From Our Farm to Your Bathroom
Our products are handmade in small batches right here in the farmhouse. They are made from scratch to our own formulations and will never include artificial fragrances or colorings.
Our soaps are made using the hot process method, ensuring quality and consistency. All our recipes are moisturizing, vegetarian, dairy free, palm oil free and gluten free. For our vegan customers, any item containing honey (the only non-vegan ingredient in the soaps) details will be provided in the individual product descriptions. We’re proud to say that any lavender or herbs used in our soaps are grown and harvested by us, utilizing organic and sustainable methods. Any fragrance stems solely from herbs, essential oils, and spices, promoting natural goodness.
Our lotions do not have a common base in the way that the soaps do. Each has a different purpose and is formulated for that purpose. We do, however, stay true to our basic principles. We aim to produce consistently high-quality products that do not contain artificial fragrances or coloring. All are vegetarian and some are vegan. (See individual descriptions) Any aroma comes from essential oils, infused oils or the natural smell of the constituent parts. From facial care to foot care each product is made to fulfill a specific need.
Our soap dishes are handmade, for us by a local potter. She does lovely work and we are proud to offer these, especially as we do not possess the necessary skills ourselves. They are works of art and can be used for a wide variety of uses including to hold our soaps and just for the sake of beauty. We believe that everybody deserves a little beauty and indulgence in their everyday lives.
When you purchase from us you are supporting a small farm, women, two wonderful dogs, the LGBTQ+ community and our dream. Thank you.
We are a mother & trans-daughter team who have happily grown herbs together privately for many years. Then two things happened around the turn of the decade that led to creation of Hart Herbs.
Firstly, we had a bumper crop of lavender, so much that we had it all around the house and gave a lot away to friends & neighbors. But we still had a lot and didn’t know what to do with it, so we consulted Dr. Google and Dr. Google suggested, amongst other things that we might like to make lavender soap.
Secondly, we were both home during the great Covid shut down and that led us to ask ourselves what we would like our lives to look like. It was a rare opportunity for us adults to have time to sit down and really think about what we love about our lives and what we would like to change. The single positive that we got from ‘the Covid year’ was that it afforded us the time to take a deep dive into those questions and then research the potential viability of an idea, We wanted to make changes like living closer to nature, working for ourselves and building something of our own.
As with many people, this was a time of transition for us. A time to research and to plan. We worked separately, together and in online classes to learn as much as we could and chose to move forward together to a lifestyle that would feel more natural and authentic to us but that also had a good chance of actually supporting us. And thus the farm was born. Our farm is the base on which our lives and our business are built.
Back to making soap. We researched how to make soap, decided on a recipe and got to work making our first batch. It was awful! It was burned on the bottom, truly ugly and gave us a very fragrant kitchen, but there was no fragrance in the soap! That’s when it became a challenge. Either the soap would win or we would!
After much more research and a lot of trial & error we began to produce soap that was useable. There followed a deeper dive into how to formulate soaps, what various ingredients brought to the party and, after producing many batches, we created our own proprietary soap formulation. We wanted it to be vegan, or at least vegetarian and that is what we have today. All of our soaps are vegetarian & most are vegan. We also needed them to be gluten free, free of coloring and artificial fragrances. We both have sensitive skin & allergies, so we needed something that both of us, & people like us, could use every day.
To this day the fragrance of our soaps comes from herbs, spices, or essential oils only. We even formulated a soap for our dogs which we label, imaginatively, Doggie Soap. ‘The girls’, Pepper & Artemis, are very much a part of our family. We know that this is true of a lot of you and always enjoy chatting with customers at in person sales events. They show us photos of their dogs and we show them ours.
We purchased our land, & home, in late 2021 and created the business of Hart Herbs, officially in early 2022. During the first season we planted mostly lavender & peppermint with a small kitchen herb garden. Then in season two we increased the planting area to include a lot more peppermint, oregano, thyme and rosemary.
We use our harvests in the soap making and by the 2024 harvest we hope to be in a position to sell dried herbs, teas etc. This will mean getting a new outbuilding to use for the washing, drying & bottling (processing) of our herbs. We farm using sustainable & organic methods. It is important to us to be good stewards of the land. We try to use a minimum of mechanization, largely due to the fossil fuel/carbon footprint situation. Likewise in the farmhouse, we have moved from oil to solar and geothermal.
We know that we are privileged to be able to live this lifestyle. During the week we farm and make products then at the weekends we attend markets & craft/artisan fairs. It’s a busy life but we love it. It’s a good balance for us and, of course, we get to take our dogs to work with us most days. We have beautiful views and most days there is no commute. It’s the ultimate work at home life!
At the time of writing, we just succeeded in satisfying the requirements of Connecticut Consumer Protection which enables us to produce and sell our own line of lotions etc. We will be rolling this out during the holiday shopping season of 2023.
This year we planted saffron for the first time. We intend to sell this goddess of the spice world, for culinary use starting in November/December of 2024. This also, will rely on the new building for processing. If you would be interested in this product please contact us and we will add you to the list so that we can keep you informed. We’re interested in what you would do with it. We use saffron in our own kitchen and love it. We make paella, saffron rice and are working on a recipe for saffron cake.
We aim to build this business of ours to provide a good life, a future and a degree of security to both of us. Our customers are a part of this and we treasure them. We are always open to, and in fact, welcome feedback, suggestions & conversations. Never hesitate to get in touch if you have something to say.
Our commitment to excellence begins with the essentials. Each of our soap blends features a base of high-quality ingredients:
- Olive Oil: An ideal moisturizer, olive oil is renowned for its hydrating properties and is a fundamental component of our soap formula.
- Coconut Oil: An excellent cleanser and moisturizer, coconut oil creates a luxurious lather and lends a silky feel to our soaps.
- Shea Butter: Treasured for its moisturizing and skin-softening properties, shea butter adds a lush, creamy texture to our soaps.
- Castor Oil: Best known for its skin-cleansing and purifying properties, castor oil helps to produce a rich and creamy lather.
- Vegetable Glycerine: This natural humectant helps to retain moisture in the skin, making our soaps gentler and more hydrating.
- Vitamin E Oil: A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E oil nourishes and protects the skin, making our soaps even more beneficial.
- Lye: An essential component in soapmaking, lye facilitates the saponification process. Without it, the product would be a detergent rather than a soap.
All additional ingredients used for specific variations of our soaps will be clearly specified in the individual soap descriptions.
Each of our lotion blends features a base of high-quality ingredients:
- Sweet Almond Oil: An emollient (to soften/soothe skin) which is used extensively in moisturizers & cold creams.
- Jojoba Oil: Known for its similarity to the skin’s natural oils, jojoba oil moisturizes and soothes, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple.
- Cocoa Butter: Known for its rich and softening benefits to the skin.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Known for its soothing, healing, cooling and moisturizing properties for irritated, sensitive or stressed skin. Great for sunburn!
- Calendula Essential Oil: One of the most popular natural skincare ingredients for good reason. Soothing and anti-inflammatory. Useful for minor acne and rosacea.
- Chamomile Essential Oil: We all know about chamomile tea for its calming, sedative effect that helps with anxiety and sleep. The oil is used in skincare for its soothing, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known as an aid for hair conditioning and its ability to lighten fair hair.
- Honey: Used for soothing and healing. For our vegan customers, this is always up front in the labeling. We understand that you shouldn’t need to hunt for it!
- Witch Hazel: Perhaps the most widely used astringent, present in most skin toners and toning lotions.
- Lavender Essential Oil: Believed to have a stimulating effect at the cellular level. This is particularly good for calming irritated or dry skin and its antiseptic qualities.
- Rose Hip Seed Infused Oil: Powerhouse for skincare, retinoids, antioxidants, linoleic acid, vitamin C, vitamin F. Powerful protection against signs of aging.
- Candelilla Wax: A vegetable wax for lotions that will not clog pores. May be helpful for age spots. Contains vitamin A. Suitable for all skin types. This product is softer than beeswax and vegan.
- Beeswax: Used as a thickener/hardener. A natural product of quality but not vegan.
