Producer of the Week: Hippie Soap Company

Handcrafted speciality soaps from Hippie Soap Company. Photo credit: Copper Lantern Pictures

Handcrafted speciality soaps from Hippie Soap Company. Photo credit: Copper Lantern Pictures

Hippie Soap Company is a new producer this year at the UM Farmers Market. In fact, they’re a new company entirely.  “We had been buying craft soap from other vendors,” said Stephanie Oram, co-owner of Hippie Soap. “We read books and blogs on soap making and decided to start our company in September of last year.”

Stephanie and her business partner Henry Toroni make a number of handcrafted soaps, lotions, and lip balms. In their first visit to the market, they found their unscented lotion bars, as well as their Moroccan Mint, Lavender, and Patchouli Tie Dye soaps sold very well. “We’re still learning what our most popular products are going to be,” Henry said. By talking to patrons, they learned a great deal about people’s allergies to certain scents. This information was valuable, they said, because it will help them think about the products they produce for the market.

Henry and Stephanie were drawn to the UM Farmers Market based on its proximity to their business. Once here, they found they liked the setting and the patrons. “It was really nice meeting people from the neighborhood today,” said Stephanie.

If you’re wondering, the name Hippie Soap came from Henry and Stephanie thinking about using the initials of their first names – H and S. That evolved into Hippie Soap “because making soap is a hippie thing to do,” said Stephanie. If you haven’t yet met Henry and Stephanie, please visit them at the market this week to browse their great selection of bar soaps, solid lotions, lip lotions, and men’s shaving soap.

PRODUCER SPECIAL: In honor of being selected Producer of the Week, Hippie Soap will be selling its lotion bars for $3. That’s $1 off the original price. Stop by their booth and take advantage of this special pricing!

Happy Birthday to Us!

UMFM Planning Committee members and market volunteers celebrate the market's 6th season of operation.

UMFM Planning Committee members and market volunteers celebrate the market’s 6th season of operation. Photo credit: Copper Lantern Pictures.

On May 30th, we celebrated the start of our sixth season of operation. The celebration included birthday cake that was cut and distributed by Erika Spott and Kelly Meneeley, the two originators of the Upper Merion Farmers Market and its first market managers. The celebration also included a gift to our patrons in the form of a UMFM Loyalty Card. Each week patrons can bring any market purchase to the UMFM Information Booth for a card punch. Ten punches earn the patron a prize from the market’s prize basket which contains sample items from our vendors, as well as market t-shirts, bags, magnets and more.

The market began in January of 2009. Spott and Meneeley started the UMFM by bringing together a group of 10 volunteers who were committed to serving the Upper Merion community through small business development and access to local, sustainable food choices. As a planning committee, the group raised money, found interested vendors, secured a market location, and began to spread the news about King of Prussia’s first farmers market. Four short months later, the UMFM opened for its first season in May 2009.

Today, many of those same volunteers continue to be active on the UMFM Planning Committee. Those original volunteers include Erika Spott, Eric Huhn, Tina Garzillo, Alice and George Koresko, Dawn Francis, Carole Kenney, and Lydia Dan Sardiñas, the current UMFM Market Manager. The planning committee has now grown to include new members as well, including Kristine Goodwin, Lauren Dare, and Maria Mengel. Several other dedicated individuals donate their time each Saturday to ensure the successful operation of the market.

The market has grown in operation from a dozen vendors at the start to more than twenty vendors today. Livengood Family Farm, Spring Creek Farms, and Peachbottom Farm/Wakefield Dairy were three original producers who remain with us in our sixth season. We also have local growers and producers of fresh flowers, speciality baked goods, honey, wine, pasta and spreads, meats, soaps, foods for special diets, and more.

All of us who volunteer our time to run the market amidst our daily full-time jobs are grateful for the community’s patronage and grateful for our vendors and volunteers who are like family to us. Thank you for being an essential part of the UM Farmers Market! As we celebrate our birthday this year, we also celebrate you for being with us as loyal customers and friends.

Producer of the Week: Spring Creek Farms

IMG_2074This season we’re doing something new to honor our terrific producers. Each week, we’ll highlight one of our producers, artisans, entertainers, or volunteers and shine a spotlight on the great contributions they make to the market. We’ll highlight these individuals here on our blog, in our e-newsletter, through out social media, and at the market itself each week.

Our first Producer of the Week for the 2015 market season is Spring Creek Farms. Spring Creek is one of the market’s original producers and a long time UMFM “family member.” Spring Creek’s mission is to raise the healthiest food possible and be good stewards of the environment. Forrest and Greg Stricker’s family has been farming their land for five generations. They have been a certified organic farm since 1999, though they’ve been chemical free since 1991. In addition, the cows at Spring Creek are 100% grass fed. Patrons don’t need to worry about GMO contamination in their beef or soy in their eggs.

Spring Creek’s most popular products are their raw milk and brown eggs. On hot summer days or crisp fall mornings at the market, their milkshakes are popular among patrons of all ages.

Josh Swope, a worker at Spring Creek Farms, wants us to know that he’s up at 3:45 a.m. in the morning milking the cows. He says it’s important for patrons to know that he and others actually work the farm, as well as bring the products to the market. So, they can talk knowledgeably about them.

What Josh likes most about the market is talking to the patrons. “They’re like family,” he said. And we feel the same about Josh and Spring Creek!

PRODUCER SPECIAL:  In honor of being Producer of the Week, Spring Creek is offering a special on their eggs. This Saturday, May 23rd, the eggs will be $5 per dozen. Forrest Stricker says these eggs are “organic, free range and soy free with golden yolks that you have to take and see to believe!” Stop by Spring Creek’s booth this weekend and pick up a dozen of their delicious eggs!

Welcome to our 6th Market Season!

Tomorrow is opening day of our sixth market season! We hope to see you there!umfm

This year we’re welcoming back a number of our local producers and artisans from previous years.
Some of these producers have been with us from the start, making the market feel a lot like a close-knit family. And we’re pleased to welcome several new local producers this year, selling a wide-range of products from gourmet cupcakes to artisan soaps to nutrient-dense foods for special diets.

Opening day will feature a Chicken BBQ event. Bring your appetite! The market will partner with Swedesburg Fire Company to provide grilled chicken and tasty side dishes. For more information, check out our Events page of the website or our UMFM Facebook page.

Stop by to say hello tomorrow between 9am to 1pm – rain or shine! We’re eager to see you!