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Posted 4/12/2019 1:31pm by Cherry Valley Organics.

The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Market and Cafe will soon be open for our spring and summer hours! We're located at 1713 Main Street, Burgettstown, PA in the recently refurbished, historic Burgettstown Train Station. There are so many wonderful changes taking place for our CVO family, and as a result, you'll notice lots of new faces at our farm market stand and in the retail store. 

Today, we'd like to introduce you to Katie Sofio, our Retail Sales and Event Assistant. You'll see Katie behind the counter of our new Farm Market and Cafe, assisting customers, keeping the shelves stocked, and being an all-around awesome addition to the CVO family.  

Meet Katie Sofio: Retail Sales and Event Assistant  

Katie Sofio Cherry valley Organics

Childhood Roots  

Katie was raised in Washington state, surrounded by so much natural beauty, including colorful wildflowers, snow-capped mountains, clear rivers, rushing waterfalls, evergreen trees, luscious rainforests, and the majestic ocean. "All of these elements of the beauty of the earth and the vastness of ecology left an impression in my subconscious when I was very young!" says Katie.    

Her interest in gardening began when Katie's dad planted a vegetable garden in their backyard during the summer she turned 11 years old. "I remember helping him dig up the corner of the yard, planting the seeds, then watering and weeding to nurture our plants along," she recalls. "When we finally harvested our first fruits, it was pretty exciting. We ate the broccoli, even though we found a few worms in it. Our carrots turned out stubby and the watermelon didn’t make it past the size of a baseball, but it didn’t matter. The whole experience ignited my love for growing, especially growing something I could eat," Katie jokes. You'll see Katie and her dad together in the photo below.

"The world of agriculture began to fascinate me," she adds. "How does a tiny seed have EVERYTHING inside it to produce a fruit big enough to eat? And how does the process happen? All I do is plant and water it, and make sure nothing gets in the way of its growth, but how does the rest happen?" she started to wonder. "When I was a kid, it always seemed like magic."    

CVO's Katie Sofio

School Days  

Katie has an undergrad degree in Philosophy and Theology and a Masters in Education. "I taught grade school for nine years and high school for one before joining Cherry Valley Organics. But, I did find a way to fit my love for growing into my teaching career. At the first school I worked at, I started a 36 ft x 36 ft school garden," she says. "It became known as the 'outdoor classroom' where students in grades Pre K - 8 participated in growing, harvesting, and eating a wide variety of vegetables." Katie's student gardeners grew corn, radish, lettuce, tomatoes, okra, broccoli, zucchini, and squash, to name just a few.  

"Facilitating this hands-on experience for the students for five years is still one of my proudest accomplishments," Katie notes. "And I’m happy to say the garden still exists today! And, I still enjoy sharing a love of gardening with kids. These days, though, my niece and nephew are my 'students'."   

Katie from Cherry Valley Organics

Katie's Contribution to CVO  

Katie is responsible for opening and closing the store, welcoming and engaging with our customers, and taking care of the plants, flowers, produce, and products at the shop. She'll also be selling CVO products at outside events, such as artisan marketplaces, craft shows, farming events, and more. 

The Message Katie Wants to Share with Our Customers  

"Buy local whenever you can," Katie stresses. "You’re giving yourself a gift. The sooner you can get food off the vine and into your body, the better it is for your cells!"   

"Your mitochondria want energy to power your body, and the fresher your food is, the more energy it’s going to give you. Knowing where your food came from (down the road vs. from a truck that drove for several days) makes a big difference."  

Five years from now, Katie would love to see CVO become a well-known organic brand in Pennsylvania, and for our products to be selling in stores in at least 5 different states. "I’d love to see the farm expand to grow on double the acres we currently farm. And, I’d love to see the size of our team double to keep up with the demand for our produce, flowers, herbs, and products." It's a dream we all share here at CVO.  

To get to know more of the CVO farm family, check out the following articles:  

 

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family

Posted 3/11/2019 9:36am by Cherry Valley Organics.

Small farmers are a hard-working, dedicated bunch. Being a small farmer requires endless hours spent not just growing the fruits, veggies, flowers, and herbs sold by the farm, but also marketing those products, managing the books, collaborating with fellow growers, maintaining equipment, keeping a website updated, arranging and making deliveries, organizing planting and harvesting dates, and about a million other tasks.  

Today, we'd like to tell you more about the woman who started Cherry Valley Organics almost 20 years ago, Jodi Danyo. Jodi's passion for organic farming is unrivaled; she's dedicated her life to making sure Pittsburgh-area families have access to fresh, locally grown, USDA Certified Organic produce. From the initial roots of CVO as a small suburban farm to its present-day status as one of Pittsburgh's premier growers of certified organic produce, Jodi has been the one constant.  

Grower Profile: Jodi Danyo of Cherry Valley Organics

Jodi Danyo of Cherry Valley Organics

Childhood Roots

While Jodi wasn't born and raised on a farm, she does believe that plants are in her blood. Her dad has a degree in Agronomy from Penn State University, and two of her uncles spent their careers working in landscaping and golf course management.  

