Five Easy Plants to Grow for Delicious, Healthy Summer Drinks

Five Easy Plants to Grow for Delicious, Healthy Summer Drinks

Nothing says summertime like having a cool drink in the shade. We enjoy a lot of iced drinks here on the farm, especially when the chores keep us outside on hot days. Despite the hundreds of beverage choices on the market, however, there are several reasons we choose to make our own. Not only is it the sustainable choice (we like to skip the plastic jugs and juice boxes) but we avoid numerous additives like sugar, artificial preservatives and food dyes. And we save money as well!

To keep our cool beverages flowing, we grow five plants in our garden that ensure a constant supply and a pleasing variety. These herbs aren’t finicky—they can be grown in a country garden or a city balcony. All they need is soil, water, and sunshine! Want to try growing your own? Or if you want to start making yummy teas right away, you can can order all of these in dried or powdered form from Mountain Rose Herbs, a reliable source of sustainable herbal products. (not affiliated)

Tips for Growing the Herbs


The first three are all in the mint family and will spread all over the place, so unless you have a lot of garden space to spare, plant these in their own pots!

  1. Peppermint: A very familiar garden herb, cooling, refreshing and helpful for digestion. Yes, it grows like crazy but we use LOTS of it!
  2. Lemon Balm: Known to be soothing and calming to the nervous system, great when you need to relax.
  3. Tulsi (or Holy Basil): Known in India as “the queen of herbs” where it is used as an herbal remedy for many common ailments, including stress relief!

These two will mind their garden manners a little better by staying within their boundaries. If they like their spot they’ll bush out and grow to be about three feet tall.

  1. Lemon Verbena: Fragrant and delicious with a delightful lemony taste, good for congestion, inflammation insomnia, and weight loss.
  2. Stevia: Nature’s healthy sweetener. You can make any of these drinks as sweet as you like with zero sugar or artificial ingredients!

Where can you get these plants? You’ll most likely find peppermint and lemon balm at your local nursery or any place that sells starter plants in spring and early summer. In recent years, I’ve begun to see stevia starts in the nurseries as well. Tulsi is often found at places that sell herbs. You can order the seeds for both stevia and tulsi at Mountain Rose Herbs. Lemon Verbena is often sold as a starter plant in nurseries as a natural insect repellent.

Creating Your Own Delicious Summer Drinks


Basic Herbal Iced Tea

  • Choose any one or any combination of the mint, lemon balm, tulsi or lemon verbena leaves and pack a half gallon mason jar* about ⅓ to 1/2 full (with fresh leaves) or 2 ounces of the dried. If you want it sweet, add a handful of crushed, fresh stevia leaves or powdered stevia to taste.
  • Pour boiling water over the tea leaves to fill the jar. Place the lid, tighten slightly and let sit until cool (4-6 hours).
  • When the jar is room temperature, pour the tea over a strainer into your container of choice and compost the leaves.
  • When chilled, serve over ice with a lemon slice and a whole peppermint stem if desired.

*Avoid pouring boiling water into a cool jar or likewise, trying to rapidly cool a warm jar as a sudden temperature change could cause breakage.



  • For a more traditional iced tea blend, add 5-6 black tea bags in with any combination of the herbal tea leaves.
  • For super hydration, add ¼-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar!
  • For extra flavor, add fresh berries, honey, or a whole cut-up lemon (if organic, include a tsp of zest) to the jar before adding the boiling water.
  • For a delicious lemonade, add ¼-½ cup apple cider vinegar, the juice from two whole organic lemons plus a teaspoon of zest, a handful of crushed stevia leaves, a whole, fresh peppermint stem with leaves or 1 oz of the dried.

Whether you’ve got a garden plot or a few pots on the balcony, having these plants on hand will provide you with a whole summertime of delightful, healthful beverages. And of course, having the dried on hand will ensure you tasty iced or hot teas all year round!

Get ready for everyone to say, “Hmmm, this is sooo good! What’s in it?”



Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water For You: Berkey Water Purification Systems

Safe, Sustainable Drinking Water For You: Berkey Water Purification Systems

At Lady Farmer, we’re all about helping you cultivate your own sustainable lifestyle. This includes helping you find the best quality products for all of your basic needs–and other than oxygen, nothing is more basic than water for survival.

