When you think of the Farmers Market, what do you envision? For me, I know I will see fresh fruits, veggies, honey, baked goods and lots of friendly faces. I will also see local artisans who have brought their talents to the market so you can enjoy the day. There may be musicians, and jewelry makers; however, my favorite and first “go to” display table is always the Farmers Market Soaps!
WORKING FROM HOME
Talk about the idea of working from home, I think the Farmers Market is a prime example of “Work From Home”. People are growing their own vegetables to be shared, singer/songwriters are bringing their music to share, and craftier is there to promote their artwork. My favorite experience at the farmers market is the handcrafted/homemade soap.
I love all the amazing smells and all the natural ingredients. These people are truly working from home when they make their soaps and then sell them to happy customers like me!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN HANDMADE SOAPS
The number one thing to search for is a soap maker who uses natural ingredients. The whole purpose for making your own soap, I feel, is to have a product that is chemical free.
With so many of us having sensitive skin, natural products are most important. That includes the use of fragrance oils. Are the oils truly essential oils or simply fragrance oils. Essential Oils are the natural choice.
When visiting a soap maker, ask about the ingredients. Usually you will see that they are displayed on the soap product or perhaps there will be a billboard listing the main ingredients.
If you are living a Vegan lifestyle, you will want to ask if there are any animal products used in the soaps. Originally, handmade soap was derived from beef tallow (rendered fat) or pig lard.
Today there is a great concern with regard to Palm Oil as many Orangutan habitats are being threatened by the Palm Oil Plantations. Not only are the habitats endangered, the Orangutans are being killed as they come into the villages looking for food. Respecting the life of the Orangutan has brought up some interesting issues regarding the use of palm oil in soaps.
Do you love suds? Make sure the soap has coconut oil as one of the ingredients.Mass-produced soaps will add chemicals to enhance lather.
Is your skin super sensitive or do you have a skin condition such as acne or eczema? You may be looking for a soap with goat milk as an ingredient.
Does the soap have fragrance or color? What kind of sensitivity do you have to either of these? Just ask. Your soap maker will be able to answer your questions and set your mind at ease, even lead you to the best product for your skin type.
WHAT IS A FAIR PRICE FOR SOAP?
When you shop for soap products at the supermarket, you are getting lots of chemicals and ingredients you might not even be able to pronounce. So you are paying for something which might not be best for your skin or your pocketbook. However, the average price of soap bars in the supermarket range from $1- $5 in most cases.
When you buy at a Farmers Market, you are looking at fresh products, handmade or homegrown. Nothing is mass-produced. You will be paying for this freshness and quality. Similar to buying Organic Veggies at the store, you might spend a bit more, but the quality is far above average and welcome to most households.
Artisans take pride in their products and the quality that they offer. To buy handmade soaps at the Farmers Market may run between $5 and $10 per bar of soap. The general weight of the soap will be between 2 and 4 oz. Not much different from the mass-produced products in supermarkets, but with considerably better natural ingredients. No harsh chemicals in handmade soaps that could damage our sensitive skin.
I have never felt bad about buying homemade soap from a booth run by a soap maker. I love the fresh smells, creamy textures, moisturizing properties, and the gentleness of each bar lovingly crafted by the soap maker. Plus, conversations are always interesting when you visit.
WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT HANDMADE SOAP?
Truly, I believe the greatest value in handmade soap is the cold process method used in making the soap. When making soap in the cottage fashion (at home) with the cold process method, the natural glycerin is retained in the product. Often commercially manufactured soaps can be drying as the glycerin has been removed and used in other products such as lotions and skin creams.
With handmade soaps, because the glycerin is still in the product, most people won’t need to add additional lotion to their skin after washing. It is the glycerin that is a natural humectant and brings moisture to our skin.
WHAT IS COLD PROCESS SOAP?
The Cold Process method was discovered by ancient people (my Grandmother included!) when they combined animal fats and ashes from the fire. Lye leeched from the ashes and then mixed with the fats causing a chemical reaction called saponification.
We use the same process today, but the animal fat has been replaced with refined quality oils and butters. The lye is used up in the chemical process and, after curing for several weeks, leaves a gentle, handmade soap.
The education, planning and understanding of this Cold Process Method adds to the uniqueness of each bar of soap presented by the soap maker. Knowing when to add the essential oils and colors is an art in itself. An art I really appreciate when I buy my soaps.
Everything about going to a Farmers Market is about fresh and handmade products. It is an enriching experience and the quality of people you meet at these events are as wholesome and rich as their products.
When you buy handmade/handcrafted soaps at this venue, you know that you are not getting harsh chemicals or ingredients you can’t pronounce in your soaps. You are getting only fresh and gentle soap which will leave you feeling relaxed, clean, and moisturized after your shower or bath. Everyone from babies to elderly people will enjoy the experience. It is a feeling of luxury knowing these soaps are made just for you!
I do hope you will get out and have a wonderful, fun experience this summer. Try some soaps, give them as gifts, or just buy them to support your community. That is what the Farmers Market Soaps are all about.
Happy In Bubbles,