Virginia Brands to Know, Love, and Shop!
t Rebecca’s Natural Food, we pride ourselves on sourcing from conscious companies. Many of our vendors are local, and sourcing locally has been at the heart of our company philosophy from its inception. In general, the consumer choices we all make have the power to keep our communities healthy and sustainable. It’s important to make the distinction between conscious and unconscious consumption in 2019, a time when the ethos of shopping locally made has entered the mainstream. As such, we strive to carry as many Virginia brands as we can.
When you shop local, everyone benefits. As we’ve discussed before on the blog, keeping your dollars in the local economy helps create local jobs, has a positive civic impact, and is generally better, overall, for your health. We get it, it takes time to train yourself to think local instead of opting for the convenience of Amazon Prime! Which is why today, we’re sharing a bit of the backstory behind the local Virginia brands we (and perhaps you!) know and love. This brings us to another benefit behind shopping locally: the personal stories behind the products! When you shop small and local, your purchase supports a real human’s dream, not something conceived of in a corporate boardroom. It’s even better when this dream happens to be connected to a member of your own community. The products are often driven by love, philosophy, and purposes. Read on for a spotlight on several local makers.
We’ve compiled the below list of Virginia brands to know, love, and keep in mind when shopping. This list is not exhaustive, and we’ll be sharing more in the future! We’re grateful to have so many noteworthy local vendors.
Blue Ridge Bucha ~ This kombucha company has been brewing the gut-healthy stuff in the Blue Ridge since 2010. The end product is as delicious as the company’s “no-waste” ethos. Small batch and committed to sustainability, Blue Ridge Bucha has their drinkers purchase refillable bottles, hearkening back to the days of delivered milk. Bucha fans can then refill the bottles at Rebecca’s Natural Food where we have six flavors on tap at our kombucha fountain. This also guarantees that the kombucha is super fresh and bubbly.
Blue Ridge Baking Company ~ One of our favorite bakeries. Blue Ridge Baking company has made our doughiest dreams come true with locally sourced ingredients since 2007. The company also contributes to local organizations through fundraising partnerships.
Mieka Olive Oil Soap ~ These live oil-based soaps are based off soap recipes found throughout the Mediterranean in places such as Greece. The company handcrafts ALL of them. They’re great for people with sensitive skin, and just about anyone looking for an all natural soap. Which, if you’re not, you should be. More on that below…
Virginia First Tea Farm’s Tea Farm soap ~ This line of natural soaps and cleaners includes shampoo, body wash, and laundry detergent. All made in Virginia, their commitment to creating products that are as effective at cleaning as they are safe for the environment. Remember: your skin is a porous organ! The founders had lost faith in soaps and cleansers from large manufacturers and found ways to use natural ingredients, notably green tea, to clean well without the harmful chemicals in most soaps. Plus, their cruelty-free products are never tested on animals!
Lolla & Bella Designs by Lauren Stangil ~ Lauren Stangil’s colorful, whimsical designs are a Charlottesville favorite. These statement-making greeting cards often feature fantastical animals, colorful depictions of the state of Virginia, and other locally-inspired scenes. Honestly, each one is a work of art, and you’ll want to keep them just to have as standalone pieces. Stangil is a graduate of VCU, where she majored in Fine Art Illustration. It shows. All of her card designs begin by hand, with pen and ink on paper!
Flame Bilyue cards and pendants ~ We love any creations by local artist Flame Bilyue. Known for mystical, vibrant imagery, you can find her cards at Rebecca’s. We also carry pendants made with her art. In the artist’s own words, ”There is a depth to the natural world that we rarely see…” Her work bridges the magical with the natural world, making for ethereal pieces you’ll want to wear and share.
Gearharts Fine Chocolates ~ Made here in Charlottesville, VA, Gearharts Chocolates is one of the country’s most esteemed artisanal chocolate brands. Founder Tim Gearhart cooked in prestigious kitchens all over the world, including for the United States Marine Corps, before bringing his expertise to Charlottesville. Fun fact: he also earned his chops as an intern at the swanky Keswick Hall.
Dr. Rydland’s Kids Wellness herbal tinctures ~ Formulated by Dr. Eric Rydland, these all natural tinctures are perfect for your entire family. While there are many tinctures on the market, many of these are specifically formulated for children’s needs. Dr. Rydland is a pediatric board-certified medical doctor who has over 34 years of experience treating children. He specializes in natural remedies and creates his tinctures with choosy palates in mind.
We can’t speak highly enough of our love and pride for local Virginia brands. We hope you enjoyed learning more about some of these makers! If you’re curious to learn more, come see us at Rebecca’s Natural Food. We’ll also be interviewing some makers in the future… keep an eye out!