by Michael Boyink / email@example.com
Ships take it to Hawaii. Trucks take it to Alaska and most other states in the lower 48. Riverboats have taken it to remote villages in the deep Jungles of Nicaragua. It’s been carried to mountain villages in Laos.
Goat Milk Soap made in Ava at Longview Farms.
The farm has other all-natural products as well – balms, bug repellents, deodorants, face creams, sunscreens and more.
Megan Long runs the business at Longview Farms and recently “came clean” about her work:
Where are you from?
We relocated here from Washington state about 14 years ago.
What brought you here?
The great land values and therefore, the ability to have a larger farm.
It was also beautiful and green which was familiar to us coming from Washington. So much of the other farm land in the nation isn’t beautiful like the Ozarks.
Where is the farm located?
We are in the southwest corner of the county.
How many goats do you milk?
We’ve never had a real big herd and in the last few years we’ve even scaled it back to only a handful at the moment. We’ve milked up to 5 at a time before. We do take a lot of care for them and always achieve “gallon a day” milkers which is considered pretty top production for a goat. We use only herbal and natural wormers and remedies in caring for them and feed with only non-GMO alfalfa and non-GMO grains. They have large pasture lands and some wooded areas for their much-loved foraging.
How often do you have to milk them?
Morning and evening in the spring and summer. We scale down to only mornings in the winter months when their production goes down.
What’s the milking process?
We’ve always milked by hand and can milk out a gallon+ in 15 minutes.
How many people are caring for the goats?
We’ve kept goats for 20+ years, and for much of that I took care of the them (milking, breeding, kidding, selling the kids, etc.).
As the soap business grew, I needed time to develop it and experiment with other products (like cheese), so other family members took over caring for the goats.
Do you have one certain kind of goat?
Our favorite is Nubian for their long floppy ears–the longer the better!
We brought our favorite girls from WA state and have kept that line going out here.
We’re tried several kinds of cross breeds. Our best producers were Nubian/Saanen cross and the most hearty and worm-resistant were our Nubian/Boar cross.
Do you also breed the goats and do the birthing there?
Yes we do. The kids are the best part!
Even folks who don’t like animals fall in love with baby goats – kicking up their heels, frolicking and following you around like “Mary’s little lamb”.
We usually try to aim at twins or triplets but one year we had quadruplets. We named them “Eenie, Meenie, Miny and Moe”–they were hilarious.
Where did you first start selling your products?
Aside from selling to friends and family and getting into a few stores in Springfield, our first large event we did was the Spring Planting Festival at Baker Creek (Mansfield) in May of 2006.
We’ve continued to attend this festival every spring since and always look forward to that connection with our loyal local customers.
How did the out-of-state distribution happen?
In ‘09 some family friends came to visit, and upon seeing Longview Farm’s products decided they’d represent them to the company they worked for, Azure Standard.
Apparently one of the buyers at Azure had never heard of goat’s milk soaps and didn’t think they would sell. Our friends worked for 2 years to convince her and eventually they won.
In March 2011, we began selling on a national level through Azure Standard. Since that time we have sold thousands of bars of goat’s milk soaps across the nation.
What’s the most unusual place you’ve seen your products end up?
We’ve taken our bug spray, sunscreen and soap with us on mission trips to the remote (only boat access) villages in the deep jungles of Nicaragua.
We’ve taught soap classes several times to the natives in this region so they can make it without having to buy it down river. We’ve even taught them how to make their own lye.
We’ve taken our products with us on other mission trips to the remote mountain villages in Laos.
They’ve shipped to Hawaii and Alaska and almost every other state in the lower 48.
I’ve seen folks talk on social medias about buying our products from stores in places of the nation that I didn’t even know a store carried them.
What’s your favorite part of the process?
Creating new products is always a fun experience, but ultimately, I enjoy packing orders because I have so many wonderful customers and it’s rewarding to see them enjoy the products.
Is there a busy and slow season, or is it consistent all year?
It’s always busy during the holiday season.
Competing with that would also be preparing for the Spring Festival at Baker Creek. Since our products are all natural and chemical-free, we like to make them fresh for the festival, which means that for about six weeks leading up to it, we are busy with production.
Where can your products be found?
Online, you can buy them direct from our website at longviewfarms.org.
Nationwide, they are also available though Azure Standard, which is a bulk buying coop with 3000 drops. They are online at azurestandard.com.
Locally in Ava, they are available at Jean’s Healthway Natural Food Market on the Ava Square.