By: Haili Gusa
Pulling up to the house where my harvest hangout video would take place, I couldn’t help but smile. This was where my agriculture education teacher and her family live. I had spent many hours here working on FFA projects and chatting for hours on end. I was super excited because I was going to learn something new! My ag teacher’s daughter, Makila Cantrell, was going to show me how she makes goat milk soap for her business.
What Kind of Soap?!
While goat milk soap is certainly not the first product you associate with agriculture, it is an udderly moisturizing one! Cantrell was inspired to start her goat milk soap and milk bath business after attending the 92nd Michigan FFA State Convention where she watched a demonstration on the process.
We started filming our video out in the goat pen. She explained that milk had already been harvested and frozen because at the time I was visiting, none of the goats were kidding (having babies). Cantrell’s goat milk soap business is unconventional because she doesn’t take the kids (baby goats) away and bottle feed them but instead waits until after the kid is weaned and collects the milk then. Next, we went inside to start the process. The milk was mixed with lye to denaturalize the fat. Once the mixture was smooth, a pot of different enriching oils were added. We poured our mixture into molds where they would have to stay for 24 hours. Once popped out, they must rest and cure for an additional 3-4 weeks. Cantrell also demonstrated how she pH tests the bars that have cured and then packages the final product.
Do You Smell That?
The most fun ingredients to add were the essential oils because they smelled so good! While I was there, we made Peppermint Vanilla soap, mmmmm. Cantrell’s inventory includes all sorts of wonderful scents, with some of her newest being: Holiday Joy, Harvest Spice, Lemon Basil, Sandalwood, and Cashmere Glow. The Harvest Spice soap smelled just like fall, and I couldn’t leave without purchasing some myself! I was grateful for the opportunity to visit one of my favorite families and getting to learn all about goat milk soap. I’m loving my soap and may possibly be looking to purchase some soap as Christmas presents, but shhhh, don’t tell my friends and family!
Bio: Haili Gusa is the newly retired Michigan FFA State President and a current Michigan Grown, Michigan Great Ambassador. She is an Honors student at Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in Communication. In her free time, Haili enjoys running, playing volleyball, and spending quality time with friends and family.