Soak up the sun: Natural skin care recipes for summer

22 May

outdoor essential oil recipes

By Charlynn Avery

When I think of summer, I am filled with visions of time spent outdoors enjoying the warm weather. It is very much in our nature to move our lives outside to soak up the sun like the plants that are heavily in bloom. But along with the fun and days full of sunshine, summer brings a variety of issues that we all face as we expose our skin to the outdoors.

To keep skin healthy, glowing and protected – consider using essential oils and natural skin care oils to care for your skin.  Some ways to incorporate essential oils in your summer skin routine: Continue reading

Summer’s bounty: Asparagus

14 May

This kicks off our summer series about enjoying in-season organic produce. Learn simple tips for highlighting summer’s bounty in fresh, well-spiced meals!

By Tom Havran

Could there be a better-tasting or healthier vegetable to kick off the fresh produce season at your local market than springtime asparagus? These emerald green spears burst from the ground containing a complex flavor of earthy, sulfurous minerality and vibrantly green vegetal sweetness.


Simply Organic Garlic ‘n’ Herb and Grind to a Salt make perfect seasonings for simple, grilled asparagus.

How to prepare it: There’s simply no wrong way to enjoy asparagus — except overly boiled into mush! Steam and adorn with butter, salt and pepper, grill with olive oil and garlic, broil with balsamic vinegar, or munch raw with a seasoned creamy yogurt dip.

Spices and herbs to complement: Try asparagus with delicate, green herbs like parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil. Continue reading

Clean up your environment pre-baby with homemade cleaning products and more

9 May

By Tom Havran

Bringing a baby into the world often sparks a fundamental lifestyle reset for caring and conscientious parents. In an effort to create the safest, most nurturing environment for the new arrival, we start paying attention to everything in our home environment, from the food we eat, to the body care products we use, to the household products we clean with.

Here’s a short list of tips to detox your life and create a healthy, safe environment for your baby pre- and post-arrival:

Clean up your cleaning routine. Babies and the whole family need clean air and clean surroundings in the home if they’re going to thrive. One way to help ensure this is to switch to natural products for cleaning, laundry and dishwashing — or make your own homemade cleaning products.

Eat organic. Pregnancy is an important time to think carefully about your nutrition and the quality of every bite you take. You don’t have to make all the changes alone — consider switching your whole growing family’s diet to organic food, which will go a long way toward keeping pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and genetically modified foodstuffs out of your food supply. It’s not always possible to eat a 100 percent organic diet, so in such cases, concentrate on whole, unprocessed and locally grown foods and produce. Consult the Environmental Working Group’s periodic posting of the cleanest and dirtiest produce (in terms of pesticide residue), and make certain that you thoroughly wash fresh produce with a natural commercial wash. Or make your own natural wash with this recipe: Continue reading

6 natural, DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas

30 Apr

AC Mothers Day Gift Guide Blog Header

By Alan Miles

Looking for a fun DIY Mother’s Day idea for a mom who would appreciate a natural gift? Here are six ways to make mom happy — with specific recipes and ideas for each.

1. Give her flowers.

Essential oils can capture the entrancing scent of flowers and keep them available for a long, long time. Give Mom a “bouquet” of roses with a basket of Rose Absolute or Rose Otto Precious Essentials ™, rosehip oilrosehips tea and dried rose sachet. If she prefers the relaxing scent of lavender, fill her basket with lavender essential oillavender foam bath and dried lavender sachet.

How about some flowers to drink? If Mom’s a tea drinker, you’ll delight her with a selection of flower teas such as hibiscuscalendulachamomile and jasmine.

gluten free lemon poppy seed scones

2. Treat her with sweets.

Sweets have a good reputation for expressing love. DIY treats are especially “sweet” — try whipping up one of these special baking recipes for her:

  • Mom probably tried to sneak some natural nutrition into your snacks when you were little. Now you can return the favor by making some Sneaky Blueberry Muffins for Mother’s Day. There’s some unexpected nourishment from vegetable or fruit puree worked into the recipe.
  • If your mom is one of the growing number of people who is committed to or exploring gluten-free eating, these Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Scones (pictured above) will be the perfect treat to celebrate the day.
  • Another take on that tantalizing lemon-poppy seed flavor is the Czech pastry, the kolache. A little baking experience is helpful for making our Lemon Poppy Seed Kolaches, but the results are authentically delicious!
  • Your “sweets for the sweet” theme doesn’t have to involve a caloric intake. This cocoa butter-based Chocolate Body Butter recipe will nourish Mom’s skin and fill the air with a delightful floral-sweet and chocolatey aroma.

Continue reading

My Earth Day wish: Treat climate change as an alien attack

22 Apr

FR WEB Earth Day Wish 04-14

By Alan Miles

During a speech before the United Nations in 1987, President Ronald Reagan suggested the world would stand together as one if aliens invaded Earth:

Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize our common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.

I suggest that on Earth Day, the governments of the world announce they’ve discovered that climate change is the work of extraterrestrial beings intent on destroying earth, rather than something we’re foolishly doing to ourselves. Perhaps that will unite us in worldwide action. It’s not too late, but we need to get going. Continue reading

Dedicating The Kathy Krezek Larson Tallgrass Prairie

18 Apr

By Alan Miles

tallgrass prairie

Kathy with the sign for the newly-dedicated prairie.

The Frontier prairie located at our headquarters in Norway, Iowa, was dedicated as The Kathy Krezek Larson Tallgrass Prairie upon the retirement of Vice President of Sustainability Kathy Larson this spring.

tallgrass prairie

Kathy with Frontier CEO Tony Bedard at the surprise dedication ceremony, where she saw the sign and dedication plaque for the first time.