We have well water here on the farm, and though we had a UV filter already in place to reduce pathogens, we sometimes wondered if it was enough. Bacteria is only one concern, as groundwater can be affected by numerous factors. For instance, what about glyphosate (Round Up) runoff? Then we learned all about the Berkey Water Filter systems and decided to try it out. We’re so glad we did, and we’re now we’re offering it to you in our online store! Read on.

berkey water purification system

Is Your Water Clean and Safe?

Left to her own ways, our beautiful, bountiful planet is more than generous in providing what we need. Access to clean, sustainable water, however, is often made difficult, by our human systems and consumptive practices. Troubled Water, a project on drinking water contamination in the United States (produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program) reports that as many as 63 million Americans have been exposed to “potentially unsafe drinking water” since 2007.

According to the CDC, contamination of our water systems can come from numerous sources. Here is a list of the most common ones:

  • Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
  • Local land use practices (fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated animal feeding operations)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Sewer overflows
  • Malfunctioning wastewater treatment systems (for example, nearby septic systems)

The Best Water Purifier

Okay, so maybe you’re already “in the know” about ensuring that you and your family have safe, sustainable drinking water, but there are so many methods and products to choose from.

Why did we choose the Berkey as the best water filter? So glad you asked!

First of all, it’s not just a filter, but an entire water purification system, which means it kills 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria and reduces viruses by 99.99%.

Other key points that qualify Berkey as a top quality, Lady Farmer sustainable lifestyle product are:

  • It’s a gravity-fed water system, so no electricity needed. That’s sustainable!
  • It removes or dramatically reduces protozoa, trihalomethanes, inorganic minerals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, VOCs, petroleum products, perfluorinated chemicals, rust, silt, sediment, radiologicals–and it removes glyphosate by greater than 75%! I’m good with having all of that taken out of my drinking water. Are you?
  • It’s low maintenance! I top off our “Big Berkey” every morning with a half gallon of water to keep it flowing (you don’t want water standing in it for more than 3 days) and drink from it all day. The only cleaning it needs is a quick, once-a-month warm, soapy wash of the lower container and you’re’ done. Easy!

The Cost of Clean Water

sustainable drinking water

You might be thinking the Berkey is too expensive for you to consider, but here are a few things to think about concerning the “true cost” of the water you choose to drink.

  • Do you buy bottled water? According to figures from the Beverage Marketing Corporation and International Bottled Water Association, bottled water is the #1 beverage product in the U.S. ahead of soft drinks, totalling $18.5B in sales in 2018. We spend more money on water than any other bottled beverage!
  • Consider what you’ll spend over a year on $1.00-$5.00 bottles (depending on size and where you buy them) that are emptied in minutes and then left to linger for thousands of years in the landfill. According to The Story of Stuff researchers, bottled water costs about 2000 times more than tap water, even though many of those companies are merely bottling the tap water and selling it to you! Your investment in a Berkey can actually save you thousands of dollars over years of use, and will prevent thousands of single-use containers from joining that plastic island in the Pacific (or the beaches, the rivers, the highways and forests….)
  • Do you purchase water while traveling? The Travel Berkey alone (currently $249-$269) could pay for itself in no time by providing you with an endless supply of purified water (that you can trust!) while on the road.
  • Once you’ve invested in the Berkey of your choice, further expense is minimal. Two Black Berkey® Purification Elements in a Berkey® system will purify approximately 6,000 gallons of water before replacement is recommended.

which water purification system is best

Choosing a Berkey Water Filtration System

Here’s an abbreviated guide to the choices we offer, complete details can be accessed here.
There are five stainless steel models, plus the super portable Berkey Go Kit.

