Staff Picks

The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Abigail Grisel, who has been working at the Co-op as a cashier since May. For her pick this month Abigail chose the Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus Soap. Abigail said that she spent much of her life bouncing from one brand of soap to the next with very little loyalty to any of them. Many of them irritated her skin, or just weren’t “right” in one way or another, so when she used up a bottle, she simply moved on. All of that has now changed as she has become completely hooked on Dr. Bronner’s. Abigail says she likes the universality of the soap (you can use it as a body wash, to wash your vegetables, or to do laundry), she likes the smell, and she has found it to be non-irritating. Her main reason for choosing this product, however, is because Dr. Bronner’s is a company that supports fair trade and fair wages for their workers. She feels Dr. Bronner’s is a company for which the money she spends will support her values.

According to the company’s website, Dr. Bronner’s soap is time-tested and is built around an old-world philosophy of simplicity. The soap company was founded in the United States in 1948 by Emanuel Bronner, a German-Jewish immigrant who brought his then third-generation recipe to the United States after being certified as a master soapmaker under the guild system of the time.

Today, the company is being run by the fifth generation of Bronners, who are as committed to their products as were their ancestors who first developed the recipe 150 years ago. Their soaps are renowned for their versatility and eco-friendliness, and their following of loyal customers continues to grow. Dr. Bronner’s has always been a company committed to promoting and advancing social change. They pioneered organic certification in personal care products, and support fair trade projects across the world, treat their workers fairly, and practice charitable giving. Perhaps the best part of the company however, is the characters that built it. Emanuel’s first son Ralph was famous for his songs and stories that helped put the company on the map. Many of them are documented and available for review on the Doctor Bronner’s website (

The second staff-person I spoke with this month was Kelly Wright. She has worked at the Co-op as a cashier since June. Her pick this month is the bulk Landgrove Coffee Cross Trails blend. Kelly says she chose this product because she is very invested in her daily coffee drinking practice and because the company is a local “P6 company” (any company that meets two of the three criteria—local, small, cooperative—of the Co-op’s sixth cooperative principle, “cooperation among cooperatives”). Kelly says her preference comes down to supporting a locally-made tasty product made by good people.

Landgrove Coffee is a company based in Troy that was founded in 1998 by the Binninger family. They are committed to roasting high-quality fair trade beans that can be traced back to their cooperatives. Landgrove is a small family operation that is able to offer an exceptional product at a lower price than some of their competitors due to their keeping low overhead costs and the fact that they own their roaster and other equipment (

The Cross Trails blend is made from two coffee varieties that are characterized by being bold and heavy-bodied, but also sparking and bright (Landgrove Coffee, 2016). Although I am sure the taste notes are tantalizing, one of the best things about this blend is that $1 from every pound sold is donated to the Selway Bitteroot/Frank Church Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wilderness stewardship in our beloved Idaho wilderness.