"When you're a plant person," she jokes, "it's inevitable that a plant-filled path will find you! Some people believe that current day 'plant people' like me are descendants of the village herbalists of our ancestor's time. I can't say whether or not this is true, but I certainly 'get' plants and have known for a very long time that I enjoy working with them."  

College Days

Soon after finishing grad school with an MS in Environmental Science, Jodi knew she wanted a career that involved being outdoors, conducting research, and teaching others. Her grad school experience, combined with her undergrad degree in Biology, led her to an eventual job in environmental consulting as an Ecological Risk Assessor. Soon after reading a book called "Sharing the Harvest" by Elizabeth Henderson, and learning as much as she could about the importance of the local organic food movement, Jodi knew that small-scale farming was the right path for her. It took some time, however, for her to see that dream come to fruition.  

Having worked on a horse farm taking care of Arabian show horses during college, Jodi was, and is, no stranger to hard work. Mucking the stalls, and feeding, grooming, and moving horses, led her to realize that a good day's work should also involve plenty of physical activity, something you don't get at a desk job. She also realized that sometimes the non-glamorous jobs are the ones you feel best about at the end of the day.  

These experiences, combined with her passion for local, organic agriculture, led to the foundation of the first incarnation of Cherry Valley Organics.  

Farmer Jodi Danyo in the greenhouse at Cherry Valley Organics farm

The Beginnings of Cherry Valley Organics  

After her job as an Ecological Risk Accessor, Jodi worked as a professional gardener, maintaining some of Pittsburgh's most beautiful gardens in communities such as Squirrel Hill, Fox Chapel, and Shadyside. Then, starting in 2001, Jodi began to build a one-third-acre urban farm in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Crafton. This is where she really honed her growing skills, learning how to raise organic fruit and vegetable crops on a small, commercial basis.  

A Growing Community Farm  

In 2004, CVO moved to its present location in Burgettstown, PA and began growing on a larger scale. Though the farm property encompasses 36 acres, only about 6 acres are currently in cultivation. "Over the years, we've built a heated greenhouse, a high tunnel, and a packing shed equipped with refrigeration and work space," notes Jodi, "but Cherry Valley Organics still has plenty of room for expansion."  

A lot of lessons have been learned since farming that third-acre lot in Crafton almost 20 years ago. "Despite the years spent building the farm's infrastructure, I realized I didn't have the leadership skills to grow CVO into the company that I had first envisioned," Jodi admits. But, after a 7-year hiatus from full-time farming, during which the day-to-day growing operations were managed by a small crew of dedicated collaborative growers, including Allie Logue, our Herb & Flower Grower and Retail Sales Supervisor, Jodi is now back to farming full time.  

"One of our biggest challenges has been finding and keeping team members," Jodi admits. "It's very difficult to find hires with experience in small-scale organic farming. Regular staff turnover made it almost impossible to gain any momentum. That's why I went back to work in corporate America for a while."  

Though it was hard for Jodi to step away from the day-to-day operations of the farm, it turned out to be a blessing. "I worked with international teams to develop training programs for countless emerging leaders, middle managers, and even CEOs. I became an executive coach. I'm very fortunate and grateful for these experiences, and now have friends and colleagues all over the world. Most importantly, I've learned a lot about leadership. Now, I believe we're ready to move to the next step. We have a dream team of growers and organic enthusiasts at CVO that are going to propel us into the future."    

cut flower farm Cherry Valley Organics

Jodi's Thoughts on Being a Small Farmer  

Jodi adores farming for the diversity of tasks and activities involved. No two days are the same. The beautiful environment, a chance to be outdoors, and the productive feeling you have when you've just planted 8000 seedlings or harvested a truck-load of flowers, offer a sense of accomplishment and peace that few other jobs share. "I also derive tremendous satisfaction from knowing that we're doing work that our customers value and appreciate," Jodi says, "and we're offering healthy alternatives to our community. "  

Like most people, Jodi finds that some days are harder than others. Days spent at her desk working on accounting or humid afternoons spent in the boiling summer sun, are days that Jodi doesn't necessarily relish. But, a morning in the high tunnel seeding a new crop of lettuce or a few hours spent harvesting beautiful bouquets of lisianthus or sunflowers are among her favorites.  

"Small business is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just simply mistaken," Jodi says. Completing all the tasks that need to be done within the number of hours in a given day is a balancing act like no other, and it's one that small farmers around the globe face each and every day.  

A Day on the Farm  

"There's no typical day when it comes to farming," Jodi jokes. "On planting days, our team is focused on getting as many plants in the ground as possible. I may be running the field crew on those days, organizing which transplants go where, popping plants from plug trays, and doing a good bit of planting myself. Nahla, our farm pup, is always busy running around the whole time, making everyone laugh as we work."  

