Penny and Jay Adler own and operate the 444Farm in Hazel, South Dakota. They have 40 acres (half in wetlands) where they have implemented sustainable grazing practices by replacing water systems, re-sowing pastures, installing high tensile fences, and creating paddocks for rotational grazing. They raise dairy goats and make goat’s milk soap and lotion.
They sell their products at festivals, craft shows, farmer’s markets, and on the internet. Penny Adler says the one product that sets them apart from other soap makers are their goat’s milk cream soaps. Their cream soap cures for four months and has a lather like whipped cream, with “a velvet-like feel.”
They have three different cream soap products made with goat’s milk – Purifying Facial Soap with pink kaolin clay, Oats n Honey Facial Cleanser made with ground oats and local honey, and an exfoliating Creamy Sugar Scrub.
“Goat’s milk soap products and the bath and beauty markets are growing,” said Adler. “This creates opportunities for other farm families to create additional farm revenue with a value-added product such as soaps, lotions, lip balms, or hydrosols. Many of these ventures start in the kitchen, but as we scale [up] to include liquid based products (such as lotions or liquid soaps), we have to be aware of the impact of our processes and environment have on our final products.”
In 2014, Adler received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to implement safe manufacturing practices, complete product challenge testing, and to market their product safety and practices for their goat’s milk cream soap.
The first year of the grant project was devoted to education and establishment of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and shelf-life/stability testing. Adler says the testing has slowed down the product release, but will increase the overall quality and marketability of their product.
“The establishment of GMP practices around inventory, processes and logging has been very beneficial,” reported Adler. “I was expecting to spend more time on the preservative challenge testing, but initially it was spent on stability and shelf-life testing. It was important to do shelf-life testing to make sure formulations are rock solid.”
View Penny's presentation on this project, from the 2015 Farmers Forum, through NCR-SARE's YouTube playlist. Visit www.youtube.com/NCRSAREvideo for this and other videos.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant: