3 business women posing in sunflower feild

SUNFLOWER FIELDS FOREVER!

It’s an exciting day! We’re announcing a new collaboration that is: 

  • bringing down the costs of our best selling Soap & Suds for our Refillers!
  • reducing our carbon footprint (again)!
  • and creating another closed loop system in our operations!

You know we’ve always taken great pride in our commitment to being a zero-waste company. What we’re able to do within our own walls is an impressive accomplishment, but we’ve always had our sights set on a greater level of impact.  

We regularly bend over backwards to find ways to make sure that all the excess packaging we receive in our raw material orders doesn’t end up in the landfill -- it feels like we’re constantly swimming upstream (through waves of plastic wrap). I’m always on the search for raw material vendors who offer the kind of high-quality ingredients that make Fillaree products so special, while also buying into our mission to reduce waste from the get-go.

Team Fillaree & Farmer Lee with all the empty oil barrels - P.C. James Bowman 

Well, today, I’m thrilled to announce that one such beautiful partnership, vision, and Fillaree dream has come to fruition!  We have replaced all of the olive oil in our recipes with NC-grown, non-gmo, cold pressed, sunflower oil from Carolina Gold Farm in Harrelsville , NC!! This oil is delivered to us in large barrels and when they’re empty, we send them back to Lee on the farm to be refilled with more oil! So, the same system that you all participate in by returning your bottles to refill, we’re creating in our supply chain by returning our barrels to the Sunflower Farm! 


 

This means we’ll no longer have to deal with the packaging waste from the olive oil that was shipped to us from California in non-returnable bottles, and instead we’re using an oil that is grown and processed right here in North Carolina, just a few hours from our factory! The carbon footprint reduction here is MASSIVE! And by buying in larger quantities from this local source, and using our own refillable containers, our costs are going down while we’re investing in our local agricultural economy. We’re passing those savings onto our refillers by reducing the cost of Soap & Suds by $0.10 per ounce – which is over 15 % savings for you! 

Back in September, Alexandria and I took a mini road trip and a bunch of empty barrels to the farm and got to meet Lee, the amazing farmer & business person behind the sunflower crop & oil. The visit was so much fun. After hopping in his pickup truck for a bumpy, wild ride around the farm, we stopped in a lovely spot to take some photos. Sunflowers are Alexandria's favorite flower so we couldn’t miss this opportunity!  Alexandria asked Lee if there were any snakes in the fields, to which Lee replied “yes,” quite nonchalantly! Not “watch out” or “maybe”, but just an affirmative “yes.”  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and all the others, he went on to explain.  With a quick apprehensive glance at each other and a silent “uummmmmmm, okay…”, Alexandria and I stepped ever so carefully to a clearing in the flowers for some lovely photos like these:  

Alexandria & I trying not to freak out in the fields!  - P.C. James Bowman - 


We were so impressed with all that Lee accomplishes during his long days on the farm.  He is a wheelchair user and manages this 50+ acre farm from his trusty pick up truck, with walkie-talkies and a cell phone. It was incredible to meet Lee, who is a very kind and sincere man, even a bit shy. From seeding, planting, tending, and then harvesting, pressing, and processing the oil – everything happens right on site and Lee’s systems are well-oiled machines (pun intended!).  Witnessing the natural, magical beauty he is stewarding there is awe-inspiring to say the least!

Farmer Lee Britt & Fillaree founder Alyssa cracking up - P.C. James Bowman

And not only have we formed this amazing working relationship, we also introduced Camilla from Nailah’s Shea to Lee as well, creating another local connection. She’s planning on using this sunflower oil in her bar soaps, too! Camilia, who is from that area of eastern NC, joined us at the farm during our visit for a few photos. She and Lee realized that they actually know some of the same folks from the surrounding area - it truly is a small world! 

 Alyssa, Camilia, & Alexandria with our bar soaps made with Sunflower Oil - P.C. James Bowman 

This partnership is a dream come true. It’s been in the works for a while now, and finally being able to announce it feels like a huge milestone for us! It’s been a long time coming and if it weren’t for our supportive refiller community that keeps growing and increasing the demand for our products, this would have never been possible! Thanks for continuing to show up time and time again to refill instead of take-and-trash. You’re making this kind of magic happen....