|Val at the French Market in Niles, MI |
DOWAGIAC, MI – Freshly-harvested fruit and vegetables, the most preferred perennials of an avid gardener, along with aromatic and herbal remedies, will be among the products available at the all-new Dowagiac Farmers’ Market, which returns to the central business district next Thursday, June 7.
The open-air market will be staged this summer adjacent to the Beckwith Park on Thursdays from 4 to 8:30 p.m., in conjunction with this community’s popular Beckwith Park Summer Concert Series, which also opens its season on June 7. Both programs are hosted by the Dowagiac Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
“As we’ve brought back and redesigned the concept of the farm and artisans’ market, following a four-year hiatus, we’ve witnessed a wonderful response from growers and other vendors,” said Vickie Phillipson, who will serve as its market master in her position as program director for the Dowagiac DDA and Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.
While the mainstay of the all-new Dowagiac Farmers’ Market will, of course, be growers of in-season fruit and vegetables, the open air market will also feature local artisans, who work with such natural products as herbs, glass and wood.
“Indeed, we’re pleased to welcome Valkyrie “Val” Lang, who is an herbalist and formulator from South Bend, Ind., who is likely to be our most unique vendor,” Phillipson said. The formally-trained herbalist, who began making herbal creams for her friends in 1995, has since turned her passion into a one-woman industry, known as A Natural High, which is located within South Bend’s Sample Street Business Complex. In her lab, she formulates premium body products for skincare with therapeutic aromatherapy benefits. Lang said her product line is formulated to incorporate only the best that nature has to offer.
“We never use mineral oil, lanolin or rely on synthetic aromas,” Lang said. “Most of our products are 100 percent natural. We also seek out suppliers that have the same green values that we have.”
Her signature products include an anti-aging and firming facial serum with Vitamin C Ester; blue miracle balm for sensitive skin and babies; intensive lip treatment, made from shea and cocoa butter hydration; eucalyptus sore muscle rub for stressed and aching bodies; and her top seller, which is an intensive skin treatment for cracked, dry and chapped hands and feet.
The new market will be open June through August on Thursdays from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Phillipson said during festival time, market hours and its location may be changed to accommodate activities of the July 26-28 Fun Fest. Following the conclusion of the concert series in late-August and based upon the input of its vendors, the market will then identify the best means of continuing its operation into the fall harvest season.
July 2006 A Natural High featured in The South Bend Tribune Business section. Read the entire story: Offering a natural high: South Bend woman creates herbal remedies
By CHRISTINA HILDRETH
Tribune Staff Writer
Tribune Photo/GENE KAISER
Valkyrie Lang, owner of A Natural High, was at the French Market in Niles last week. Lang travels to several area markets each week to sell her herbal products.
SOUTH BEND -- Ever wondered what bright yellow smells like? Visit Valkyrie Lang's laboratory, and you'll find out.
Her company, A Natural High, is buried deep within the dark industrial warehouses of the Sample Street Business Complex, but you don't need a guide to find her.
Just a nose.
Inside the lab, Lang methodically fills blue vials with small portions of geranium, frankincense or pink grapefruit oil. The scent of her sprays, balms and salves wafts out the warehouse door, followed gently by faint Sarah McLachlan melodies coming from a small radio.
It's here, among her shelves of stopper-topped glass bottles reminiscent of an alchemist's potion room, that she formulates her products, takes orders and does paperwork.
The formally trained herbalist started crafting herbal creams for friends back in 1995. At the time, she had no laboratory, no logo and no clientele. Now, six years after turning her hobby into a career, her products can be found in several area stores and spas.
"We know that everything she does have is at the purest state," said Beth Hamilton, president and chief executive of The Spa at Colfax. "She does offer some great options that we like."
The spa vends several products on A Natural High's line, such as the lavender love linen spray and the intensive skin treatment.
A Natural High products are popular at the spa because they are not based on artificial ingredients, Hamilton said.
Lang only buys ingredients from certain places in the world: lavender from France, peppermint from Oregon or shea butter from West Africa. This, plus the labor-intensive formulating and manufacturing process, makes A Natural High products more expensive than the typical skin care line's. Lip balm, Lang's cheapest product, costs $4.50 per tube.
But Lang is not a profit-pusher.
"It's not about being a millionaire: there's a lot easier ways to do that," she said.
Instead, her goal is to educate her customers on the benefits of living a holistic lifestyle and using products made only from Earth's botanical offerings.
She lives her message too, by eating only organic foods, not smoking and taking care of herself.
"I made a commitment to live a holistic lifestyle," she said. "I'm going to walk the talk."
May 2006 A Natural High is included as a feature story in Get Healthy! magazine. "Total Organic Product Domination" by Debbie Luebke Metro.
"I use aroma therapeutic grade essential oils in my products-that's what differentiates me from the others." -Valkyrie Lang (as quoted in the article on page 19).
May 2005 1st Annual Soaper Awards
A Natural High receives 1st place "Best Dry and Sore Skin Solutions" for our amazing product Intensive Skin Treatment!
April 2005 Intensive Skin Treatment & Intensive Lip Treatment featured in "Five Star Reviews."
Quote: "I was hooked. Positively fit to be highed." -Jolie Kretchman Loeb
Read the glowing editorial at: Five Star Reviews