North Fork Natural coming to Cutchogue

Fernanda (Credit :Kendall Stark)

Fernanda Menegassi (Credit: Kendall Stark)

It might be time to trade in your generic bar of store-bought soap for an organic, all natural one made right here on the North Fork.

North Fork Natural, a new store which specializes in additive-free skincare products, is expected to open August 15 at the former location of Scoops Ice Cream Shoppe in Cutchogue.

North Fork Natural owner and founder Fernanda Menegassi, who is originally from Brazil, came to the U.S. when she was 16 as a foreign exchange student in Missouri. After transferring to college at William Patterson University in New Jersey, she met her husband Peter Lojac, a Lindenhurst-native at a party in Manhattan. The couple moved to Cutchogue in 2012.

“I’ve been making soap and using essential oils for a little over a year,” she said. “I wanted to make my own skin care products just to be more health conscious after learning about chemicals that are in commercially branded cosmetics.”

From insect repellent made with tea tree oil and lemongrass to sunburn gel crafted with aloe vera and lavender, Menegassi uses a variety of natural substances to counter chemical-heavy brands. Menegassi, who is also a registered nurse who received her degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, said she began making her own products and giving samples to friends and family last year. After they encouraged her to start selling her products, she earned a certification in aromatherapy from the New York Institute of Aromatherapy.

“Learning about the process gave me more exposure and more knowledge on how to increase the quality of my products,” she said. “That’s when I decided to turn the hobby into a business.”

Menegassi said she hopes her store brings more awareness about alternative healthy and healing.<

“Sometimes we depend so much on store-bought products and we don’t know what we’re putting in our skin,” she said. “I hope I can offer resources to help people be more mindful about what they’re using on their bodies.”

North Fork Natural is located at 28080 Main Road in Cutchogue