"Harvest days are a bit different. I'm in the herb and flower realm for harvest days since our produce grower focuses on harvesting the vegetables. So for flower harvest days, we load up the Cub Cadet with buckets, get out all of our gear, and head to the field to pick in mid-morning. We harvest until lunch, and then spend the rest of the day making bouquets or prepping the flowers for our florist customers."  

"Other days may be spent making our handcrafted soaps, bagging our herbal tea mixtures, or packaging our edible flowers. There's no doubt that every day on the farm brings new experiences and different types of work, which keeps it interesting and fun."  

Grower Jodi Danyo Pittsburgh farmer

The Challenges and the Future  

"Being as small as we are makes it very difficult to weather the ups and downs of business. We're focused right now on growth, and we'll be focusing our efforts specifically on growing our herbal tea, edible flower, and bath & body product lines over the next few years," Jodi says when asked about the plans for CVO's near-future. "We're also really excited to have our first retail location at 1713 Main Street in Burgettstown. We opened in the winter of 2018 and look forward to growing the Cherry Valley Organics Farm Market and Cafe into something really special over the coming season."    

We hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Farmer Jodi's background and love of all things organic. If you'd like Jodi and the rest of our crew here at Cherry Valley Organics to grow fresh, locally grown, seasonal produce for your family, be sure to sign up for our CSA Farm Share Program. And, of course, you'll want to sign up for our bouquet subscription service, too. Doing so means you'll get to enjoy a gorgeous bouquet of cut flowers grown right here at the farm each and every week throughout the growing season. Learn more about our bouquet subscription service here.

From, 

The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family

Posted 2/22/2019 9:44am by Cherry Valley Organics.

The last Friday in February is "National CSA Sign-up Day" (CSA Day for short), and we're busy celebrating here at Cherry Valley Organics! Based on data collected from small farmers, the last Friday in February is the most popular day of the year to sign up for a CSA Farm Share program.  

If you haven't hopped on-board and joined a CSA Farm Share program, now is a great time to support a small, local farm like ours by signing up to receive a weekly or biweekly share of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables all season long.  

Jody Danyo and Allie Logue of Cherry Valley Organics

What is a CSA?  

First, it's important to understand why Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are so important to small farmers like us. The CSA Farm Share model allows a customer to buy a "membership" in a farm prior to the start of the growing season. In return for their investment, the customer receives a share of the farm's products throughout the growing season on a weekly or biweekly basis.  

peppers CSA in Pittsburgh

The CSA model started in the mid-1980s in New England and has since become a popular way for people to support local agriculture around the world. It keeps food dollars in local communities, supports small businesses, and encourages a more sustainable food production system. Plus, it allows you to know exactly who's growing the food you feed to your family and how that food was grown.

From a farmer's standpoint, CSA Farm Share programs guarantee a market for our farm's products, enable us to have an early season income source to help pay for seeds and supplies, and it allow us to get to know the families our farm feeds.  

You get healthy, fresh food, and we get a much-valued, long-lasting customer!

organic tomatoes farm share

How does our CSA work?  

While many area farms have CSA Farm Share programs here in the Pittsburgh region, our program is a bit different from the standard CSA model. Instead of getting a box of farm products selected by the farmer, our Cherry Valley Organics Farm Share program allows you to select each item in your weekly delivery, based on a list of what's available from the farm each week.

You tell us which fruits and veggies your family loves, and we'll be sure to send them when they're available. You can also let us know which veggies your family isn't fond of, and we'll keep those out of your Farm Share delivery box. If you need extra of something because the in-laws are in town, just order extra in your weekly box. Or, if you're going on vacation, you can skip your delivery for that week, too.  

You select your weekly or biweekly preferences via email, and we deliver your box to a pick up site near you on a designated day of the week. It's that easy! Our 2019 Farm Share season lasts for 20 weeks and runs from June through October.

how does a CSA work

Celebrate CSA Day with us by signing up for our Farm Share program today (or whatever day suits you best - we're not picky!). Our sign ups will continue until the program reaches its maximum membership. As of this writing, we still have an opening for YOU!  

Why sign up for our CSA?

  • Support the health of your local food system
  • Keep farm land out of the hands of developers
  • Be a responsible environmental steward
  • Limit your food miles
  • Eat fresh
  • The cost is just $25.00 per week!
  • Enjoy delicious, USDA certified organic fruits and veggies grown by people who LOVE what they do!  

beets for CSA box

Cherry Valley Organics CSA Farm Share details  

We know you have lots of choices when it comes to your food dollars. There's plenty of competition from grocery stores, big retailers, food delivery services, meal plans, and even the restaurant down the street. So, we want to make it easy for your to support our small farm.  

Our CSA Farm Share program offers:

  • A flexible payment schedule
  • A pick up site near you (see a list of our pick up sites, here)
  • Automated payments
  • The ability to hand-pick what you want in each delivery
  • Plenty of potential add-ons, such as herbal teas, organic soaps, garden plants, and more!  