- Soy Wax: Known to contain vitamin E and antioxidants. It is a little softer and creamier than beeswax. It is reputed to be helpful for those with psoriasis, eczema and cracked skin. We have not tried to validate these claims as we do not use the wax for these, medical, purposes. Vegan!
- Shea Butter: A natural vegan moisturizer.
- Coconut Oil: For hydrating the skin. Thought to be anti-inflammatory and therefore used in some eczema treatments. Vegan!
- Coffee: Packed full of antioxidants. Coffee is quickly becoming a major player in natural skincare.
All additional ingredients used for specific variations of our lotions will be clearly specified in the individual lotion descriptions.
We love herbs. They have so many uses and such rich histories. Our goal in this section is to give you an introduction to the herbs that we grow and use in our products. We do not give medical advice or make medical recommendations. The history, folk lore etc. is fun and interesting but not to be relied upon for health issues. We have referenced the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health which, for most herbs, states that there has been insufficient quality research to say anything definite. We all have our own views/beliefs and we have tried to be objective in this section. Some ingredients are popular in skincare products and we have tried to state why such popularity exists.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
We started growing peppermint because, as a child, I would make peppermint patties as a gift for my grandmother at Christmas. They were her favorite candy. I miss my gran and like to keep her memory alive. She was a nurse in England in 1917 and had great stories to share. She and my grandad had a wonderful garden, they grew all their own vegetables and flowers. We aspire to their standards.
Currently we use peppermint from our farm, & peppermint essential oil, in two of our handmade soaps. Peppermint Soap and Stuffy Nose Soap (where it is combined with eucalyptus).
This season we made lots of peppermint tea because Alex drinks that every day & says that “ …our tea just tastes better – fresher …”. Next year we hope to make this tea available to you, our customers. That will require two things, an increased harvest which we are on track for and a new ancillary building where we can wash, dry and package the leaves. We’re hopeful that we will be able to complete that project in time for the 2024 harvest season. Our longer-term goal is to produce our own peppermint essential oil.
History: First time in the London Pharmacopoeia was in 1721 but, there is evidence that it was used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks & Romans as a treatment for digestive disorders. Bags of dried peppermint or peppermint essential oil is used by many, particularly in basements, to deter mice.
Medicinal: Internally used for nausea, morning sickness, indigestion, gastric ulcers, gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, colic, flu (during fever stage), colds. Externally used for upper respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, mucus, asthma, itchy skin conditions, burns, ringworm, neuralgia, rheumatism, and insect repellent. Peppermint essential oil is added to almost all oral hygiene products, face masks, foot lotions, shampoo & conditioners as well as many chewing gums & candies.
From National Center for Complimentary & Integrative Health (Part of National Institutes of Health): Not a lot of research but is being studied for treatment of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). However, rarely causes allergic reaction, may be helpful for colds, flu etc. Topical use may be helpful for tension headaches. Peppermint oil appears to be safe when used topically or orally “in the doses commonly used.” “Peppermint tea, made from peppermint leaves, appears to be safe.”
Note: Never use on/give to infants, excessive use of essential oil can irritate mucous membranes. Can cause allergic reaction.
Magical: Grown in the home for good luck & protection as well as healing & purification. Used in some seasonal celebrations
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
We are from England and the English eat a lot of lamb, much of which is roasted with rosemary (put the herb beneath the meat for the duration of roasting.). And we’ve noticed that the best turkey burgers include ground rosemary, so we include that when we make them at home – and it’s good! In our garden back in England we had a full-size rosemary plant that was about 5’ tall by 5’ wide. It was a sight to behold. We grow the Arp variety for its hardiness in the New England climate; it’s other claim to fame is it’s great flavor.
We make a rosemary soap. In aromatherapy, this herb is known to be invigorating and, I for one, make full use of that attribute. It’s a sad fact of life that I’m slow to fully wake up in the mornings and, therefore, I use my rosemary soap in the shower to help me out with that.
Once the plants are more established we will be able to offer dried rosemary in our product range.
Uses: Shampoos & other hair care products due to its ability to stimulate the circulation of the scalp leading to improved scalp & hair health. Many people add a few drops of the essential oil to their commercial hair care products, particularly good for dark hair.
