Monthly Archives: July 2014

Salicylate-free soaps?

Hello, beautiful friends of Mamma Goat!

Most of you know that we went down this strange soapy path because our soap was an accidental miracle for me, and a big ol’ help for Phil.  So pretty is not what drives us – helpful is.  I can enjoy a pretty soap, but I truly care about making a soap kind enough for troublesome skin.

Are any of you salicylate-sensitve or following a sal-free protocol?  It fascinates me that folks going sal-free can eat salicylates but have to quite careful about avoiding it in skin-care products (and if that isn’t proof that what we put on our skin truly matters, I don’t know what is!).

I can make a sal-free soap, but I’d have to order in ingredients we don’t typically use.  So I’d like some feedback on whether there is interest.  This is another of those areas where real goat milk truly shines.  But, you know, our budget is stretched thin over farm costs (taxes, mortgage, equipment, etc.), animal care and feed, and soaping.  If you’ll buy it, I’ll make it.  I just need some folks to tell me “yes, we want natural sal-free soap” before I can justify the investment.

Thank you for your time!  You can e-mail me at tracy @ our web address.  Or use our contact page.

Our web address is

Thursday Farmer’s Market, dowtown Hillsboro, lunch time

Things have been way busy.  I haven’t posted about the short summer market at Tuality in Hillsboro.  It’s a neat little lunchtime market, heavy on the prepared foods, but you can also pick up eggs, veggies, flowers, and, of course, our lovely soap.

This week, a fellow from Blooming Junction popped over with a handful of onions.  “I’m going to trade you onions for soap.”  He was joking.

I asked if they were Walla Wallas.  Now, if you think “an onion’s an onion,” this won’t make sense.  But sweet onions are the bestest ever.  They don’t have the sharpness of a yellow onion; they are sweet and juicy and crunchy and mild.  I LOVE me a Walla Walla.  And his had the green tops on.  I love a fresh sweet onion, and the green tops are just a bonus.  Sweet, mild onion plus greens that you can use like fat chives.  These WERE Walla Wallas.  I would totally trade soap for that!

He ended up just buying soap.  I guess he thought I was joking, too.  But I needed veggies for the weekend, so we traded anyway – he bought soap, and I went and bought my  basket of sweet little tomatoes, herbs, and veggies.  That onion was YUMMY!  I can’t help snacking on the tomatoes, they’re so good.

And, next door to us, another farm had tomatillos and fingerling potatoes.  I had to get some of those.

See, our oven died.  On a farm, everything comes down to time and money.  We’ve just done without an oven.  Going on 3 months now.  So we grill.  Everything.  I kind of like it.  If we finish farm chores before sunset, we can see the goats while we grill.  Anyway…

Fingerling and small potatoes are great for the grill – faster than a big ‘tater, big enough not to fall through the grates.  And I wanted to try a grilled tomatillo.  It was awesome.

I just tossed the whole tomatillo on the grill.  When it was done, I peeled off the husk, diced it (it smushed a lot, but that was fine), and put it in rice.  It added a sweet – tart – juicy flavor that made the rice pop.  I will soooo do that again!  I’m big on sneaking extra veggies into dinner.  The grilled tomatillo added as much extra flavor and richness as a pat of butter would have added.

If you’re near downtown on Thursdays between 11 am and 1:30 pm, come on by.

Location & Hours

Dates: Thursdays, July 10-August 21

Hours: 11 – 1:30pm

Location:  Baseline and 8th Avenue

Is this what you picture when you buy goat milk soap?


That’s the kind of goat milk that goes into a LOT of “goat milk soap.”  It’s powdered, packaged, and shipped all over the country.  By dehydrating the milk, it can sit on a shelf for years without becoming – well, any worse?

That’s not what we use!  We use milk from our goats, raised right here in Oregon.  Powdered milk gets oxidized because the fats are exposed to air when you take all the natural fluids out of the milk.

Fluid goat milk from commercial dairies is often ultra-pasteurized so it can sit on the shelf for up to 2 months.  And it mostly comes from goats raised like this:


That’s not how we raise our goats!