In order of size and capacity (from largest to smallest), the choices are:

  • Crown Berkey: 6 gallons, 30” tall, ideal for large groups such as schools, churches group gatherings and extended outages.
  • Imperial Berkey: 4.5 gallons, 26” tall, great for mid to large-size families and small group gatherings
  • Royal Berkey: 3.25 gallons, 23” tall, serves small to mid-size families and works for outside activities.
  • Big Berkey: 2.25 gallons,19.25” tall,for smaller households and outdoor activities
  • Travel Berkey:1.5 gallons, 18” tall, the best portable water purifier we know! Great for vacation, it even fits in most carry on suitcases.
  • Go Berkey Kit: 1 quart, 14”, take it camping, hiking, school, work, lightweight and easy to carry

We are very happy with our choice of the Big Berkey. It’s just myself and Farmer Ted living in the house, but as you know, I make LOTS of tea! We tend to have lots of visitors as well, so we keep it flowing. I also like the height, it fits nicely in its corner spot by the window. Our next Berkey purchase will be the Berkey Travel. It’s so good to know we can have fresh, purified water anywhere we go!   –Mary 

It’s true we have many purchasing decisions to make in cultivating a more sustainable lifestyle, but when it comes down to our most fundamental needs, why not choose the very best?

Have questions about the Berkey? Let us know, we’re here to help (! Ready to have the best water purifier out there in your home now? You can get it here and have your own clean water flowing in a few days!

Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.
– Slovakian Proverb

what is the best water purifier system

Patriotic and Plastic Free!

Patriotic and Plastic Free!

The personal freedoms we enjoy in this country are central to our nationwide celebrations on July 4th. How about choosing this day to be FREE from single-use plastics?

As history would have it, the birthday of our great nation happens at the zenith of summer. It’s the ultimate outdoor holiday, a day when Americans love to take off and celebrate with family and community.Think of all the gatherings taking place across the whole country at ballparks, swimming pools, backyards and beaches, virtually every one of them involving lots of food and drink.

But what about the day after?

Now, close your eyes and think about it. The picnics are over, the fireworks are spent. Americans have returned to home and work and their daily routine. Picture those parks and beaches and what’s left behind from the celebrations. What do you see? Sadly, the next-day reality is a widespread trash heap of plastic cups, plates and utensils, cellophane and food wraps of every description, six-pack holders, sports drink and soda bottles, plastic bags and water bottles, bags, caps, twists….

Communities across the country confirm that it’s not a pretty sight.

One small coastal town in Washington reported over 75 tons of trash recovered from the beach in the aftermath of the holiday in 2015. Volunteers in San Diego County gathered on the morning of July 5th, 2016 to collect thousands of pounds of plastic, styrofoam, bottles, discarded personal items, etc. See the “Morning After Mess Totals” here.  Go to almost any public park and see the same thing. Many Americans have fallen into an unfortunate delusion that when it comes to their own trash, it’s someone else’s job to take care of it. Here’s another chart from the Ocean Conservancy from last year. 

What can we do?

We can do what Americans do best, the very reason we celebrate this day. We can CHOOSE to do it differently! Yes, the problem is vast and yes, there are multiple industries behind every aspect of this issue. But there is no industry forcing you to use disposable items. They might spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to convince you that you must, that convenience trumps common sense, that there is no other option. But ultimately you get to decide what to use or not use.

The Challenge:

We challenge you this 4th of July to make some different choices regarding disposables and in particular, single-use plastics.  If that sounds like too much, it’s okay. Maybe you can do just one thing to shift the scenario for yourself this holiday. Here are some basic ideas.

  • Enjoying an outdoor meal at home with family and friends? Instead of the go-to disposable picnic ware and plastic utensils, just decide to use the real ones. Or if that’s not at all practical, try a compostable brand.
  • Serve simple, homemade drinks from pitchers and provide real glasses. (see recipe below!)*
  • Taking something to a covered dish gathering? Think twice before covering that dish with a sheet of plastic wrap that will go straight into the trash. A clean dishcloth usually works great.
  • Take your own drink cup with you and say “no thanks” to those ubiquitous red, white and blue SOLO cups that blight the landscape.
  • Whether you’re hosting a gathering, a guest somewhere or eating in a restaurant, skip the straw. Easy!
  • Share what you’re doing. If anyone asks about your unique drinking cup or asks why in the world you wouldn’t use disposable plates and utensils for your picnic, tell them about Plastic Free July and why!

