If there was one friend I had from high school that I would have deemed,
“Most likely NOT to live on a working dairy farm”….
It would have been my dear friend Judy. I’m not saying that she isn’t tough. Far from it . She just never struck me a the type who would milk goats when she grew up.
Can y’all guess what she does now? That’s right. She and her family have an actual working dairy farm, Hidden Valley Dairy. It’s in Argyle Texas if you can belive it’s under all this snow.
They sell raw goats milk, yogurt and kefir, free range eggs, and make the most amazing handcrafted goats milk soap.
Naturally I was curious, so I ordered a few bars……….When our package came, I could smell the unopened box when I walked into the house…….
If only the PC was scrath-n-sniff; you could smell just how heavenly for yourselves….
Goats milk soap is naturally nourishing to skin, kills acne bacteria, moisturizes skin instead of drying like commercial soap, and actually reduces irritation for people with sensitive skin. Don’t like fragrance or dyes? No worries. They sell unscented/color free as well.
I had to know how this all came about for Judy and her family. So I quizzed her…….
How on earth did y’all ever decide to raise goats?
Judy, “We started in goats in ’06 after lots and lots of research. We wanted something that would allow us to be a bit more self sufficient and also put our land to good use. Dairy goats fit the bill because they don’t require expensive facilities ie; heavy duty fencing, large barns, livestock handling etc., and goats like vines, broad leaf grasses and leaves, which we have plenty of with our heavily treed property.
Dairy Goats are very intelligent, friendly and easily handled because, frankly, they are like big dogs. They know their names and you can lead them around by their collar which means the kids can handle them without getting hurt (unlike cows). After we decided on goats we went to the Ft. Worth stock show and visited the Dairy goat barn and talked with a lot of the dairy goat breeders. We made some friends and ended up buying seven LaMancha dairy goats….all in milk…and I’d never even milked a goat! You know what they say: “go big or go home” LOL!”
Do goats, like cows, have to be pregnant or nursing to produce milk?
Judy, “We practice what’s called “extended lactation” which basically means we only breed when we absolutely have to. There isn’t a large goat market (non-dinner plate, that is) and we feel it’s better to not bring a bunch of unwanted goats into the world. So we milk twice a day, everyday, summer and winter. Seven of the nine does are well into their second year of lactation and still going strong. The other two will be bred again this summer.”
Here are a couple of the girls, Sugar and Ima respectively, strapped in for a feeding and a milking….
How did you start using the goat milk to make soap?
Judy, “A well bred dairy goat will give a gallon or more of milk a day so I had A LOT of extra milk. I made yogurt, cheese, kefir, as well as all of us drinking a ton of milk and still had milk left over so I started making soap. I had no idea how wonderful goat’s milk soap was in the beginning. I just needed to do something with the milk. The first time I used my soap (after curing) I was stunned that my skin didn’t hurt. I truly had no idea that soap wasn’t supposed to burn! Needless to say I was hooked. ”
Here are some bars about to be sliced and packaged…That’s Rosemarry, Eucalyptus Mint (Our personal Favorite), and Lavender.
How did you start selling your soaps?
Judy, “One of my close friends is Anne Jones of Latte Da Dairy in Flower Mound and she kept telling me I needed to sell my soaps but I was nervous so she invited me to set up a table at one of her farm open houses (if you’ve never been to a Latte Da open house you need to!) and people loved it so the rest is history. ”
Judy, “We mainly do Farmer’s markets right now although I’m about to launch my Amazon store and we also have a couple of wholesale accounts. I bring my soap and Anne’s cheese to White Rock Local Market and sell both. I’m looking into larger venues like craft shows and also expanding my wholesale business (B&M stores). I’m trying to grow slow enough to focus on customer service and order fulfillment but fast enough to keep up momentum…it’s a harrowing balancing act! “
I have wanted to get a couple of chickens for years, but Jamie thinks I’m joking when I bring it up…..
Judy, “Tell Jamie you NEED chickens! They are so much fun! They all have different personalities and are a blast to watch. We used to have one hen that would want to be rocked on the hammock every time my daughter would go outside and we also had one that would wait by the gate for us to drive in and then “lead” us down the driveway as if we needed her help to find our way home. LOL! They eat bugs and give you fertilizer. They also give you breakfast…”
How beautiful is this girl? And I am totally in love with that galvanized nesting box.
Please take a look-see at Hidden Valley Diary online, order a few bars for yourselves, you will NOT be disappointed.
Drop Judy a note, tell her the Cavender boys said “Howdy”.
…….. she’d love to hear that you’ve enjoyed her soaps as much as we have ……