Exploring a New Frontier

What better way to celebrate National Co-op month than to visit one of our favorite Co-op partners? Last month, our Assistant Director of Purchasing, Retail Sails and Category Coordinator, and Outreach and Education Manager took a trip out to Iowa to visit the Frontier Co-op headquarters and connect with representatives from co-ops around the country. We were able to meet with the CEO, Tony Bedard and hear about their support of Fair Trade and their motto that, “Doing good works.” We toured their production facility and headquarters, learned about their supply chain, and even got to make some DIY products with their bulk items!

Much like our own humble beginnings in a living room in the Old North End, Frontier Co-op began as a two-person operation in 1976 in Eastern Iowa and has grown into a large business purchasing from 6 continents and over 50 countries with a focus on organic and Fair Trade ingredients. You’ll find their spices and herbs in our Bulk department here at the Co-op along with packaged spices in our Grocery aisles and essential oils in Wellness.

While not all of their products are certified organic or Fair Trade, their commitment to sustainable sourcing is reflected in their Well Earth program which, “supports farmers growing organic, sustainable and ethically sourced products with a dependable market for their crops, training, financial assistance and technical support.”

Of their roughly 640 bulk items on offer, 327 are certified organic and 39 are certified Fair Trade. They shared their commitment to working with grower cooperatives who provide many of their products. Some examples were the cooperative in Guatemala that provides their cardamom seed and one in Afghanistan that supplies saffron. This commitment to working with other cooperatives is a great example of the Cooperative Principles in action!

Not sure where to begin in Bulk with all of these options? Check out the guides and recipes below for information on seasoning and spicing different cuisine and instructions for making DIY products. You can “Bulk Up” on Frontier spices and other products every Thursday when we offer 10% off Bulk purchases!

Resources:

Spice Guides

Herb Guides

Body Care & DIY Recipes

DIY Rose Bath Balls

Yield: 6 bath balls 

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 2 days for drying

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Calendula Petals
  • 1 tbsp Whole German Chamomile Flowers
  • 1 tbsp Red Rose Petals
  • 1 fl oz water in 2 ounce mister bottle
  • 30 drops Rose Absolute Essential Oil
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2 to 2.5-inch rectangular or square mold (or round bath ball mold)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add rose absolute essential oil and mix.
  3. Add water from the spritzer, 2 or 3 spritzes at a time. Go slowly – adding too much water at once will cause the mixture to foam.
  4. Continue spritzing water until mixture is the consistency of wet sand and will hold together when formed into small balls.
  5. Spoon mixture into 2 to 2.5-inch rectangular or square mold or round bath ball mold. You can also use your hands to form 2 tablespoons of mixture into individual balls.
  6. Place on parchment paper, a drying rack or other clean, dry surface and allow to dry for 48 hours. Once dry, remove from mold. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
  7. To use, simply drop ball into warm bath. Enjoy!