Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Local artisans at The Rocks: Hillary McMahon of Wild Oaks Farm

We’re proud to offer a plethora of locally-made items in the Rocks Marketplace, and we make it a point to seek out artisans and their wares from surrounding towns and throughout the New England region. One of these is Hillary McMahon of Wild Oaks Farm, not far down the road from The Rocks Estate in Landaff, New Hampshire.

Winter Hike soap in festive shapes
Hillary makes goat milk soap in a variety of scents, from traditional Tea Tree and Cedar Wood to seasonal offerings like Santa’s Tree, Winter Hike, and Snow Day. She manages her 10-acre farm between shifts at her day job, working for her family’s painting business. She also moonlights this time of year as a wreath decorator at The Rocks.

We asked Hillary to give us some insight into Wild Oaks Farm and her fabulous soaps – and Hardy Hand Salve. Here’s what she told us…

Are you the sole Wild Oaks proprietor?
Yes I am. The farmer, the grain and hay hauler, hoof trimmer, milker and the soaper! But I get a lot of support from my family and friends, who have been great about lending a helping hand when I need it.

How many goats do you have at the farm, and what breed are they?
We have up to 20 goats in summer, with all the kids. Right now I have two breeding bucks and seven does. They’re Oberhasli goats, a Swiss breed known to be very friendly and docile. In the peak of milking season our girls average 8-10.5 pounds of milk daily. Excess milk is either used in our household or fed to our pigs – they love it! Beyond the goats, we have two pigs (seasonal), one mini horse, 24 laying hens, and two ducks at the farm.

How did you get started with goats – and making soap from goat milk?
About 10 years ago, we had a couple of Oberhasli goats as companions for our aging horses. I wanted a way to nurture my love for animals and also have an income from that love – hence the farm and goat milk soap business. I began creating the formulas for my products in the spring of 2013 and selling them that fall. I love creating, testing and marketing new products! Last year I came out with Hardy Hand Salve. As a farmer and working in the store, my hands are constantly cracking to the point of bleeding. I knew I needed to make a product that penetrated, healed and protected my skin without being too oily so I was unable to carry on with day-to-day tasks. I now have happy hands!

What else goes into your soaps?
I take pride that goat milk is the first ingredient on my label! I believe if you are purchasing goat milk soap you should get the most milk per bar possible. Along with goat milk our bars are created with a blend of oils and cocoa butter. All oils and butters lend their own special qualities to soap. Wild Oaks Farm does make different varieties of soap - we have a Bug-OFF bar that is popular in the spring through summer months, an All Four Paws bar that is formulated to be a very conditioning bar for all animals, three different scented shave soaps, and a kitchen scrub bar that removes everything from garlic and onion to gas and oil smells. We offer our bar soaps unscented, unscented with oats (for extra nourishment), scented with essential oils and over 30 varieties scented with fragrances.

You’ll find soaps from Wild Oaks Farm and myriad other fantastic, locally-crafted items in the shops at The Rocks this season!

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