History: Named from the Latin, Rosmarinus, meaning, dew of the sea, this refers to the flowers on coastal growing plants looking like dew, to those at sea. Historically known as a herb to preserve youth. In France was used in incense while in Spain it was a sacred plant because of the belief that the Virgin Mary had found shelter beneath its branches.
Attributes: In many parts of the world rosemary is a symbol of friendship, fidelity, love, loyalty, & remembrance being carried by brides and mourners alike. Ancient Greek scholars wore rosemary during exams to improve memory & concentration. Rosemary contains a rich tapestry of constituents which provide for a wide variety of attributes & uses including antiseptic, astringent, stimulant, pain killing, & anti-inflammatory qualities.
Culinary: “… lay a sprig beneath roast or baked meat or fish, or add to barbecued lamb or beef. Infuse the leaves in milk for sweet puddings and custards and add a sprig to a jar of sugar to flavor it.” “Rosemary was one of the most popular ale flavoring herbs.” Garland, 1979.
Medicinal: Internally for depression, apathy, nervous exhaustion, headaches &
migraines associated with nervous tension or feeling cold, poor circulation, fluid retention, digestive issues associated with anxiety. Externally for rheumatism, arthritis, neuralgia, muscular injuries, wounds, dandruff, hair
loss. The cognitive benefits provided by (rosemary) and its mechanisms of action are in synchrony with the fundamental pathophysiology of cognitive deficit and the herb could be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Note: Not for use during pregnancy. Excess use may cause convulsions.
Magical: Used for memory, wisdom, protection, healing. Associated with fall celebrations, harvest & reaping. Useful in spells/charms for fidelity & memory/remembrance.
Derived from Greek words oros – mountain and ganos – joy giving us ‘joy of the mountains’. We chose to grow this because it’s a very versatile herb. We use it in the kitchen, particularly in pizza & pasta dishes as well as Greek recipes. For us, together with tomato, it is the essence of the pizza flavor profile. But oregano has many other uses. It is an insect repellant and as such is used for people, pets, and plants alike. This plant is also valued as an immune system support. It seems as though there is almost nothing that oregano cannot do.
We hope to start producing our own dried oregano in the fall of 2024 and, much later, to start producing our own oregano essential oil.
A reflection of the variety of uses for this herb is found in the fact that the oil is used in commercial food flavoring, toiletries, and men’s perfumes.
History: Has been known since ancient times as an antidote for poisons, venom and hemlock.
Medicinal: Contains phytonutrients said to be anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant & have immunity boosting qualities. May be useful for cough, infections & muscle spasms. Used internally, for colds, flu, minor fevers, indigestion, gas, stomach upsets and painful menstruation. Externally, for bronchitis, asthma, arthritis, muscular pain and to kill lice.
Note: Not to be taken during pregnancy. May cause skin irritation.
At our Thanksgiving table you will always find a homemade sage & onion stuffing. The other ingredients can vary widely, bread vs cornbread, with or without sausage, celery, dried cranberries, and so forth. But we always want that sage with the turkey. But it doesn’t end there, we love that stuffing with chicken, sausages, or pork. And then we move away from the kitchen to use sage to cleanse the energies in the home. It is the white sage that is used by Native Americans for this purpose – although this may vary from tribe to tribe. (Smudging.) We also use sage in soups & gravies and our Winter Spice Soap. Yes, soap. Fun Fact: Sage can be picked year-round, even in the snow. Also it is a good producer of pollen, so it’s great for bees.
Our Winter Spice Soap contains sage from our farm, shown here on one of the soap dishes that we have handmade for us by a local potter. (Available on this website.)
History: Common sage (Salvia Officinalis) has been grown in Europe since Medieval times and has been grown in North America since the 17th century. It was used by Native Americans & the Chinese. The Romans used it for fertility and since ancient times it has been used for longevity. In fact, the plants name, Salvia, comes from the Latin Salvere, meaning, to be well or salvation. One of the compounds found in common sage is said to be able to stop perspiration within about two hours.
Uses: Between the many types of sage it has been used for – colds, coughs, asthma, cancer, warts, wounds, sores, fevers, disinfectants, bronchitis, & digestive issues. It has also been used in teas and to flavor beers, for good memory – a sage is another name for a wise person. In skin care sage is used for deodorant, astringent, to close pores, for toning, and to improve circulation.