Help us ring in a new growing season by signing up for our CSA Farm Share program today! Click here to sign up or get more information on how it works. If you still have questions, feel free to send us an email at info@cherryvalleyorganics.com.  

Here's wishing you a season of happy, healthy eating! Sign up here.  

Best CSA in Pittsburgh

To learn more about our small farm and what we grow, check out the following posts:

 

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family 

P.S. Nahla says "Buy fresh, eat local.... and take naps!" 

Farm Dog

Posted 2/8/2019 2:20pm by Cherry Valley Organics.

Did you know that most air fresheners and room sprays are made from a concoction of synthetic chemicals? The Huffington Post declared synthetic fragrance sprays to be "The New Secondhand Smoke" in this recent article.  And in this article by the Washington Post, the author discusses the dangers of these fragrances for people with chemical sensitivities, and also points out that even people without sensitivities are reporting issues. 

"But artificial fragrances aren’t just a problem for certain groups. More than a third of Americans surveyed reported experiencing health problems when exposed to them, according to a study by Anne Steinemann of the University of Melbourne. “All fragranced products that I tested . . . emitted chemicals classified as hazardous air pollutants,” Steinemann said in an email. “You may not realize you’re being affected until it’s too late.”  

An alternative to synthetic fragrance sprays

While the smell of a "Wild Orchid" or "Sea Breeze" is marketed with the image of freshness and clean-living, the truth is, these products contain chemicals that we really shouldn't be breathing in.  

All natural organic fragrances for home and body

Instead, if you want to freshen a room, your car, the bed linens, bath towels, or even your yoga mat, you should turn to all-natural, organic fragrances like ours.  

What's in organic fragrance?  

Instead of a mixture of synthetic chemicals, organic fragrances like ours are made from water, essential oils, and herbal tinctures. Their list of ingredients is short, but they offer high-impact fragrance. You'll get a burst of long-lasting fragrance from just one squirt. Plus, our fragrance sprays are in a pump-style bottle, not an aerosol can that uses a propellant.  

Peppermint essential oil fragrance spray

To make our organic fragrance sprays, we use organic rye or vodka to create a tincture using herbs grown right here at our USDA Certified Organic farm just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The herbal tincture is then combined with distilled water and various essential oils until we achieve the perfect level of fragrance.  

We have several different scents available, including:

All of our fragrances are vegan-friendly as they contain no animal products. Nor are they ever tested on animals.  

Patchouli fragrance room spray

Roll-on fragrances  

In addition to our selection of room spray fragrances, we also carry our fragrances in roll-on style packaging.  

Roll-on Essential Oil Fragrances

A touch of our roll-on fragrances behind the ear, on the wrist, or on the back of your hand provides aroma-therapeutic properties, without the expensive price tag.  

Our roll-on fragrances come in the following scents:  

All-natural insect repellent spray with essential oils

A special gardener's fragrance  

In addition to our room and roll-on fragrances, we also have a special organic fragrance spray made just for gardeners and anyone else who spends a lot of time outdoors. Our Gardener's Fragrance Spray is composed of a unique blend of essential oils thought to repel biting insects. Included in this specialty fragrance spray is eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, citronella, and more. 100% all-natural, organic, and it smells oh-so-good!  

You'll find our Gardener's Fragrance Spray here.

Where to buy our organic fragrance sprays and roll ons  

In addition to purchasing our fragrances through our webstore by using the embedded links above, we also carry the full collection of our scents in our store. The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Market and Cafe is located at 1713 Main Street in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. You can also reach us via email for more information or store hours at info@cherryvalleyorganics.com.  

Fragrance spray gift pack

Oh, and one last way you can use our all-natural fragrance sprays: They make a great organic substitute for the popular toilet-bowl sprays that stop the stink before you go! Just sprits a few pumps of our fragrance into the commode water prior to use and no one will even know about "your business."  

Rose geranium organic fragrance spray

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family

All-natural, organic fragrance sprays are made from essential oils, herbal tinctures, and water -- never synthetic chemicals. #essentialoils #fragrances

Posted 1/16/2019 9:53pm by Cherry Valley Organics.

With today's ever-busy schedules, it isn't often that we take time for ourselves and relax. But when we do, it should be in a way that's comforting and calming. That's where our organic bath salts and bath bags come in. A good, long soak in a tub full of warm water, infused with the finest fragrance-infused sea salt or organically grown, aromatic herbs, is one of the best ways to take a break from the world and enjoy a few precious moments to yourself.

lavender bath salts

Herbal Bath Salts  

Many commercially made bath salts are filled with synthetic fragrances, rather than the calming scents of natural herbs and essential oils. Instead, our bath salts are made by combining pure certified organic essential oils with a very special type of salt. We also infuse the mix with various combinations of herbs grown, harvested, and naturally dried here at the farm.  

