Arthur, one of Deanna O’Connor’s 11 goats pokes his head out of his pen at O’Connor’s home in Nikiski, Alaska on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Arthur, one of Deanna O’Connor’s 11 goats pokes his head out of his pen at O’Connor’s home in Nikiski, Alaska on Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

From surplus to soap: Peninsula goat farmers get crafty with products

Goat hobby herds are becoming more and more popular on the Kenai Peninsula.

While some farmers sell their excess milk through herdshare programs — in which a shareholder invests in an animal and retains a proportionate amount of the animal’s production — others are using their surplus to craft specialty soaps.

When Deanna O’Connor isn’t milking her 11 goats — which she does twice a day on her lakeside property in Nikiski — she’s making goat milk cheese, ice cream and soap.

She shares her recipes and writes about her eight years of experience as a goat owner on her blog If you give a girl a goat…. Taking care of the goats started out as a hobby, but has recently grown into something more, she said.

“I think people are more aware of the products that they are putting on their skin and what they’re consuming,” O’Connor said. “I think particularly people in Alaska are hyper aware because we are more connected to our environment.”

O’Connor sells her soap through her blog and at Alaska Herbal Solution’s Soldotna Wednesday Market booth. She plays with fragrances, exfoliants and oils to meet the needs of a broad range of people. She said, in general, goat milk soap is great for anyone who has issues with their skin. For acne, O’Connor would recommend her Tipsy Goat soap. It’s made with the amber beer from Alaska Brewing Company. Her favorite though is a new one she’s calling Farm Morning, which contains beef tallow, pork lard, black coffee, honey, oatmeal and more.

“It’s a good creamy bar,” she said.

Meg Wright of Wise and Right Farms also makes goat milk soap in Nikiski. She started three years ago as a way of making unique Christmas gifts for her family.

“My friend, who had made soap lots of times before, came over to my house and taught me how to make hot process goat milk soap,” Wright said. “From that day on I have been hooked on making and using it.”

Wright said she likes to be creative with her soap making, whether it would be adding basic colors, layering and swirling them or adding exfoliants such as pumice, clays or seeds. When it comes to fragrance, she goes by what her family likes. Like O’Connor, she also has unscented soaps for people who may be allergic.

O’Connor and Wright are not alone. At the Soldotna Wednesday Market, Wright sells her soap alongside five other soapmakers and two people selling goat milk soap. Despite the saturation in the market, Wright said she doesn’t try to compete.

“Everyone’s soaps are going to be different, so while everyone might use goat milk, the oils and other ingredients will and could be different,” Wright said. “It’s a pretty friendly market. We all have different spins on our soap, so there’s something for everyone. There seems to be enough variety for all the visitors.”

Wright also makes body butter and beard oil, with plans to expand to goat milk lotion and lip balm.

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

tease
Man wanted in relation to Amber Alert arrested; missing teenager found

A Fairbanks man wanted in connection to an Amber Alert was arrested… Continue reading

tease
School district extends meal program deadline amid confusion

Credit for breakfast and lunch meals will be provided as needed to… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks at the Kenai Classic Roundtable at Kenai Peninsula College on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bycatch stirs debate at fisheries roundtable

Bycatch was the issue du jour at Wednesday’s annual Kenai Classic Roundtable… Continue reading

Kenai Peninsula College Director Cheryl Siemers in her office on Aug. 18, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
KPC to welcome back community with open house

One week before the start of the fall semester, Kenai Peninsula College… Continue reading

National Weather Service radar for the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska on Aug. 17, 2022. (Screenshot)
Rain, rain and more rain

Low pressure systems drive wet conditions in Southcentral

Sockeye salmon return to Steep Creek to spawn. Alaska’s overall commercial salmon harvest across all species is currently up 15% from 2021 (2020 for pinks) with Bristol Bay and the Prince William Sound largely carrying the weight while other regions lag, according to data from the most recent Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute weekly salmon harvest update. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Statewide salmon harvest on the upswing compared to last year

Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound are mainly pulling the weight

Jake Dye / Peninsula Clarion
Congressional candidate Mary Peltola responds to a question during a forum at the Kenai Visitor Center on Aug. 3 in Kenai . Early Wednesday, Peltola had earned 38.4% of first-choice votes in a race that will determine who fills Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat until January.
Mary Peltola responds to a question during a forum at the Kenai Visitor Center on Aug. 3, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/Jake Dye)
Democratic candidate Peltola leads U.S. House race early, but Palin may win in final count

Former governor and Republican U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin stands to benefit from ranked choice voting

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID hospitalizations on the rise

86 patients were hospitalized with 10 patients on ventilators

Most Read