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

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Party candidate for governor Les Gara attends a Zoom meeting with Homer residents on Nov. 18, 2021, from his Anchorage, Alaska, home. (Screen capture)
Gara makes election pitch to Homer

Democratic Party candidate for governor Gara visits virtually.

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID continues decline; 1 new death

The state had an estimated rolling average of 253.3 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Census reports minimal state population growth

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.

The old Homer intermediate school building, showing the Homer Boys & Girls Club and gym on the south side of the building at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue.
The old Homer intermediate school building on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue, as seen in October 2010. It’s now known as the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC. (Homer News file photo)
Homer awards contract to study use of rec complex site

The goal is to help the city understand the maximum use of that property.

Genna Stormer gives Santa a hug during Christmas Comes to Nikiski at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
December brings the holiday cheer

Groups across the peninsula get into the spirit of the season with public events.

Most Read