At Cherry Valley Organics, we use only Breton™ grey sea salt. It's hand-harvested from the island of Noirmoutier near Brittany, France. The salt isn't treated, modified, washed, or refined after harvest, unlike some other brands of bath salts. This keeps the high mineral content intact, leading to a luxurious, soul-warming soak!  

Because the folks who harvest Breton™ sea salt follow the specifications of the French Organic Farming Association, our bath salts carry the USDA Certified Organic label. You can be assured that our bath salts care for your skin like no other.  

You may wonder why adding salts to your bath water is so enjoyable. Salts stimulate circulation, ease joint inflammation and stiffness, soothe sore muscles, and reinvigorate the skin.  

peppermint bath salts

Herbal Bath Bags  

In addition to our fantastic bath salts, we also take great pride in our organic bath bags. These little treasures are created by combining various types of dried herbs we grow right here on our Pennsylvania farm. We add rolled oats for their skin-calming abilities, as well as heaven-scented organic essential oils.  

patchouli bath bag

All of these goodies are hand-packed into small muslin bags and tied into a little sachet that's easy to drop right into the bathwater. Soon after exposure to the warm water, the herbs begin to release their fragrance for a unique and relaxing experience.  

You'll never find any herbs grown with synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides in our bath bags or bath salts. And they're available in several amazing scents.  

 

lavender bath bag

You can purchase our bath salts and bags on our web store via the links above. ***They're also available at our new store at 1713 Main Street in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. We'll be open on Saturday, January 26th and then every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10-6 through March 31st. When April arrives, the store will be open for our soon-to-be-established spring and summer hours.  

Watch for more store news right here on our blog, and on our Facebook and Instagram pages.  

For more on our fantastic line of organic body care products, check out these articles:  

 

Herbal organic bath salts and bath bags are used for relaxation and to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. #herbalproducts #bathsalts

Posted 12/13/2018 2:46pm by Cherry Valley Organics.

Looking for the perfect gift for a friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor? How about a weekly or bi-weekly bouquet of fresh-cut, colorful, organic blooms? Heck, maybe you'd even like one for yourself! Our organic bouquet subscription service in Pittsburgh makes it easy for you or a treasured friend to enjoy fresh-cut blooms throughout the growing season. Here's how it works.  

organic cut flowers in Pittsburgh

What is a flower bouquet subscription?  

Each week we cut thousands of stems of vibrant blooms from the fields on our USDA Certified Organic farm near Pittsburgh. Then, our Grower for Herbs and Flowers, Allie Logue, and the rest of our team, arranges the flowers into stunning seasonal bouquets. Some of these bouquets go to our farm share subscribers with their weekly box of produce, others go to out for sale at our stand at the Sewickley Farmers Market. But, dozens more bouquets are hand-arranged daily just for our organic flower bouquet subscription customers.  

Once the bouquets are built, it's time to deliver them. Our weekly or bi-weekly subscription bouquets are delivered to convenient neighborhood pick up sites all around Western Pennsylvania on a designated day of the week. You (or your gift recipient) just need to stop by and pick up your bouquet. It's that simple. We currently have pick up sites in Lawrenceville, Mt. Lebanon, Squirrel Hill, Upper St. Clair, Sewickley, Burgettstown, Cannonsburg, Crafton Heights, Southpointe, Oakdale, New Brighton, with more sites to come in 2019! We also have a pick up site in Columbiana, Ohio.  

Weekly flower delivery in Pittsburgh

What will you find in your organic bouquet?  

We grow over 200 different varieties of flowers here at our Pittsburgh-area farm. Because each and every flower is grown on-site, you'll find that our bouquets are filled with a successional parade of seasonal flowers. In the spring, you'll likely find bright yellow daffodils, iris, and larkspur; summer may bring such beauties as lilies, zinnias, and yarrow; and autumn bouquets are graced with the likes of amaranth, gomphrena, and sunflowers. Each bouquet is guaranteed to be cheerful and as fresh as can be.  

At the end of this article, you'll find lots of photos of our gorgeous bouquets from last season. They're great examples of what you can expect.  

bouquet subscription service in Pittsburgh

How many bouquets do you receive with the subscription?  

Our flower bouquet subscription season runs for 20 weeks, starting in mid-May and running through early October. The total number of bouquets you receive depends on how frequently you'd like them to be delivered. 

organic flower farm near pittsburgh

How to sign up for our organic flower bouquet subscription service in Pittsburgh  

We have a subscription to suit every budget! Flower subscriptions are available for small, medium, or large bouquets for $15, $20, and $25 a week, respectively. You can choose to have any size bouquet delivered to your chosen pick up site on a weekly, bi-weekly, or even a monthly basis. Weekly bouquet subscribers receive 20 bouquets per season, bi-weekly receive 10, and monthly subscribers receive 5 gorgeous bouquets each season.  

This is really the perfect gift for hard-to-buy-for friends, family, and colleagues!  

