The key ingredients in this local skin care and candle line are tallow from grass-fed cattle and sheep, olive oil, organic herbs, and high-end essential oils.
Founded by former chef Megan Bre Camp, Summer Solace Tallow applies the tenets of the slow-food movement to body care. This organic line of balms, candles, and soaps is made from local ingredients that are free of pesticides and chemicals. The product base is tallow, which has been used for centuries to make candles, soap, and even moisturizers for the face and body. Tallow is made of suet, the fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep. Think of suet as nature’s Crisco; it has long been used to make mincemeat pie, pastries, and English puddings.
Camp sources grass-fed beef suet from local ranches with organic pasturelands: Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales and Magruder Ranch in Potter Valley. The self-proclaimed mom-preneur renders the tallow herself on the stove of her high-ceilinged Oakland live/work space that she shares with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. She adds Séka Hills olive oil from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in Brooks to aid in spreadability, and for scent, she uses organic herbs and absolutes, which are high-end essential oils.
The result is a variety of vitamin-packed and easily absorbed balms, including the Chef and Gardener’s balm for skin protection (and eczema relief) and her newest concoction, the CBD-infused Trauma Balm for aches and pains. Other offerings include rustic soaps in seven varieties, slow-burning candles that do not release carcinogens or soot into the air, and a hiba wood water-based perfume. Sourced from Aomori hiba trees, this perfume can be used on the body and as an air freshener.
Camp hopes to build her one-woman operation into a team to sell her goods at local farmers’ markets and to help with marketing. Although she dreams of building her business into a nationally known brand, Camp will always have a hand in the making of her products. “I’m a control freak, like most chefs,” she admitted.
You can find Summer Solace Tallow products at the Temescal and Grand Lake farmers markets in Oakland and online at SummerSolaceTallow.com.