by Sarah Schermer, former Cordata Wellness Manager
Photos by Matt Curtis
updated March 2020; originally published October 2017
Aaron (left) and Kim Otto pose on their Whatcom County farm while welcoming Co-op staff for a tour.
Honeybees drone in a field of chamomile. Nearby, calendula is blossoming in tidy rows—glowing with a bright orange of fresh tangerines.
Nestled near the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Nooksack River, just off the Valley Highway in Deming, Moon Valley Organics is a handmade haven of quiet and quality, carefully cultivated by Kim and Aaron Otto.
From seed to salve, their mission is to create high-quality, organic personal care products that promote a healthy way of caring for our bodies and the world.
No small task, but they’ve been doing it with grace and style since 1999.
The farm’s old silo is ringed by fields of herbal ingredients, busy workshops, and a cozy
micro-village of trailers and tents for itinerant WWOOFers. (WWOOFers volunteer on organic farms around the world in exchange for a hands-on learning experience, plus room and board.)
If the relaxed, smiling faces of Moon Valley staff don’t tip you off, we are assured through their certified B Corp status that both seasonal and long-term workers enjoy the Moon Valley ethic and environment.
Calendula is the farm’s signature herb and Kim’s personal favorite. This year’s harvest was so abundant that space in the drying racks in the barn loft was at a premium, so blossoms were pre-drying in the hot, sunny field. Calendula, long-valued for its soothing properties, is used in almost all of the lotions and lip balms made by hand on the Moon Valley Organics farm.
Lovingly and expertly crafted from ingredients mostly grown on their own sustainable permaculture farm, their soaps, lip balms, lotion bars, and salves need no preservatives because of the high-quality beeswax and infused oils. (Don’t try it at home, but Kim says you can practically eat the stuff!)
Like all of their products, every herbal lip balm is formulated and packaged by hand right on the farm.
If the silky feel doesn’t make you want to buy one for every pocket and bag, just know that 10 percent of net lip balm profit is donated to organizations dedicated to protecting pollinators. And, Moon Valley created a 4-acre pollinator sanctuary on their own farm, ensuring the health of our flying friends for generations to come.
Listening to Kim and Aaron talk about bees and dirt makes me proud to carry their products.
Their commitment to sustainability even extends to packaging, which is not only beautiful but also BPA-free, 100 percent recyclable, and made from the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled materials available. For those striving for a zero waste lifestyle, the Co-op is happy to offer bulk options for their bar and liquid soaps. And a relatively new addition is plastic-free Moon Valley Herbal Shampoo bars packaged in recyclable paperboard
We are proud to call ourselves partners, and together will continue using beautiful body care and cooperative business as a vehicle for social change.
Taking a break in the calendula field are current and former Cordata wellness staff (taken in 2017: above, from left) Ticker Ba-Aye, Jesi Van Leeuwen, Sarah Schermer, Christy King, and, seated, Christy’s son, Odin.