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Introducing the CNY Living Local Blog!

Happy Friday! This post is the first for my new blog entitled CNY Living Local (CNY for Central New York). Together with my husband Bob, we own and manage a small handcrafted natural soapmaking business in Spafford, NY. Ten years ago, we decided to move from New Jersey and start a business and work for ourselves. We wanted our livelihood to reflect our values of healthy and sustainable living. As a Family and Consumer Sciences educator for many years, making natural skin care products was a natural step. I love recipes and formulations! Bob retired as a hospital administrator. We both had careers that were based in science, so as a result, research is an everyday endeavor that we enjoy. Balsam Rose Soap Co. has been well received here in CNY and we are so grateful for the many people, near and far, who have supported us along the way. “Quality Matters” is our company slogan, and we believe our products and services reflect that motto. You can learn more about Balsam Rose Soap Co. and where we sell our products locally at

This CNY Living Local blog is an extension of our business. CNY has become our home and we love all the aspects that go along with living a meaningful and happy life here while working to create sustainable practices and collaborating with others in the community. I have always wanted to write a blog that incorporated my many interests and areas of expertise, maybe once a teacher, always a teacher?!? We invite you to join us each Tuesday and Friday as we post about what is like to live in CNY. I want to share what we learn and experience through the people we meet and the things they do. This includes our customers, also those who run the farms, local businesses and organizations in our community and our neighbors and so many others. Just sharing the local outreach and social justice actions alone could make up its own blog!

Central New York is a welcoming, diverse area that includes Onondaga, Madison, Oswego, and Cortland counties. For the purposes of this blog, I will include Cayuga County and Ithaca since I am a part of the Cornell Botanic Gardens as President of Auraca Herbarists and as Garden Guide trainee. In addition, two of our Farmers’ Markets are in Cayuga County. Around here, we do recognize that CNY is situated on the land of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The confederacy united the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations. The nations joined together to foster harmony and peaceful decision making. Around here we recognize and honor the fact that the Haudenosaunee people were the stewards of this land for many generations and have made many contributions to our society.

CNY Living Local wants to spread the word! The summer season is upon us. Look for posts on local businesses, including Balsam Rose Soap Co., and the products and processes that make them special. Healthy food choices and food preparation posts are on the agenda. I love how so many of us work together and watch out for each other, this must be shared. We will discuss the rich history and scenic beauty of the area in which we live. Spafford is in the Finger Lakes region of CNY. We live in Otisco Valley about two miles away from Otisco Lake, one of the smaller Finger Lakes. We participate in four Farmers’ Markets and sell our products in four different store locations throughout CNY. We have a steady online business as well. So many opportunities to learn about the people living, working, and celebrating around us and the beautiful places where these events occur.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to our CNY Living Local discussions!

Take care.


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