To check on the pricing of each different option, or to sign up for our organic bouquet subscription service, click here  

Pittsburgh cut flower farm

For more on our farm and the organic flowers we grow, check out the following articles:

Here are more of our gorgeous organic cut flower bouquets! 

locally grown flowers in Pittsburgh

organic local cut flower bouquets Pittsburgh area

flower grower Pittsburgh

bouquet delivery local organic flowers Pittsburgh region

Posted 12/6/2018 11:31am by Cherry Valley Organics.

We've been making our certified organic, handmade soap for over a decade. Our soap-making process begins by selecting only the finest ingredients, some of which we grow ourselves right here on our Pennsylvania farm. All of the plant-based ingredients we can't grow on the farm are sustainably sourced, and none of our products are ever tested on animals. We make our natural handmade soaps in small batches, completely by hand.  

Handmade organic soaps for sale

While our selection of handmade soap varieties changes with the seasons, here are our core varieties.  

Click the name of each soap for more on that variety or to make a purchase. 

 

Join our Soap of the Month Club to receive an assortment of our natural handmade soaps. Choose 1, 3, or 6 bars per month, and shipping is included in the price. Click here to sign up. 

Handmade soap company

What makes our handmade soap different?  

Our natural handmade soaps are not detergents, so they're softer on skin than most mass-produced soaps. We use essential oils to naturally scent our organic soaps, not artificial fragrances. And, we skip the artificial dyes, opting to use various combinations of herbs instead.  

Every ingredient is listed on the label, and many of our soaps are vegan. We do have a few that contain beeswax, so be sure to read the ingredient list for confirmation.  

Handmade soaps for sale

As USDA certified organic farmers, it's important that our handmade soap contains responsibly sourced ingredients. You may have heard recent concerns about the effect of palm oil farming on wildlife. Rest assured that our soaps contain certified organic palm oil that's sustainably grown in a way that does not destroy wildlife habitat. In fact, other than the beeswax included in some of our recipes, we don't use any animal products at all. That means that, unlike most big, national brands, our handmade soap selections do not contain beef fat/tallow (sodium tallowate).  

Lavender tea tree soap

The saponification process combines a fatty acid with a base (sodium hydroxide, a.k.a. lye, for bar soaps and potassium hydroxide for liquid soaps). Many big-brand soaps use beef tallow as the fatty acid, and it's most often sourced as a by-product of the factory farming industry. The fatty acids we use in our soaps, however, are only vegetable based. We use various combinations of olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil in the saponification process.

The USDA Organic Certification Standards do allow for the use of sodium hydroxide (lye) as the base in the saponification process as it's required for the chemical reaction to occur. Nothing else can saponify oil into soap, and since all of the sodium hydroxide is consumed and neutralized during the reaction, no lye remains in the finished soap. Glycerine soaps are also made by using lye in the initial steps of the saponification process.

natural handmade soap company

How to purchase our handmade soap varieties  

Where you can find our handmade soaps for sale:   

  1. Our natural handmade soap is available for purchase from our online store. We ship our soaps to customers across the U.S.
  2. Our soaps are also available at our in-season farm market booth on Saturday mornings in Sewickley, PA.
  3. In addition, you'll find a full selection of our handmade soap at our store at 1713 Main St in Burgettstown, PA.  

 

For more on our natural body care products, check out the following articles:

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family    

Organic handmade soap is different from most big soap brands in some major ways. Discover how both are made and why you should be choosing small-batch soaps instead of the big brands. #naturalsoaps #handmadesoaps

Posted 11/20/2018 4:11pm by Cherry Valley Organics.

We're beyond thrilled to announce the opening of the Cherry Valley Organics Holiday Market in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, just a 30 minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh! The store's Grand Opening is on Friday, November 23rd, 2018 at 10:00am. Come celebrate this exciting new endeavor with us!

Cherry Valley Organics Soaps

More about our new Holiday Market  

Our beautiful new retail space is located in the recently refurbished Burgettstown Train Station, a replica of the 133-year-old former Pennsylvania Railroad Company Station in Washington County. Located just steps from the popular Panhandle Trail, the Cherry Valley Organics Holiday Market is easily accessible and offers plenty of parking.  

Burgettstown Train Station

Not far from where the Panhandle Trail intersects with the Montour Trail, the store is perfectly located to become a popular destination for the cyclists, walkers, joggers, and families who frequent the trail on a daily basis. With no other retail space along the trail for a long stretch between McDonald, PA and Weirton, WV, our store will eventually provide provisions, such as water, snacks, and supplies, to those traveling on the trail year-round. Come spring, the store will be transformed into a farm market, filled with our organic produce, cut flowers, and other fresh, seasonal goodies from the farm. There will also be a coffee/tea shop, featuring our locally grown organic herbal teas. 

