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Welcome to our blog...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Give your Planet an Earth Day Present
Imagine the reduction in toxins if you stopped using harmful chemicals for spring cleaning and switched to Watkins all-natural home care products.
Get ready for Earth Day 2016! It falls on April 22 this year. What have you done recently to show your home planet you really care? Did you turn off the bathroom faucet when you were brushing your teeth or shaving this morning, rather than wasting all that water? Did you ask for paper rather than plastic when you checked out of your local supermarket? Did you divide your trash for recycling?
That’s all well and good. But this year, how about making a concentrated effort to help save the planet for your children and grandchildren? Now is a perfect time to start right in your own home. You are probably about to begin that annual spring cleaning to get your home ready for this new season. When you haul your cleaning supplies out from under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, take a moment to read the labels on the containers? We did about a year ago when we wanted to find out what was so powerful in those containers that made our whites whiter and bathtubs brighter.
 We were shocked! No wonder you have to use rubber gloves to avoid first-degree burns, and start choking if you forget to throw open all the windows before using some of these harmful chemicals.
Our planet needs all the help we can give it. That’s why we Big Bear Country Store managers were thrilled when we first learned about the Watkins all-natural home care product line. Our store now prides itself on offering these great products at the Big Bear Farmer’s Market every Tuesday from 8:30 am to 1 pm. But if you don’t live within driving distance of Big Bear, you can order these outstanding cleaning products through the following link:
 www.jrwatkins.com/consultant/gonatural. What’s so great about Watkins all-natural products? Many all-purpose cleaners contain toxins that can be inhaled. Ammonia-based cleaners can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Minimize your family’s exposure to these harmful toxins with Watkins.  The company’s Natural All Purpose Cleaners feature plant-based formulas that are:
• Ammonia Free
• Animal Ingredient Free
• Benzene Free
• Biodegradable
• Bleach Free
• Boron Free
• Diethylene Ether Free
• Dye Free
• Formaldehyde Free
• Isopropanol Free
• Kerosene Free
• Mineral Spirit Free
• Never Tested On Animals
• Non-toxic
• Paraben Free
• Petrochemical Free
• Phosphate Free
• Phosphoric Acid Free
• Phthalate Free
• Propylene Glycol Free
• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free
• Sulfuric Acid Free
There are a number of things that will make your spring cleaning a lot easier this year. Here’s just a few of them that relate to the Watkins All Purpose Cleaner:
• Spray a small amount of the all-purpose cleaner on a soft cloth and gently rub cloth over switch plates to remove smudges and fingerprints.
• Never dust using a dry towel, this method will only relocate dirt into the air or onto the floor. For optimal dusting, lightly dampen a micro fiber cloth or paper towel with the all-purpose cleaner.
• To naturally clean your microwave place a bowl of water with a few drops of lemon juice in the microwave and run on high for one minute. Next spray the all-purpose cleaner on the surface and wipe away crusted food and grease.
• To clean ceiling fans, use a long-handled brush dampened with the all-purpose cleaner.
If all of these tasks can be done with just one product, imagine how your entire house can benefit from using the wide variety of Watkins all-natural cleaning products while at the same time protecting the environment. Order your products today in time for Earth Day 2016 on April 22. Once again, the link to the complete line of home care products can be found at www.jrwatkins.com/consultant/gonatural.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tis the season for farmers markets
Warmer weather in most parts of the country makes spring the perfect time to discover what’s new with Watkins.

It’s been a long winter for our Watkins consultants in the east and parts of Canada. But here out west, the tulips and daffodils are in full bloom; the home town folks in our sleepy town of Big Bear, California are coming out of hibernation along with the … bears.
This past Tuesday, we opened up our Watkins booth in the parking lot of our local convention center for the first farmers market of the season, expecting to see just a few locals and visiting tourists. Boy, were we wrong. A perfect spring day had a good crowd come out to pick out the fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
They also came out to stop by our Watkins booth. We have been pitching our tent at the farmers market for several years now, even reserving the same spot so we are easy to find. A number of Big Bearians have become good friends who love to stop by and visit, as well as see what new products have been added to the Watkins product line since last year. While we have about a 100 products on display, we always include a Watkins catalog that shows all 250-some items on sale.
When it comes to the out-of-towners, many of them are attracted to our Watkins banner at the farmers market, who tell us they remember Watkins as a child when the local Watkins traveling salesman would come knocking on their front door pedaling his wares. In addition to their purchase, they are happy to learn that they can go to our website www.AllNaturalCountryStore.com to purchase Watkins products online when they return home. Yes, even this company about to celebrate its 150th anniversary has gone high tech! We also realize there are a number of local seniors, who are unable to walk through the many isles of the farmers market.
Therefore, we offer to deliver products right to their front door if they live within a 30-mile radius of Big Bear. For those seniors who live far outside our boundaries, we also encourage them to visit us online.

Friday, March 4, 2016

What is the difference between artificial and natural flavors?

What is the difference between artificial and natural flavors?

You need to know when comparing Watkins products to other so-called “all natural” products on the market.

Gary Reineccius, a professor in the department of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota, explains the difference as follows:

Natural and artificial flavors are defined for the consumer in the Code of Federal Regulations. A key line from the definition of a natural product is “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate and distillate, which can be enhanced by roasting, heating or enzymolysis, and contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional." (Boy, is this a long and complicated definition of a natural product. Feel free to condense it for your customers.) Artificial flavors are those that are made from components that do not meet this definition.

Artificial flavoring is a specific and often complex mixture of singular naturally occurring flavor compounds combined to either imitate or enhance a natural flavor.