From National Center for Complimentary & Integrative Health (Part of National Institutes of Health): There have been a few studies of sage for sore throat, mood, memory, diabetes, and blood cholesterol levels. However, the findings are preliminary, and some of the research is of poor quality. Regarding safety, it appears that sage essential oil (high in thujone) may cause seizures. There seems to be insufficient research into the safety of sage during pregnancy and breast feeding, because of the thujone.
Note: If taken in excess the essential oil can be hallucinogenic, addictive and toxic. (We use sage in our cooking frequently and have never suffered such effects, but the oil would be much more concentrated than the leaf.)
Magical: Spiritual purity, cleansing, grounding, centering & to increase desire, fertility & an ingredient in many love potions.
Named from the Latin lavare, meaning ‘to wash’. We started growing lavender because it beautiful in the garden. (I have seen stunning lavender hedges.). We all know that it smells great, that’s why so many people use lavender sachets to keep everything in the undies drawer smelling fresh. We like to hang those little sachets on our Christmas tree. They add a subtle fragrance to the room.
Everyone has heard of lavender for relaxation but it has other uses too. Although the rule of thumb is to never put essential oil, undiluted, directly onto the skin (because it is so concentrated that it will burn), lavender may be the exception. It is often used undiluted on minor burns & scolds. I’m not sure that is good advice for everybody. The old rule of do no harm applies to you yourself, not just others.
History: Lavender was used to scent the waters in Roman baths and was, historically, associated with cleanliness. It was used by the Greeks and Arabs as well as the Romans. Lavender Water dates back to 1615 and lavender bags were used between fabrics to repel moths – the pre-curser of using lavender sachets (formerly called sweet bags) in our drawers. It’s original use in soap was to disguise the smell of soap made with animal fat & ashes. Lavender soap is still a favorite today. And it was originally used in furniture polish to protect against woodworm and is still used in those products today although, sadly, it is often an artificial fragrance. A ’toilet water’ was made in the 14th century but the perfume industry really started in the late 1700s. Artificial fragrances have been around since the late 1800s but the natural oils are still used in high quality perfumes.
Uses: Perfumery, aromatherapy, incense, cosmetics, medicinal, for burns, relaxation/calming, germicide, insect repellent and as flavoring in foods and drinks.
From National Center for Complimentary & Integrative Health (Part of National Institutes of Health): Studies of lavender oil product taken orally have suggested that it might be beneficial for anxiety, but because of limitations of the research, including the small size of the studies, no definite conclusions can be reached about its effectiveness. It’s uncertain whether lavender oil used as aromatherapy is helpful for anxiety or other conditions.
Note: It is known that some people have an allergic skin reaction to lavender.
Magical: Known as “The woman’s herb’, used in spells for calm and beauty. The purple flowers are associated with the crown chakra and spiritual attunement.
When we started growing our own herbs, thyme was the first thing that I wanted to plant because it’s the one that we use most frequently in the kitchen. For me, thyme makes almost everything (savory) taste better. We use it with any meat, many sauces, gravies, soups, and stews. We particularly enjoy it in our homemade quiche. Mostly, I tend to be a little lazy and add sprigs or dried thyme rather than bother to strip all those tiny leaves off the sprigs. If using sprigs, I just remove those stems after cooking. Thyme is beautiful in the garden and easy to grow. When I have a cold I like to make a tea of thyme which, personally, I don’t care to drink but I sit down and inhale it from a coffee mug. It helps to clear the sinuses.
Attributes: Contains thymol, one of the strongest natural antiseptics. Also anti-fungal and astringent. Thymol is frequently used in: toothpastes, mouthwashes & topical products for relief of rheumatism.
Medicinal: Internally, for dry cough, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial mucus, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis, nausea & diarrhea. Externally, for tonsillitis, gum disease, rheumatism, arthritis & fungal infections. In aromatherapy, for ‘aches & pains’, exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory infections as well as skin and scalp conditions.
Note: Not for use during pregnancy. Oil can irritate skin and mucus membranes. Can cause allergic reactions.