Okay, so maybe for whatever reason you don’t do any of the above. That’s okay too, because after reading this far, you are at least aware of the issue, aware that there is another way when you can and when you are ready to do things differently. Given that most people don’t even think about these things, that’s an important step in the right direction.

By the way, we’ve got several plastic free, sustainable lifestyle items for 15% off in our online store, including Lady Farmer t-shirts, baby onesies, organic bedding and all pieces in our Essential Collection!  Use the code plasticfreejuly at checkout .

Have a safe and happy 4th of July, everyone. Use the hashtag #patrioticandplasticfree to post your plastic free celebration! 

–Updated from original post on 7/4/2018





  1. Stuff a half gallon mason jar full of fresh mint plus 2-4 black tea bags, add  6-8 inch cutting of a stevia plant (or powdered to taste) and pour boiling water over it. Let it sit for 4 hours or overnight. CHILL IN FRIDGE, YUMMY!
  2. If you don’t have fresh mint in your garden, use mint tea bags in combination with the black tea, add sugar or stevia or whatever sweetener you want—or none.  And lemon, of course!
  3. You don’t have to use the black tea if you want caffeine free but I prefer a little to give it body.
  4. Use frozen strawberries for ice cubes and a sprig of fresh mint as garnish for a festive flair!


Sustainable Travel: Real Food on the Road

Making sustainable food choices on a road trip can be a challenge, especially if you really care about sourcing and quality. Options are usually limited to fast food and packaged, shelf stable snacks at gas stations, not even close to the guidelines we like to follow at home. We try to bring our own along, but with so many things to do just to get out of town, food prep for the road often falls short. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for places to get “real food” while traveling by car.barbara-kingsolver-restaurantHere’s a gem we’ve discovered just up the road from where my grandparents live. The Harvest Table is in a small town called Meadowview, Virginia, a beautiful Appalachian town just off of Highway 81 close to Abingdon. It’s a special restaurant started by Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer), which began as an extension of Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the story about her family’s year-long experiment to eat only locally grown foods. It has grown into something much bigger, as they say on their website, “The Harvest Table is more than just a restaurant. Over the last ten years, the Harvest Table family has grown to include our kitchen staff, servers, store clerks, farmers, small business owners, artisans and neighbors. Relationships have developed over the common desire to support local and celebrate our Appalachian heritage.”

barbara-kingsolver-restaurantMy family loves to stop here when we can, as we can count on a locally sourced, nutritious, and delicious meal. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual–you feel a bit like you’re on a friend’s back patio. It’s high quality without the extra frills—just good care for the land, community and experience. This time around, mom and I both got the grass-fed burger, no bun, with a salad. It was just delicious!

It’s true that places like this are probably few and far between. In the absence of such options (and if your run out of time to prep your own “to go” meals) here are a few quick tips to help you make your way along the interstate food desert.

  • To avoid questionable water and plastic bottles, fill up a few half gallon mason jars with fresh, filtered water from home. (Stay tuned, the Travel Berkey water filter is coming to our online store— soon! )
  • Pack dried fruit and nut mixes. They are calorie and nutrient dense and sometimes might suffice in the place of a regular meal.
  • Fresh fruit, celery and carrot sticks, washed and ready to eat.
  • Grab a jar of organic peanut butter, a loaf of bread and a spreading knife to save the day.
  • A bar of high quality, dark chocolate will take you many a mile!

What do you take in the car to keep you going to the next real food? Do you know of any great places to stop for a meal where you’ve traveled? No matter where you are or where you’re headed, there are probably some Lady Farmers headed that way that would love to know how and where to eat better on the road, and experience local!

Happy summer travels!




A Second Life for Shoes: Emma’s Favorite Discount Shoe Store

A question we get a lot is, “How do I know if something is ‘sustainable’ and if I should buy it or not?” Or, “What are some sustainable companies for the things that I need?”

The answer can sometimes be more complicated than it may seem. That’s because “sustainable” is such a broad, vague, and subjective word. At Lady Farmer, we encourage deciding what sustainable means to you, and going from there. As long as you are taking time to make a conscious decision based on personal guidelines you’ve set for yourself, we think that is much better than mindlessly consuming. It’s simply taking back your purchasing power as a consumer!

Enter: The Favorite Second-hand Shoe Store


A few weeks ago my mom and I took our quarterly (sometimes more often) pilgrimage to East Tennessee, where mom is from (and also the setting of her debut novel, Angel ). I’m lucky to have both grandparents still alive and well there, which is so special. I’m also lucky that my favorite second-hand/discount shoe store is there, and that we are usually able to make time for a stop! Most times I don’t actually buy anything, but sometimes that perfect pair appears happily on the shelf in front of me. What’s the most fun is that everything there is usually just in one size and style, so it feels even more completely serendipitous when it does happen.

discount-shoe-storeThis past trip we were short on time on our way out of town, but after an entire five seconds of reasoning with my mom about why we should stop, she was convinced. Lucky for us, because they had just gotten in a shipment of slightly out-of-season Birkenstock styles (which are actually produced with pretty sustainable materials, and last a long time) and mom found a great pair of *cute* but *comfy* walking shoes for her trip to Italy. There was also an entire wall of only slightly worn Frye boots at a fraction of the retail price!


Gold mine, y’all.


These guys were just waiting for me…and I’ve worn them literally every day since I bought them!


Want to Buy New? Here Are Some Sustainable Shoe Suggestions:

If I’m going to buy new shoes at full price, I do have pretty strict parameters on what I’ll put my money towards and trust my feet with. Here are a few that I lust over and am saving for:

  • Sevilla Smith
    • Handmade in either Philadelphia, PA or Barcelona, depending on where the shoemaker happens to be living at the time you order!
  • Aurora Shoes, NYC
    • Handmade in upstate New York
  • Bryr Clogs
    • Handmade in San Francisco!
  • Birkenstock (though I found sound out-of-season discount ones at Beaty’s!)
  • I get a lot of questions about sustainable exercise shoes – I pretty much exclusively buy unworn tennis shoes at places like Beaty’s or another thrift store (you’d be shocked what people buy, never wear, then give away…) just because I haven’t been able to find plastic-free shoes that I feel great about buying. If that’s not your thing, here’s an article from Eco Warrior Princess on some “sustainable” shoe brands – again – use your own judgement on what that means to you!

What are some of your favorite second-hand stores and how do you find them? Wherever you are, there is a probably a Lady Farmer nearby that would love to know!   Happy (sustainable) shopping! -Emma




Lady Farmer Slow Living Retreat 2019

Lady Farmer Slow Living Retreat 2019

Whether you live on country acreage or dwell in the city, you’re a Lady Farmer if you care deeply about sowing seeds of slow living. You might be seeking more sustainability in your life, or you have a yearning for more connection to yourself, your loved ones and your community. You value the land under your feet, the source and sustenance of all living things. You’re curious about how to create a more sustainable lifestyle, and how that might make a better impact on the world and coming generations.

Does that sound like you? Or the Lady Farmer you dream you will be?

The Power of Gathering

It’s true that the modern world challenges many of our sustainable lifestyle intentions. But when we spend time with and learn from each other, we craft and share tools that help better foster slow living mindsets for ourselves and our families. In sowing seeds of slow living together, we can observe how we spend our time and resources. We are supported in stepping back from systems that separate us from the sources of our most basic needs.

And so, we now welcome Lady Farmers from all walks of life to come together at our second annual Lady Farmer Slow Living Retreat!


The Lady Farmer Slow Living Retreat 2019

“…a marvelous way to help focus my intentions on things that matter as I restarted the family business last year–namely balance, sustainability, creativity, and family!” – Stacy

Our Weekend of Learning and Sharing

Returning to Zigbone Farm Retreat on November 15th – 17th, 2019, this relaxing retreat weekend will again feature speakers and workshops designed for the modern woman around sustainability, and how to live a life of simplicity, beauty and health.

For the full weekend participants, you will be checking into the cozy Zigbone Farmhouse (renovated with geo-thermal heating and a green roof to be energy efficient!) on Friday evening, November 15th. We’ll come together as a group and get to know each other while enjoying the warmth of the beautiful woodstove or outside bonfire (weather permitting) and homemade, healthy snacks. Then, we’ll settle in for a thought provoking, two-day interactive experience that will gently help you dig deeper into your sustainable lifestyle goals.