Cherry Valley Organics Farm Market and Cafe

But for now, our store is stocked with holiday gifts, most of which were handmade at our nearby organic farm. Stop by during store hours to see our wide assortment of small-batch organic soaps, body care products, herbal teas, and gorgeous gift baskets. We also have a selection of SERRV International products. These handmade, fair trade items are sourced from around the world and serve to empower small-scale artisans and farmers in impoverished communities to break the cycle of poverty. Shopping at our store gives you the opportunity to both support our small, local business and many others around the world.  

Burgettstown Train Station Store

In addition, the Cherry Valley Organics Holiday Market has potted succulents and Amaryllis and paperwhite planters to give as Christmas gifts. We also have dried flower bouquets and wreaths, as well as fresh spruce wreaths to decorate your door for the holidays.  

Farm Market and Cafe in Burgettstown

Store location and hours  

Store location: 1713 Main Street,  Burgettstown, PA  15021  

Store hours for the holiday season: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays through December 23rd 10:00am to 6:00pm  

The shop is decorated for the season and ready for our November 23rd Grand Opening. Come for the free coffee, tea, and holiday cookies on opening weekend and see everything the new Cherry Valley Organics Holiday Market has to offer!  

Store in Burgettstown

Tags: store
Posted 11/16/2018 10:01am by Cherry Valley Organics.

Herbal salves like those we make here at our certified organic farm are useful for soothing irritated muscles and healing damaged, chapped, or dry skin. Our salve recipes combine essential oils, herbs, and beeswax to create one of a kind blends. Like all of our products, our salves are certified organic by the USDA.  

How to make herbal salves

Types of herbal salves  

Our herbal salves are handmade in small batches using organic ingredients. We offer four different salves, each of which has unique healing properties. All are made from a base of olive oil and beeswax infused with various herbs and fragrant oils.  

  • Comfrey Salve: Contains a blend of herbs known to heal small cuts and extra dry, cracked skin.
  • Comfrey Lavender Salve: This fragrant salve includes lavender essential oil and extracts of herbs to repair damaged skin.
  • Herbal Vapor Salve: Our organic answer to a popular brand of vapor rub is a combination of eucalyptus, camphor, and peppermint oils known to clear sinuses and ease breathing during cold and flu season.
  • Muscle Soothing Salve: Combines cayenne, camphor, and arnica to create a muscle-soothing blend that soothes sore muscles after exercise or injury.  

 

Making organic herbal salves

How to make salve the Cherry Valley Organics way  

Handcrafting herbal salves is an art that we take very seriously. Using only the highest quality oils and herbs grown right here on the farm, each batch is carefully crafted using the following technique.  

Step 1: Warm the carrier oil. First we create a double boiler by putting about 1.5-2" of water in a pot and turning the burner on medium-high heat. Then, we place a glass pouring jar into the pot and partially fill it with carrier oil. To minimize allergic reactions, we use olive oil as our carrier oil instead of a nut oil.  

Warming olive oil for salve making

Step 2: Select herbs for your salve. We use various blends of comfrey, lavender, calendula, chamomile, plantain, chickweed, and yarrow grown at the farm and selected for their skin-healing properties. The herbs are placed inside an unbleached, natural cotton muslin bag for easy removal, and then the bag is put into the carrier oil. An alternative option is to put the herbs directly into the oil and then strain the oil through cheesecloth when the herbs are ready for removal. We use fresh herbs if we have them available which gives the salve a slightly green tint, but dried herbs work well, too.  

Herbs for salve making

Step 3: Infuse the oil with the herbs. Let the herbs steep in the warm oil for 1-2 hours. Be careful to replenish the water as it evaporates. The water should be heated to boiling initially and then turned down to simmer throughout the 1-2 hours.  

How to make salve

Step 4: Melt in the beeswax. After 1-2 hours passes, it's time to remove the bag of herbs. Then, beeswax is added to the oil and the mixture is heated until the beeswax is fully melted.  

Melting beeswax for salve

Step 5: Add essential oils and a natural preservative. Once the beeswax is liquid, we add a preservative to keep the salve fresh (we use rosemary antioxidant from Mountain Rose Herbs). We also mix in essential oils to add fragrance at this time.   

Essential oils for salve making

Step 6: Pour into jars. After mixing in the essential oils, it's time to pour the finished liquid salve into glass jars. As the jars cool, the salve solidifies.

Filling salve jars 

Step 7: Put on the lid and label. As soon as the jars have fully cooled, it's time to put on the lids and labels.

How to make herbal salve 

While the salve-making process isn't complicated, our quality recipes and herbal combinations make our salves the finest available. Extensive positive feedback from our customers tells us that they wholeheartedly agree!  

You'll find all of our salves available here.  

We also offer a Herbal Salve Gift Crate that contains three different salves in a rustic wooden crate. 

sore muscle salve

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family

Tags: salves
Posted 10/18/2018 9:30am by Cherry Valley Organics.

Beets might be humble-looking on the outside, but on the inside, they're packed with flavor and nutrition. Consuming a beet root infuses your body with potassium, manganese, folic acid, and lots of fiber. And if you enjoy the greens, you're boosting your levels of calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C. Beets are one of our favorite crops to grow here at the farm because they're cold- and heat-tolerant, easy to grow using organic techniques, and a favorite of our customers.  

