Local Mama Establishes Goat FarmBy ELISA MAYO,
Emily Holifield had no idea being raised on a farm would mean she would become a farmer herself, but that’s exactly what happened five years ago, “I had gotten married and realized we had no animals at our house. I had always grown up surrounded by livestock, so I bugged my husband (Michael) until he let me buy two goats.” Those two goats proved to be pets for Emily.
Then, the couple welcomed a baby to their family, “Having Marlowe made us start thinking about healthier eating and when we found out we had dairy goats and that goat’s milk was very healthy, we decided to use it,” states Emily.
Emily started milking her goats and expanded her herd. She now has Nigerian Dwarf and Alpine goats. “The Alpine goats produce a milk that is better for drinking and they give me a gallon of milk per day. The Nigerian goats give a very rich, fatty milk that is better for making cheese, butter, and yogurt. They give me about a quart of milk per day,” explains Emily. Emily boils the milk she plans to drink to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty seconds using a double broiler. She then chills it.
For butter making, Emily allows the milk to sit in the fridge for 24 hours. She scoops the cream off the top and makes butter using a mixer. This process also produces buttermilk. “We also like to make cheese and yogurt with the milk. I usually let Michael do that because he is more detailed-oriented than I am,” explains Emily.
Milking is done once or twice per day according to whether or not the goats have babies. “Milking the goats was definitely a learning experience. My muscles are always very sore each year when I start milking. It takes time to get used to it,” says Emily. She gets so much milk from her herd that she freezes what she can’t immediately use. The frozen milk is used for soap making. She started making soap a year ago as a way to use the milk but found it was a good business for her farm, “I had no idea if people would buy it and I was worried when I made my first post on Facebook, but the response has been amazing. People have supported my business and I often run out of soap.” Emily makes soap 4-5 days per week and gets 40 bars each day. Her regular scents are Citrus, Rosemary Mint, Lavender Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea Tree, and Unscented Oatmeal and Honey. She also makes special scents for the holidays.
Emily says, “The soap making has made our goat’s lives better. We can feed the goats better with the revenue from the soap. We were able to expand their pen and I have invested in a goat milking machine, which will make my milking more efficient.”
Emily has also started showing her goats and sells her baby goats. The goat farm has given Emily purpose while she stays home with her daughter, “It gives me something to do while I am home with Marlowe. It gives me a way to use my brain. I’ve missed working and this is something I can do to keep myself engaged.”
The soap is used by both men and women. It’s good for bathing and shaving. And just like the other products made from the goat’s milk, it has health benefits. To find out more, visit Emily on Facebook at Ridgewood Farms Dairy Goats and Soaps.
Benefits of Goat Milk Soap:
Treats Acne-Prone Skin
Reduces Skin Inflammation
Contains Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
Promotes Youthful Look to Skin