Think Spring + Farmers Markets (Despite the Snow Storm!!)

Yes, I do realize that I am in Michigan, and despite the spring-like weather we’ve had over the past few days, I know we’re about to get blasted with up to 11 inches of snow, but… Spring is coming!  And with it comes the start of our farmers market season!

The Bank Street Kalamazoo Farmers Market is the largest, most vibrant market we participate in.  It has an upbeat, festival feel to it, fresh produce, food trucks, unique handmade gifts, and live music.  Saturday brings crowds of up to 8,000 people, or so I have been told, so come early – the market is open from 7am – 2pm – but it really clears out after 1pm.  It’s a wonderful start to your weekend.

Habanaro carmels.jpgMy favorite treat is a package of Habanero Caramels made by Cherri’s Chocol’Art.  They’re salty, sweet, and spicy.  I’m not usually a caramel fan, nor a fan of spicy foods, but these are absolutely amazing.  One of my customers so very kindly gave me a sample one Saturday morning last year, and eating them has turned into my weekly habit and reward for waking at 4:45am to make it to the market on time!

We’ve participated in the Allegan Farmers Market since 2013 (wow – this is our 4th season!) and are excited for the growth it has experienced.  The Allegan Farmers Market is a smaller market open on Thursdays from 8am – 2pm in Allegan on M-222.  Last year they added an on-site market manager, and vendors can now accept SNAP tokens, Double Up Food Bucks tokens, WIC Project Fresh coupons, or Senior Market Fresh coupons.  New for 2016 is a USDA grant that will give free rides to the market!

Both the Kalamazoo and Allegan markets open in the first week of May – we can’t wait to see you there!  But in the meantime, you can find us at Pure Goat Soapworks!

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Passionate Work, Love + Inspire

 

I am passionate about soapmaking, and running an Indie business! Here is what I cherish most about our work at Pure Goat Soapworks:

Art & Creativity – Did you ever want to be good at something as a child, but just knew that you weren’t, and would never be? I wanted to be good at art when I was in elementary school, but I lacked (and still lack!) the fine motor skills to draw or paint well. In college, I had my roommates paint my fingernails for me because I was inept at doing it myself. It would have been easier for me to stick my fingers in a paint can and then remove the excess, than be able to paint my nails myself.

But then I began making soap, which changed everything! I realized that I was creative, and that I could design patterns, mix color and fragrance, and make something that was entirely unique and beautiful. I actually was creative and artistic. The 4th grader inside of me was overjoyed!

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Nichole makes Arabian Nights Sandalwood Goat Milk Soap

Making Soap – Science and Art meet in making artisan soap, and it’s been exhilarating to participate in the marriage of the two. Formulating and tweaking recipes, learning how to use colorants, creating color schemes and patterns – it’s been a sweet journey!

Our Customers – I truly enjoy building relationships with the many wonderful people I’ve met since we started our business, like “Mr. G.” from our Allegan Farmers Market. Mr. G is in his 80’s, and comes weekly to the market with his daughter and dog Greta. Every time I see him, he has a smile on his face, and a sparkle in his eyes. He always stops by to say hello, even when he doesn’t need to buy soap or raw honey.

Connecting with other Indie Makers – There is a community of Indie business owners and Makers that I am blessed to have found, and a Makers Movement that is satisfying to be a part of. So many of the products we buy are made overseas, mass-produced. There are so many more unique things available right here in the US, in your own hometown, being made by talented, hardworking people. The Bank Street Kalamazoo Farmers Market hosts more than 100 amazing small businesses. I love meeting other creative makers, and patronizing their shops.

Love + Inspire – I hope to inspire you love to one another. We are passionate about helping orphans and the families adopting them through Reece’s Rainbow. I am grateful to have a voice to be able to bring attention to the plight of orphans, and help them in whatever small way I am able.

Why Use Handcrafted Goat Milk Soap?

Have you been intrigued by the idea using handcrafted soap?  Have you wondered how goat milk soap is made, and why it’s good for you?

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Nichole makes artisan goat milk soap at Pure Goat Soapworks

Soap is made by combining oils, lye, and water, or another liquid such as goat milk, in specific quantities.  The chemical reaction that makes soap is called saponification.  You might hear the word “lye” and think that soap is unsafe, but that is not true.  All soap is made with lye, but no lye remains in properly made soap.  It is used up in the chemical reaction that makes the soap.  To ensure that no lye remains in our soap, we “superfat” our soap – we add 5 – 7% more oils than are needed to make soap.  This makes our soap richer, and easier on your skin!

 

While we really like handcrafted soap, we adore goat milk soaps!  Why?  It adds a creaminess and richness to our soaps, and it is wonderful for sensitive skin!  Goat milk contains alpha-hydroxy acids which naturally remove dead skin cells by binding with them.  Your beautifully soft skin is then able to shine through!  Goat milk soaps are extremely gentle and safe to use.

Not all soaps labeled “goat milk soap” are created equally, so it’s really important to read the list of ingredients.  Our natural (no colorants added) goat milk soaps use 100% goat milk for the liquid portion, and our artisan color bars use more than 50% goat milk in the liquid portion.   (Goat milk contains natural sugars that darken and caramelize in the soap-making process.  We use >50% goat milk in our Artisan bars in order to lessen the amount of mineral colorants needed and to create lighter colored soap that better shows our designs.)