The question at hand, however, appears to be less a matter of legal definition than the "real" or practical difference between these two types of flavorings. There is little substantive difference in the chemical compositions of natural and artificial flavorings. They are both made in a laboratory by a trained professional, a "flavorist," who blends appropriate chemicals together in the right proportions. The flavorist uses "natural" chemicals to make natural flavorings and "synthetic" chemicals to make artificial flavorings. The flavorist creating an artificial flavoring must use the same chemicals in his formulation as would be used to make a natural flavoring, however. Otherwise, the flavoring will not have the desired flavor. The distinction in flavorings--natural versus artificial--comes from the source of these identical chemicals and may be likened to saying that an apple sold in a gas station is artificial and one sold from a fruit stand is natural.

This issue is somewhat confusing to the average consumer in part because of other seeming parallels in the world. One can, for example, make a blue dye out of blueberry extract or synthetic pigments. These dyes are very different in chemical composition yet both yield a blue color. Similarly, consider one shirt made from wool and another from nylon. Both are shirts, but they have very different chemical compositions. This diversity of building blocks is not possible in flavorings--one makes a given flavor only by using specific chemicals. Thus, if a consumer purchases an apple beverage that contains an artificial flavor, she will ingest the same primary chemicals that she would take in if she had chosen a naturally flavored apple beverage.

When making a flavor, the flavorist always begins by going to the scientific literature and researching what chemicals nature uses to make the desired flavor. He then selects from the list of flavor components found in, say, real apples, generally simplifying natures list to eliminate those chemicals that make little contribution to taste or are not permitted owing to toxicity. (Nature has no restrictions on using toxic chemicals, whereas the flavorist does.) The flavorist then either chooses chemicals that are natural (isolated from nature as described above) or synthetic chemicals (made by people) to make the flavor.

So is there truly a difference between natural and artificial flavorings? Yes. Artificial flavorings are simpler in composition and potentially safer because only safety-tested components are utilized. Another difference between natural and artificial flavorings is cost. The search for "natural" sources of chemicals often requires that a manufacturer go to great lengths to obtain a given chemical. Natural coconut flavorings, for example, depend on a chemical called massoya lactone. Massoya lactone comes from the bark of the Massoya tree, which grows in Malaysia. Collecting this natural chemical kills the tree because harvesters must remove the bark and extract it to obtain the lactone. Furthermore, the process is costly. This pure natural chemical is identical to the version made in an organic chemists laboratory, yet it is much more expensive than the synthetic alternative. Consumers pay a lot for natural flavorings. But these are in fact no better in quality, nor are they safer, than their cost-effective artificial counterparts.
Even though Watkins customers are impressed that some 95% of our products are “all-natural,” in the end it all comes down to price. Even though some manufacturers will warn consumers that artificial flavors contain harmful chemicals, this just isn’t the case.

Friday, January 29, 2016

We’re Here When You Need to Place an Order

We’re Here When You Need to Place an Order
Don’t let winter storms keep you from your favorite Watkins products.

Boy, did those of us in Big Bear, California, have a major El Niňo storm last week. Trees were toppled, snow blocked roads, and many businesses had to close after more than three feet of snow fell on our small community.
Our Watkins All Natural Store never had to close because we are an online store. We were able to sit at our computers while there was a nice blaze in the fireplace, yet help our customers across the country place their orders for Watkins products. Even with the winds blowing across the United States and Canada, products ordered through the Watkins plant in Winona, Wisconsin, usually were delivered to the front doors of customers by valiant UPS personnel in about a week.
True, we would sometimes venture out into the Big Bear community and deliver products to our local customers. Thanks to the rugged ability of our Watkins four-wheel drive Jeep, we would go where other less equipped vehicles could not go. If it wasn’t white powder, it was the black ice that would cover streets when melting snow became a dangerous hazard for drivers. 
Sometimes customers would call our 888-881-7372 number and ask if we had a representative in their area who could provide such valuable service. If the representative didn’t have the product in their inventory, we would explain how easy it is for them to assist the individual place an order online.

We encourage you to follow the same process. It’s hard to predict how long these winter storms will continue. But we are just a phone call away. Once again, our number is 888-881-7372.

Monday, January 4, 2016

El Niño interrupts the normal delivery of Watkins products
As some of you may know, the All Natural Country Store makes home deliveries to customers living in our home base of Big Bear Lake, CA, as well as our bedroom communities of Irwin Lake, Sugarloaf and Whispering Forest. But for our customers across the country and Canada, UPS is the dependable carrier that will deliver Watkins products to your front door.
The employees of this professional organization seem to perform miracles, getting an order from the Watkins production plant in Winona, Minnesota, to its destination point in about a week. But this year has been an exception because of El Niño, the vicious storm front that has moved across the country, flooding entire communities, destroying homes, over-turning vehicles, and – yes – even killing individuals. The last thing the affected families are worried about is the timely delivery of their Watkins orders.
The other factor that has impacted our weather has been global warming. While some actually deny the phenomenon exists, Southern California has seen temperatures in the teens, while northeast citizens are jogging in Central Park. This weather has impacted the outdoor public events of the country store’s sales representatives. We managers of the store have suggested to our representatives that they plan ahead by stocking up on the most popular Watkins products. They also receive free shipping on orders of $100 or more, plus a five percent commission. The other suggestion we make is to remain in contact with their most frequent customers. Something as simple as a phone call can go a long way.

Of course, we like it when our customers call us. Just dial 888-881-7372, and we can place your phone order the same day.