Friday, September 19, 2008

FDA Globalization Act

Soon many of us could be out of business due to the FDA Globalization Act that is being proposed. This was originally designed to keep our food safe, which is a good thing. Yet somehow our little home-based companies came to be included.

What this means to us is that each and every product we make would have mandated testing at a cost of thousands of dollars per product. It also means that the cost of each ingredient, which are the same oils you use in the kitchen to cook with, would require the same testing and subsequent costs.

What does this mean to you? Well think about the your currently soaring food costs and know that olive oil and every other oil that you use in your kitchen will now be prohibitively priced. 

Are you missing having lettuce on a regular basis because you can no longer afford it? There is more to follow if this legislation goes through. All of your food supplies will be affected. 

Cosmetic companies of all sizes will have comply or go out of business. Our small handmade home based companies will cease to exist and no longer will you and your skin be able to enjoy the gentleness of vegan soaps. You will be stuck once again with high priced-low quality soaps, if you could afford to purchase even the poorest quality.

Our insurance options for home based operations became limited a couple of years ago. Two companies, Indie and Handmade Beauty Network got together and helped to find a company to insure us at a much higher cost. This high cost alone drove many soap makers out of business.

As soon as I can figure out how to add the link to this blog, you can see for yourself how this new legislation will affect us.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fresh Hops

The harvest of our hop crop took place last weekend and bountiful it was.

Now you may ask dear reader, why we would grow hops? The answer is simple, we love beer and they look so pretty!

Hops come from a rhizome that is planted near a trellis or wall which will support it's weight. Harvest takes place in late August or early September when the pretty cones start to have a parchment type look and just begin to open. When you squeeze the cones, a lovely beer fragrance is emitted.

There has been a world wide shortage of hops in the recent past and prices have reflected this with some going for $15- $24 per pound. One reason is basic supply and demand to deliberately raise the price of the crop. With the need for more bio fuels, some farmers are now planting corn rather than hops.

Jim Koch founder of Boston Beer, which is the maker of Sam Adams beer, offered his stockpile to the smaller breweries. There were so many that clamored for his hops that he had to institute a lottery system. They were gone in a New York minute.

We used to brew our own beer but no longer, due to the time factor. The soap business keeps me really busy.

We now have around 5 pounds of fresh frozen hops available for purchase. If you are interested, you can email me through my website,

So how do you use fresh hops when you are used to the dry pellets? It's really simple. Replace the dry hop pellets with the fresh at at 3:1 ration by weight. You can use these fresh hops for your whole recipe, which gives a unique dry beer flavor, much like you would find in a light beer.

I prefer to use the fresh hops as my last hop step in the beer making process. Yum!!