Your Relaxing Retreat Weekend

“Your Slow Living Retreat was perfectly beautiful, relaxing, delicious, thought provoking, and inspiring. A true gift.” – Kimberly

Set among the Maryland countryside’s luscious rural views, we’ll enjoy exquisite farm-to-table meals and the conversation of a like-minded community of women. With curious hearts and conscious minds, we’ll explore a wealth of information and ideas with Lady Farmer’s Sustainable Living presentations (led by Mary and Emma Kingsley) and numerous workshop opportunities offered by a variety of practitioners and experts. Yoga, nature healing, natural dyeing, natural self-care, fermentation techniques and a mending circle/instruction will all be a part of the weekend.

For those who need to fully turn off and tune in, quiet time amongst the fields, flowers, and beautiful farmhouse allow for reflective thought and quiet journaling.


Come Join Us

“A trail head for me. I was able to walk down paths I’ve never been, but had the great fortune of meeting people along the way with different levels of terrain experience and their own systems of navigation.” – Leslie

All you need to know is here.

Be sure to watch the video below. Excited to join? We can’t wait, either!

Want to sign up now to make sure you get a spot?  

Rooms at Zigbone Farmhouse are comfortable and cozy (all linens are provided), but limited and fill up fast. Though fear not, if you aren’t able to secure on-site accommodations, we have a list of other places to stay in the area that will keep you close by. Zigbone is also within commuting distance of Frederick, DC and Baltimore, and you may also register for full-weekend programming with or without lodging.

Only have time for a day-long retreat? Saturday only tickets will also be available if you can’t come out on Sunday.

A full itinerary will follow as we confirm details.

Read more about last year’s retreat from Creative Countryside. And keep tabs on our Instagram feed for updates on retreat prices, workshop announcements, and speakers!

How (and why!) to Wear the Sustainable Demeter Tunic

How (and why!) to Wear the Sustainable Demeter Tunic

It’s time to bring the most versatile of breezy sustainable garments back into your slow living rotation. With its blend of sustainable hemp, organic linen and hard-working design, our Demeter Tunic is one that Lady Farmers everywhere can’t stop reaching for.

Anna in the Demeter Tunic, in Natural (size Medium)

According to the Victoria & Albert Museum, while the men of the 17th century had pockets sewn directly into their breeches, women had to strap on pockets between layers of their petticoats. When women’s fashion started to favor more slim-fitted designs, women’s pockets became a thing of the past.

Not at Lady Farmer!

The first garment created for our Essential Collection, we named this tunic after the Greek goddess of agriculture. Our wide, deep pockets hold plant clippings and pruning shears, so it’s great for gardening. And for those quick errands, a trip to the farmer’s market or the park, you can always put your hands on your keys, phone, sunglasses and even that bag of toddler snacks!

The Demeter Tunic takes the phrase “hands-free” to a whole new level, and makes a slow living lifestyle that much more streamlined.

a-daily-somethingRebecca (@adailysomething) in the Demeter Tunic, in Gray (size Medium)

Airy, three-quarter sleeves and classic lines define the slightly oversized fit, without overwhelming any Lady Farmer’s shape. With gentle curves and a mid-thigh length, this sustainable tunic works alone on hot summer days or with light leggings so you stay protected from scratching branches or sticky kid fingers. When an extra layer is required, a turtleneck or long sleeved t-shirt makes the tunic an easy, cool weather, go-to choice. It also pairs perfectly with our striped Pomona Pants.

And when your Demeter Tunic does feel the bliss of a dirt smear or jammy kiss? Like all Lady Farmer sustainable garments, it will take a cold wash and can be hung dry or set at a low tumble. (Alpaca wool dryer balls are our favorite addition to a slow living, sustainable laundry routine.)

sustainable-tunicMary in the Demeter Tunic in Gray (size Medium), and Pomona Pants in Pinstripe (size Medium)

Each of our garments are produced with high-quality fabrics created to be as close to nature as possible. Because we believe in true sustainable clothing production and a slow living economy, we produce in small batches and keep inventory stocked at a minimum. Our supply changes as we keep up with your demand! In addition to our garments, we search for the best sustainable lifestyle products to bring into our store because we honor your intention to choose products that are better for you, your family and the planet. Thank you for shopping sustainably!


Ready to shop? Explore The Essential Collection. Or see how Lady Farmers everywhere are wearing it with the #weareladyfarmer hashtag on Instagram.

Indigo Dyeing with Graham Keegan

Indigo Dyeing with Graham Keegan


This week, we were so excited to welcome Graham Keegan (@yesgraham) and his crew to our farm for the DC area stop on the 2019 Indigo Tour! Graham and company have been on the road since late April, making their way across the country from Los Angeles to Vermont bringing the magic of the indigo plant to numerous locations along their route. They pulled up in their mobile workshop (a white van) in the mid afternoon and within a couple of hours had unloaded an entire indigo art studio. The event began with an indigo seedling give-away, free to anyone who had signed up via a link posted on social media. Several people showed up just to get their hands on this most sought after plant and left with enough to begin their own dye garden.

Indigo has a long history as a plant textile dye dating back to the ancient world. The rich and vibrant blue color has been highly valued for its beauty for thousands of years. There is evidence of indigo used in Egyptian linen mummy cloths from around 2400 BC. Although the ancient techniques in the art of indigo dyeing have largely given way to synthetics and mass production in the textile industry, fiber artists such as Graham are committed to keeping the art and knowledge alive. At Lady Farmer, we are especially interested in the role of such techniques in creating beautiful, sustainable garments.


The seedling giveaway was followed by a two hour, in-depth and hands-on class. Though it was a hot May afternoon, the sun was welcome and a wonderful group gathered to hear Graham teach about the entire Indigo dyeing process from seed to final product! We got to hear about how the color is actually extracted from the leaves, how to make our own vats, then finally try our hand at dyeing our own cotton bandanas using the nifty tools he brought to help us learn to make cool patterns.


We’re so happy to have had this fun and inspiring workshop at the Lady Farmer farm. We look forward to many more as we explore the many sustainable and beautiful choices for our everyday lives. We also can’t wait to get our own vat going!













Your Search for Sustainable Bedding is Over!

Your Search for Sustainable Bedding is Over!

At Lady Farmer, we’ve been on the hunt for clean, safe and sustainable bedding that we love and trust enough to make available to you. So what is sustainable bedding and why should we be concerned about it? We spend approximately one-third of our lifetime in bed. Unless we always sleep on top of the covers, we are literally encased in our sheets and blankets. That means continuous skin-to-fabric contact for the duration of our sleep every night! Cotton sheets might be luxuriously soft, but the heavy use of chemicals in conventional cotton production can remain in the fabric indefinitely. Bleaches, dyes and even flame retardants can be present in conventional bedding. But don’t worry, we’ve found what we were looking for and now—we’ve got you covered!

Welcome Our New Sustainable Bedding Products!


When we experienced how Holy Lamb Organics bedding surpasses the comfort and feel of even our most fancy conventional sheets, a partnership was born. Their sustainable, handmade sheets are made from organic cotton, which we value so highly because it’s free of the pesticides and herbicides used in growing conventional cotton. Their comforters, mattress toppers, and pillows are made of eco-wool, which means that participating ranchers practice healthy, humane, and environmentally sound methods in raising their sheep. Now THAT’s Lady Farmer LOVE!

5 Reasons You’ll Love Sustainable Bedding, Too


So Clean

With this bedding, we feel like we’re sleeping on a pristine cloud! No herbicides, pesticides, dyes or solvents. As a bonus, wool naturally resists bacteria and is antimicrobial and antibacterial, so it’s pure and naturally fresh.

Sweet Breathing

We’re smitten with these dreamy pillows stuffed with lovingly produced, dust-mite resistant eco-wool. Who needs to count sheep when you’re cuddling with them? However you like your pillows stuffed, you can choose between light, regular, or thick, depending on how you sleep. (We personally have the regular, and have found that they offer the perfect combination of support and softness.) Allergy sufferers take note! You might find welcomed relief in using a wool stuffed pillow as an alternative to other treatments.