Harvested Beets from Cherry Valley Organics Farm

The low-down on beets  

Like carrots and Swiss chard, beets are biennial. This means the first year of growth, the plant produces only a root and greens. The second year of growth, they flower and set seeds, but only if the roots manage to overwinter in the field or garden. If you garden in a milder climate, the plants will easily survive the winter. But, here in Pennsylvania, in order to overwinter beets, you have to protect the roots with a thick layer of mulch, a cold frame, or a polytunnel. Because of this, in cold regions like ours, beets are typically grown as an annual crop where they're planted and harvested within the same season.  

Beets ready for harvest

Beets are a multi-purpose crop. Not only are the roots delicious roasted, sautéed, and baked, but the greens are super flavorful when stir fried, braised, or sautéed with a bit of garlic and olive oil.  

One of the most unique features of beets is that almost all varieties have multigerm seeds. This means that each seed consists of a grouping of embryos, rather than just one. The result is multiple plants emerging from each seed, making thinning absolutely necessary if you want to grow large roots.  

Beet varieties  

A healthy, productive beet crop starts with selecting the right varieties. While there are dozens of beet varieties available from seed companies, we're particularly fond of these three:  

'Red Ace': This old-fashioned, deep red beet has long been a favorite of farmers, gardeners, and cooks. The roots have a classic beet flavor that sweetens even more when the plants have been exposed to frosts. With green tops and high germination rates, 'Red Ace' has been a staple on our farm for many seasons.  

Red Ace beets

'Bull's Blood': If you enjoy eating beautiful and flavorful beet greens, then this is the variety for you! Yes, the fleshy, red roots are super-flavorful, but the greens steal the culinary show on this variety. Rather than being green, the foliage on 'Bull's Blood' is a crimson red, making it as beautiful on the plate as it is in the garden.  

Bull's Blood beets

'Touchstone Gold': If you've spied a 'Touchstone Gold' beet at our farm stand or in your box of farm share goodies, then you know what a beautiful beet this is. Deep orange skin surrounds golden yellow flesh that retains its bright color when cooked. The sweet flavor of this variety is a real standout, and since the roots don't "bleed" red when they're cooked, 'Touchstone Gold' is great for use in stir fries and steamed or roasted veggie mixes.  

Touchstone Gold beets

How to sow and grow beets  

Here at the farm, Tim plants beets by direct sowing the seeds into the field. While you can start beet seeds indoors under grow lights in the late winter and then transplant the young seedlings out into the garden when spring arrives, we find it's far easier to plant the seeds right out into the field. The seeds are sown about one-half inch deep and three inches apart in early spring. Beets are very cold tolerant, so they're typically one of the first crops to be planted each spring. Then, we continue to sow more seeds every four weeks throughout the growing season. This enables us to have a continuous harvest of roots and greens for our customers.  

Sowing beet seeds in the garden

Once the seedlings are an inch or two tall, they're thinned by hand. We select the largest plant in each cluster and pull the weaker ones out to give the remaining plants plenty of room to grow.  

Beet rows can be mulched with straw or shredded leaves to limit competition from weeds and keep the soil moisture levels even, but this isn't necessary as long as you're willing to weed and water when it's necessary.  

When to harvest beets

Harvesting beets  

As mentioned earlier, beets produce multiple harvests.

  • Beet greens can be enjoyed as baby greens raw in salad mixes when they're just an inch or two high.
  • Mature beet greens can be cut or pinched from the roots for cooking. You can harvest all the greens from a root, or just take the older leaves and allow the younger ones to continue to grow. Beet roots left in the ground will continue to produce new leaves all season long. 
  • Roots can be picked young and prepared as gourmet baby beets when they reach the size of a ping pong ball. They'll be more tender and will cook faster, too.
  • Mature roots are best harvested when they're the size of a tennis ball. Letting them grow too large could mean pithy, fibrous roots that aren't as sweet. But, if you plan to pickle your beets, any size will do.  

Harvesting and storing beets

Storing beets  

For the longest shelf-life, store unwashed beet roots in a plastic bag in the fridge after cutting of the tops. Leave an inch of the stems attached to keep the root from "bleeding" out moisture in storage.  

You can also store beets in a cold cellar that's between 45-32 degrees F. For this method, pack the roots with their greens removed in layers of slightly damp sand in a plastic or wooden crate.  

If you grow beets in your garden, you can also store the roots right in the ground by mulching your beet-growing bed with 5 inches of straw. When you're ready to harvest, simply pull back the straw and pull out however many roots you'd like. Then, put the mulch back in place. With this method, you'll have beets to enjoy throughout most of the winter.  

For more information about the crops we grow here at Cherry Valley Organics, check out the following articles:

 

From, The Cherry Valley Organics Farm Family

Sowing, Growing, and Harvesting Beets