The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Erin Hubbard, who has been working at the Co-op as a Cashier for two years. For her pick this month Erin chose the Bugs Off Body Spray made locally by Orchard Farm Soap. Erin chose this product because she feels that it truly is a myth that bug spray must contain chemicals to be effective, and she wanted to pass along that this is a product she has had success with. She finds the smell very pleasant and likes that there is nothing in it that would irritate the skin of most people (although everyone should test a small amount on their own skin before going nuts with the application).
Orchard Farm Soap is a local Moscow company that was started by Kate Jaeckel back in 2002. She began selling soap at the Moscow Farmers Market in 2003, as an addition to the fresh produce she was already selling there. The soap was a big hit and led her to expand her operation by building a studio in 2009 to help fulfill the many orders she was receiving, and also to substantially expand her product line (http://www.moscowfood.coop/beetbox/blog/meet-the-makers-orchard-farm-soap). In addition to soap, Kate now also produces shaving soaps, beard oils, botanical salves, lip balm, perfumes, bug spray, and aromatic diffusers. This is still a small family operation though, with many of the botanicals used in these quality products grown on site. Their unique labels are inspired by their rustic lifestyle and show their love of “old farm houses, barns, old tools, and forgotten relics of the past” (https://www.etsy.com/shop/orchardfarmsoap?ref=si_shop§ion_id=6122557).
The second staff-person I spoke with this month was Cheyne Mayer, who has been working at the Co-op for the past year, originally as a Baker and as a Cashier for the past two months. Cheyne recommended the raw milk from Little Bear Dairy for his pick this month, and proceeded to give it a rave review. Cheyne says he has found that Little Bear’s milk consistently has an excellent cream top and a very satisfying taste. He likes to just drink it, but also says that it can be used to make really delicious and hearty pancakes (and he has some baker cred to back up this claim). Cheyne says he is truly grateful for the small herd exemption that allows him to purchase raw milk from them, and he loves supporting a local family-owned and operated business.
Little Bear Dairy is run by Amy and Tim Wincentsen and based out of Troy. Little Bear got its start informally about 12 years ago when the Wincentsens got a cow and started trading milk through a herd-share program. They became an official company in 2010 when Idaho was one of a small handful of states that created a small herd exemption. This exemption allows a small operation to register up to three cows in the program and to sell their milk for human consumption as long as the milk is cooled appropriately and subjected to monthly testing.
When I called Amy to ask her for some details about her farm, she said that her grandparents had run a dairy out of the Troy area years ago, and she joked that the dairy business was in her blood. In all seriousness, however, Little Bear Dairy is a family operation that Amy, Tim, and their six children actively participate in. They currently own six cows that are rotated in and out of production, and they do all of their milking by hand. Amy tells me that their cows produce about 12 gallons of milk per day, and Little Bear sells the milk to the Co—op as well as cheese and yogurt made from the milk. Amy said her family consumes about eight gallons of milk a week, not counting the milk they consume in the form of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and butter.