To kick off our Open Farm Day season this past April teammate Shaun led a workshop on how to make 100% grass-fed beef tallow soap. We had a great turn out and folks loved the sample soap that Shaun had made prior to the workshop. Teammate Tyler made wooden soapmolds that were offered for purchase and seemed to be a hit. Check out the recipe complete with step by step pictures below!


Why use Grass-fed beef tallow?

  • Mild soap
  • Gentle lather
  • Full of antioxidants, vitamins such as A, D and K, anti-microbial palmitoleic acid, and the anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid called CLA – Conjugated Linoleic Acid – which has been linked to cancer prevention, fat loss and improved brain function. (1) (2)
  • Contains the same fats or lipids found in healthy, supple human skin oil. Therefore, tallow is believed to prevent dryness at the cellular level without suffocating the skin’s barrier like petroleum-based lotions do.
  • Assists the skin in retaining moisture, restores youthful looking skin and replenishes the building blocks of our cells that decrease with age.


Supplies needed:

  • Grass-fed tallow
  • Lye aka sodium hydroxide (grocery store/ hardware store)
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Measuring cup
  • 3 bowls
  • 1 pan (for melting tallow)
  • Wax or freezer paper
  • Soap mold
  • Bar cutter (Michael’s Arts and Crafts)
  • Thermometer
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Wooden spoons for mixing
  • Immersion blender or hand mixer
  • White vinegar in case any lye gets on skin (neutralize it)


  • 30 ozs. Grass-fed beef tallow
  • 3.88 ozs. Lye
  • 11 ozs. Distilled water


Stir lye (sodium hydroxide) into the water until it is dissolved.  **DO NOT add water to the lye as it can cause a volcanic like eruption** It is best to do outside because of fumes.  Set aside until temperature drops to 100-110 degrees F (38-43 degrees C)


  • Heat tallow on low until it is melted

  • When both (lye and tallow) are around the same temperature (100-110 degrees F), pour the dissolved lye mixture into the tallow

  • Use an immersion blender or hand mixer to blend the batter until it reaches a light trace (pudding or custard type consistency)

  • If scenting, add essential oil (s) at this time and mix (if making scented use a good quality essential oil (c. 50 drops) but it adds to the cost of the bar & it takes a fair amount to get a strong scent)

  • Pour batter into a soap mold lined with wax or freezer paper, cover

  • Leave in mold until it is easy to remove (a couple of days), slice into bars when firm enough, should not to stick to cutting tool

  • Cure for 6 weeks before using, set on wax paper or coated cooling racks so excess moisture evaporates out


Resources: (calculators)




By Laura Killingbeck

Last year I tore my acl (anterior cruciate ligament) and had reconstruction surgery. I ended up in bed for quite a while, and even after a year of rehabilitation, my leg muscles were pretty atrophied. The right leg was okay, but lefty looked like a sick string bean.

I’ve never been able to emotionally commit to gyms. I have a hard time accepting the scenario that I would pay someone to allow me to pick up heavy objects and put them down again–or worse yet, to run on an electrical robot that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s my cyber punk nightmare.

So, in order to get back on my feet again after rehab, I decided to use the only health and wellness fail-safe that’s ever worked for me—get dropped off somewhere far away, and then find my way back by foot or pedal.

Luckily my parents were great sports in this. So this June they loaded up the mini van, drove me and my bike north for a couple days, and dropped me off in a forest in south Quebec.

I packed my gear on my bike and set off due west.   Immediately I felt anxieties dissipate as my body recognized itself in the steady motion of forward momentum. Over the next three months I cycled in a winding circle around the Saint Lawrence River, up to Labrador and Newfoundland, and back down through the Canadian Maritimes and Eastern United States. My partner Scott joined me for about half the trip, from Montreal to Nova Scotia. By the time I rolled back into my parents’ driveway in Rhode Island, I had gone over 3700 miles, and both legs looked like legs again.

Throughout this trip I encountered wonderful wild animals, made friends in unlikely places, forded over a dozen rivers, and got lost in landscapes I was happy to be lost in. In Gros Morne, Newfoundland, I got to touch the earth’s mantle; at the Bay of Fundy I walked across the ocean floor. I learned that you can smelt iron nails out of peat bogs, and that cloudberries taste like pumpkin apricots. I was shown extraordinary kindness by people I’d never met, and grew in perspective as well as strength.

