Sometimes Too Much of a Good Thing is a Problem!
Written by Gayle
Donna’s problem was too much goat’s milk. She had two goats and found that they were producing more milk than she could turn into yogurt or cheese or could give away. So she started to research how she could use all of the excess milk. She got the idea of making soap and other skin care products.
|Donna is a real animal lover! Here she is with her baby pot-bellied pig!|
Goat’s milk has all of the vitamins and minerals that we need except for vitamin E. It is easily absorbed into the skin, and it is easier and faster to digest. That is why people with milk allergies can often drink goat’s milk. It has a low ph–the same as our skin–and contains caprylic acid, which is sometimes used to treat bacterial infections. It also has lactic acid, which is great for exfoliating, and alpha hydroxide, which has been shown to slow the effects of aging skin. People with eczema have found goat’s milk soap very helpful in clearing up their skin.
So Donna figured out how to make goat’s milk soap, and started making it and giving it for gifts. Everyone wanted more! She ramped up production, but soap making is a slow process. At the end of 2005, she decided to make a business of it, not just a hobby. She was selling her soap at school fairs and farmer’s markets. She was making it in her kitchen until the production got too big. Her double garage was converted into a work space, but after only two years it was too small as well.
The soap requires a drying time of a minimum of 30 days, so Donna needed more space. She also started experimenting with fragrances (now she uses only essential oils) and expanding her product line.
Soap making requires an oil, a liquid, and lye (sodium hydroxide), which emulsifies the oil and liquid. Donna showed us the various ingredients that she uses to make her soaps. Most soap manufacturers use water as their liquid, but as you can imagine, those soaps are often drying to the skin. She never uses a drop of water–all she uses for her liquid is the goat’s milk. Here she is showing us the olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter that she uses in some of her products.
Donna is also adamant about never heating her soap ingredients over 80 degrees. She constantly checks the temperature to make sure that it stays below that threshold.
At the end of 2010 Donna found a wonderful 1 acre farm in Fillmore, which is now her business headquarters. She has lots of animals, and the farmhouse is used as the business office. She installed solar panels, and converted a large shed into her workspace.
Donna’s daughter Lauren is her business partner. You may have seen Lauren doing a Chivas demo at one of the Lassen’s stores!
|The tortoise and one of the pigs say hello!|
Donna and Lauren are passionate about making sure their animals are healthy and treated well. The goats are fed organic alfalfa and grain. They are milked twice daily.
|This is the male goat–get a load of those impressive horns!|
Chivas has 8 goats right now. In the Spring more baby goats were born, but they now have other loving homes.
Donna and Lauren love to host “Open Farm” events so that people can come see the farm and get to know the animals and learn about the soap-making process. Each event is a little different, but people can often milk the goats, make soap, pet the animals, and learn other fun things. At the Fall event, Donna will teach people how to make their own pumpkin facial mask!
Chivas will host the Fall Open Farm Event on Saturday November 9, 2013. This is a “By Appointment Only” event, so contact them at http://bit.ly/WU0byI or call 805-727-3121. They are also hosting their Holiday Boutique on Saturday December 7.
Enjoy this wonderful local product!