The pictures we post are our actual goats.  Our goats look like this:

Moms love spending time with their kids.

Moms love spending time with their kids.

That’s Ice and Mocha.  (Our pastures don’t really look like a golf course, that just happens to be a green time of year after the pasture was munched down.  The alpacas graze kind of like lawnmowers, they leave a really smooth groom!)


New babies lie down while Mamma grazes nearby.

Those are Abbey’s babies.  The little guy was really funny – he’d nibble a little, move 2 inches, nibble a little more, move another two inches.  They were exhausted from a fun day!  They have invisible jet-packs, I swear!

The first two pictures are video screen-grabs from one of the leading sellers of goat milk.  The rest of the pictures are our own (we retain all copyrights for our pictures of our goats).

Mamma Goat Milk Soap only uses goat milk from our own pastured goats.  Our goats are raised here in Oregon, on our own pastures.  It’s okay if you ask where our milk comes from.  We love to talk about our babies (and all of the goats are our babies, from the tiny new ones to the Grandmamma).

Myth: All Goat Milk is the Same

It seems like a lot of folks think that “goat milk is goat milk is goat milk.”  That’s not true.  We produce our milk very differently from commercial milk.  Here’s a webpage with lots of pictures of typical goat milk farms:

What you’ll see in those pictures is a lot of goats inside barns, a lot of big heavy equipment bringing feed to the goats, and not much pasture at all. When you imagine a goat farm, you probably picture something like ours – goats nibbling trees, bushes, grasses, and weeds (forbs) out in the sunshine.  The reality for most commercial dairy goats is more like laying hens – they’re not free-range unless they proudly advertise that fact, and, if they do have the freedom to go outside, it’s a small lot adjacent to the barn with little to no living plants to eat.

Do you seek out grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, pastured poultry, etc.?  Then why would you settle for confinement-raised milk?

I have not found any nutritional studies on pastured vs. confined goat milk systems.  But it is hard to imagine that goat milk would be the only farm product that defies all the other research showing pastured farm animals produce healthier products.  Here are some pages specific to grass-fed milk:


We know that humans who eat fresh veggies and get lots of exercise are healthier than humans who sit around eating processed foods.  We know that hens who walk around outside foraging on fresh plants produce healthier eggs than chickens who spend their lives in battery cages, eating only processed food.  We know that cows who walk around outside eating living grasses produce healthier meat and milk.  But goats aren’t “economically important” enough for nutrition scientists to study the difference in goat milk.  And scientists would be hard-pressed to find pastured goat milk in stores.  Because, like all dairies (cow or goat), goat dairies find it’s cheaper to produce milk in confinement.

So I find it a little disturbing that well-educated food-focused consumers think that all goats are pastured and all goat milk is the same.  It’s not.  Dairy goats are typically only pastured on small farms.  Pasture is expensive.  But if the nutrition isn’t the same, cheap goat milk could be more expensive than you think.  If you have access to local dairy goat products that are pastured, snap them up.  They are worth the higher price.

Here is an interesting article that compares 1940s nutrient levels to 2002 levels (Meat and Dairy: Where Have all the Minerals Gone).

What changed between 1940 and 2002?

1) Increased reliance on confinement farming; 2) increased reliance on petro-type fertilizers for raising the crops that we feed to animals; 3) the moon landing; or 4) All of the above?

Back when dairy animals were predominantly raised outdoors, milk and cheese were richer in important minerals.   The old-fashioned ways left the land and the consumer in better shape.  The old-fashioned small farms bought most of their inputs locally, and spent most of their farm income locally.  The old-fashioned pasture-based farm recycled manure into compost into nutrient-rich fertilizer into nutrient-rich grazing land and back around, 360 degrees, into nutrient-rich foods.

If you are thinking about raising goats, please learn about pasturing goats (and using pasture rotation to keep goats healthy).  If you must raise them in confinement, try to bring them freshly-cut forage as the bulk of their diet and make sure they still get exercise and sunshine.  But the goats will definitely be happier if they get to go out and choose from the “buffet” for themselves.  Goats like exercise, fresh food, variety and mental stimulation.