Long days on the road in wild places can have their challenges—there may be rain and headwinds, deserts that feel very hot, and mountains that feel very tall. But the rewards of those journeys always lasts a lifetime. I think the biggest secret to cycle touring is that its much easier and simpler than most people think. Pretty much anyone can bike pretty far if they pack right and keep moving the pedals. And if you’re happy camping in forests and eating simple foods, it can be quite an inexpensive way to see the world. Fancy gear is not necessary.

In my life I’ve been lucky to experience a number of long overland journeys by thumb, foot, and pedal. I’ve also been lucky to work for many years on small organic farms. I think there is a strong correlation between my love of moving in nature by foot and pedal, and my love of whole foods and sustainable farming.

As humans we are made of many things—genes, microbes, our past, our present, our culture–and all the mysterious factors that make us our own special snowflakes. But every part of this identity as physical and emotional creatures constantly shifts and transforms in relation to the food we eat, the air we breathe, the community that surrounds us, and the thoughts that pass or linger in our minds. Working with soil and earth, or pedaling through air and light, are both beautiful reminders of our own human transformation within a larger cycle.

I remember heading out for my first bike tour around Iceland when I was twenty-one. I was alone, on a shoestring budget, and had no cycling experience. I didn’t know what to pack, or what to expect, or even how to adjust my own bike seat. In the twelve years since then, I’ve toured about 12,000 miles around the world, and have a little more experience packing and planning for trips. My style of touring is fairly simple and rugged. I don’t go fast or fancy. But I go, and seem to keep going.

I love connecting with other cyclists and people who want to start cycling. If you want to learn more, I’m giving a presentation at Round the Bend Farm Open Farm Day, on Saturday, November 17, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. I’ll have my loaded touring bike (Tiny Troll) with me, show pictures from my last trip, and explain the basics of packing and preparing for independent long distance cycling journeys. Everyone who arrives by bike gets a free high five. Hope to see you there!


We welcome you to join us for the first OurCookQuest Soy Sauce Applications and Making Workshop at Round the Bend Farm. The beginning of the session will cover a variety of soy sauce applications to enhance your cooking beyond stir frying like: chutney, compound butter and caramel sauce. After the cooking demonstrations, we will walk through the modern soy sauce process so guests can make their own to take home. Inspired snacks will be served. Please bring a pint-sized jar with a lid.
Workshop begins at 3pm. Spots are limited so please $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Pay in advance with check or by clicking the paypal button below. 
Scholarships available. Ages 12 to adult.
If you have any questions contact or 508.938.5127

To learn more about Rich’s work check out his this koji article and his website And follow on Twitter and Instagram @ourcookquest


Date: July 16, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: $10.00 general admission / $5.00 CSA members

Join RTB’s Liz Wiley to learn easy tips and creative strategies for incorporating more raw food into your diet – and not just salads, my friends!  Eating a diet that includes lots of raw foods will help you to detoxify, energize and revive your health.  In this class, we will explore the benefits of eating raw, learn how to prepare raw foods in interesting and delicious ways, and develop skills that will help us to want to eat raw.  You may even learn some recipes that are worthy of entertaining with.  Of course, tasty samples and recipes will be provided!

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Date: August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost:  $10.00 general admission / $5.00 CSA members

Life can get pretty dirty on the farm, but that in no way means we need to use harsh, chemical-laden cleaning products to clean-up our messes.  During this workshop, RTB’s Shaun VanLaarhoven will teach you how to make a variety of all natural, non-toxic cleaning products with basic ingredients that you can pronounce and safely inhale. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution among the top environmental dangers, and much of this pollution comes from common household cleaning products. Learning how to make your own cleaning products is better for your health, will improve your indoor air quality, will save you money, and protects the environment.  It’s such a simple practice; yet the modern household remains reluctant to make this switch.  Come and learn how, so you can inspire others to do the same!

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Date: September 17, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Cost: $10.00 general admission / $5.00 CSA Members

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Date: September 29, 2016
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Cost: $15.00 general admission / $10.00 CSA Members

You’re invited! Come learn the benefits of Essential Oils in our Essential Oils introductory class hosted by the wonderful Dr. Kelley Taylor. You will learn how to improve sleep, relieve muscle tension, support your immune system, promote healthy digestion, enhance emotional well-being, relieve stress and anxious feelings and increase energy using 100% certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils.

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