Kathy had a profound influence on Frontier in her three decades of work here. Her knowledge of herbs and aromatherapy was key to establishing Frontier’s expertise in those areas, she established our uncompromising product standards as quality assurance manager, and she was central to the development of Frontier’s social responsibility programs. Continue reading

Tea as a warm weather treat

15 Apr

Iced tea

By Tom Havran

A steaming cup of freshly-brewed tea is a warming delight for the cold winter season, but not nearly as crave-worthy as the weather warms. If tea is part of your daily ritual, don’t abandon it during spring and summer — turn your favorite brew into a cool and heavenly warm weather treat.

Below, a few of my favorite ways to enjoy tea during the spring and summer:

Basic iced tea

Black and green iced tea are wholesome and fortifying ways to quench thirst. For the best flavor, and to avoid cloudy iced tea, follow these tips:

  • Use whole, loose leaf tea (not bags). Whole tea creates a robust flavor without the bitter tannins of the broken leaf in tea bags.
  • Use filtered or distilled water to brew your tea. Avoid hard or treated tap water because any minerals or salts in the water can interfere with the natural flavor of the tea leaves.
  • Use 1½ to 2 times the regular measure of tea leaves to compensate for the ice dilution.
  • Sweeten the tea before you add the ice.
  • Allow the tea to reach room temperature before adding the ice.

Continue reading

The signs are obvious: Facing cinnamon supply pressure

11 Apr


By Cole Daily

One of my favorite movies, The Man with Two Brains, has a scene where Steve Martin’s character is talking to the portrait of his deceased wife and asking her for a sign — even the smallest of signs, anything at all — to indicate whether he should marry a new love he’s come across. As he asks the portrait above the fireplace for guidance, the house starts to shake like a violent earthquake has hit, a voice out of nowhere says emphatically, ”No! No!,” and the portrait begins to spin like a roulette wheel on the wall. It all stops, and Martin implores, “Just give me a sign, any type of sign.” He then goes about marrying the new woman.

“What does this scene have to do with the price of cinnamon in Indonesia?” you ask. We’re getting signs from all over the world that are about as subtle as the ones Martin’s character was getting from the portrait — signs that things are changing in the realm of spices.

A changing environment
There’s not a trip that I go on where a farmer doesn’t express concern about changing climactic conditions and how it’s affecting his crops. Also, land is becoming scarce. Land that was once used for growing spices is now being utilized for food crops or alternative fuel crops like jatropha (an inedible, evergreen shrub cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions), switch grass and corn. Companies as well as countries are buying arable land in Africa and Asia so that they can feed growing populations and meet the need for more fuel. There is every indication that spice prices will continue to rise (they have risen in the marketplace by over 50 percent since 2008), quality will probably suffer, and overall availability will be hindered.

As a spice supplier, we are constantly confronted with individual situations growing out of this changing environment. Continue reading

Kid-friendly spring snack ideas

3 Apr

By Sara Mallicoat

After a brutal Iowa winter — when even my 3-year-old said we needed to move elsewhere — I am over the bitter cold and ready to stop hibernating. This year, I used my hibernation time to master some tasty creations that satisfied my pickiest eater and fed my obsession with sneaking fruits and vegetables into every meal!

If you’re like me, and hear, “Mommy, I’m hungry,” every two hours, then you understand the need to have healthy, kid-friendly (and husband-approved!) snacks constantly on hand. I use organic ingredients wherever possible, which makes my heart happy knowing that I lovingly made something nutritious and tasty that my family loves.

Below are a few of my current favorite recipes. While the deviled eggs and hummus are special occasion treats for us, we make the muffins and roasted chickpeas almost weekly. Happy spring — enjoy!

Spring Snacks-8

Sneaky Blueberry Muffins: These may look like your typical blueberry muffins, but they’re hiding a healthful secret. Packed inside is a cup of whatever vegetable or fruit puree you have on hand (our favorite is squash or half squash, half sweet potato). Get the recipe. Continue reading

How to make a house a home with aromatherapy

27 Mar
A beautiful late-winter Iowa sunset pouring through the windows in my home.

A stunning, late-winter Iowa sunset pouring through the windows in my home.

By Tom Havran

I just built a house with my partner of 21 years, and it was the most stressful thing I’ve ever attempted. It’s the first house I’ve built — and it will be the last if I can help it! Inclement weather delayed groundbreaking for two months and completion by four. Costs were underestimated by about a third. The building site was broken into twice and thousands of dollars in equipment and materials were stolen. The endless decision-making on every fixture, feature, appliance, color, floor covering, door latch, ad infinitum, was like brokering the end of WW III. But finally, our house is done and we’re moving in. We’ve weathered the stressful process and made a long-yearned for dream a beautiful reality, and we’re grateful.

We’re most grateful for the learning that comes from building a home. We discovered it’s not the square footage, the upscale fixtures or the comfortable furnishings that create a sense of place, it’s the people and the love that the house shelters that are its most precious features. In building a house, we’ve come to know what it truly takes to create a home. Thieves can steal all the stuff in your house, a tornado can blow it down, or a fire can consume it, but if you still have one another, then you still have what it takes to have a home.

Home aromatherapy — diffusing the therapeutic properties of essential oils into your home — is another intangible that can help make your house a home. Scents have a powerful effect on our emotional well-being and some help us feel comfortable and secure — ideal for a home environment. Here are a few of the oils that are helping us make our new house a home: Continue reading


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