gloss is sure to relieve the most chapped of lips. To make the lip gloss, you’ll need:
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil
6-9 drops of peppermint essential oil.

1. Place beeswax, coconut oil and vitamin E oil in a glass measuring cup.
2.Fill a pan with a few inches of water and place measuring cup in water. Bring to a simmer until ingredients have melted.
3. Add peppermint oil and stir until well mixed.
4. Pour into a small glass jar or metal tins and let cool.
Reuse small mason jars, baby food jars or face/eye cream jars. Metal tins can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs and make lovely packaging for gifts.

Feel Good Mondays: Homemade Lip Scrub


The Co-op isn’t usually in the business of paying lip service… unless it’s literal. Whether you’re kissing the love of your life or your Great Aunt Martha, it never hurts to prefect your pucker. This simple homemade lip scrub is the ticket to softer, smoother lips in no time.  This also makes a great homemade holiday gift!


To make this simple scrub you’ll need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey (we use local Woodland Honey)
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Mix all ingredients in a small glass jar with a lid. Scoop a small amount of scrub onto your fingers and exfoliate lips.  Remove scrub with a warm, damp towel.  Be prepared to pucker up.


FEEL GOOD MONDAYS: Green Monster Smoothie


The start to your work week just got a heck of a lot better. Allow us to present (drum roll please…….) Feel Good Mondays! We’ll offer you an immune boosting recipe, a product from our Wellness Department or tips and treats to help you show the week who’s boss.


In this first installment of Feel Good Mondays we are proud to present you with a Green Monster Smoothie. With spinach, banana, almond butter and unsweetened chocolate almond milk this recipe is chock full of antioxidants, protein, vitamins C and E and calcium. It’s really everything you need to start your week off right.


Green Monster Smoothie Recipe

1 cup of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup of unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
(handful of ice  if the banana is not frozen)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.