Sleeping between the eco-wool mattress topper and the comforter feels so luxurious it’s like taking a cloud ride into dreamland every night. Because wool regulates body temperature by its natural breathability and moisture-wicking properties, it keeps us cool in the summer, warm in the winter and sleeping straight for hours whatever the weather. It’s a heaven sandwich, y’all!

Comfy and Safe

We’re pretty happy to snuggle into this gorgeous bedding knowing that, as a bonus, wool is inherently fire resistant. No need for chemical additives here. Mother Nature has her arms around us.

Earth Friendly

We’re SO excited about these sustainable bedding products, not only because they provide the ultimate in a comfortable, safe, and healthy sleep environment. By investing in our own well being in this way, we are also supporting agricultural practices that are restoring rather than depleting the soil. In effect, we are encouraging one of science’s most promising ways of addressing climate change.

Are we saying that we can literally help the planet in our sleep? Yes! If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we are soil nerds here at Lady Farmer. We care deeply how each and every one of the products we bring you affects all the living things that surround us, including the billions upon billions of micro-organisms living under our feet and making all of life above ground possible. So when it comes to this super comfy, healthy, dreamy bedding that helps us sleep AND helps heal our earth, we’re all over it—and in it!

Why These Sustainable Dryer Balls Are Better

Why These Sustainable Dryer Balls Are Better


When contemplating sustainable laundry, hand washing and line drying might be ideal. But we don’t have to go that far if we’re not inclined—do we? Eco friendly laundry products and energy-efficient machines make it far easier. But what about all of those floral scented dryer sheets that supposedly make your laundry smell all “natural” and meadow-like?

Fragrances used in dryer sheets don’t have to be listed under federal law, as Dr.Josh Axe details. So does that mean chemical byproducts that we don’t know about are coming out of dryer vents into our air? We can’t be certain. But fragrances concocted in a lab might make a person wonder. There’s the sheet waste byproduct to consider, too, and the cost and carbon footprint of buying a non-sustainable product over and over again!

Lady Farmer friends, we’re here to tell you there’s a better way to soften your fabrics and incorporate sustainable laundry routines into your joyful slow-living lifestyle!

Our alpaca wool dryer balls are a stellar sustainable choice amongst eco friendly laundry products. Here’s why!

5 Reasons We Love Using Sustainable Dryer Balls


They Save Drying Time

Adding 3 of our alpaca wool dryer balls to a small load of laundry reduces drying time by 25%! (Add 4-5 balls for larger loads.) Think 15 minutes is no big deal? If you do laundry twice a week, that saves 26 hours of drying time over the course of one year.

They Make Clothes Super Soft

No, it doesn’t take chemicals in dryer sheets to soften your clothes. The gentle friction from the natural alpaca wool balls bouncing around helps gently agitate your fabric—without the noise plastic balls make. Favorites from your last sustainable clothing thrift store trip are safe and soft!

They’re Fragrance Free… If You Want

Your clothes will smell fresh and clean without the artificial wildflower or sea breeze. Those with sensitive skin can just toss the dryer balls in and call it a day. Or add your favorite essential oils directly to the balls for the real thing—customized, sustainable fragrance! We particularly love adding a few drops of lavender and chamomile for an all-day cozy calm.

They’re Handmade and Long Lasting

Part of building your sustainable laundry routine is sorting through all the eco friendly laundry products out there for the best. Handmade in Pennsylvania, these are made from natural alpaca wool—a sustainable product. They come in minimal (recyclable) paper packaging. And they last a very long time—months to years, depending on how many loads you do. That’s quite a savings over time!

They’re Beautiful, Just As They Are

We love how the natural colors and soft textures of the alpaca wool blend into our sustainable laundry routine. Fresh out of the dryer, they look so lovely mixing in with our linen, organic cotton, and hemp-tencel blend overalls, dresses, and tunics. In their simplicity, they’re a reminder of how we can incorporate our slow-living values into even our most repetitive household tasks.

We’d love to hear what you think of our Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls! Share your story with us on Instagram.