Here’s a practical wedding favor that will leave your guests singing in the bathtub. And it’s made locally with organic milk from happy goats on the Olsen Family Farm.
In 1983, Marianne Olsen left her native Brooklyn to live with her husband on a piece of his family’s farmland in Saugerties, NY. After raising a family and seeing her children leave home to start families of their own, Marianne started a new life as a farmer. At first she raised chickens and later acquired goats, with the goal of producing goats milk cheese.
But along the way, Marianne realized that goats produce lots of milk — lots and lots of it — and that she’d need a much larger operation to keep up with it all. So what to do with all that goats milk?
Inspired by her daughter Elizabeth who is conscious about the mass-produced products we use on our skin, Marianne set to work educating herself about goats milk soap and how to manufacture her own healthy soap right on the farm.
“It’s something that we’re doing because of the whole philosophy,” says Marianne, explaining how her goats are raised organically, with a diet consisting of untreated grass on the farm and healthy feed from a farm in Hudson. Even young goats are fed naturally, breaking with the practice of using supplements in order to collect more milk from their mothers.
“We don’t take babies away from their mothers, we let them wet nurse,” explains Marianne. “Someone said I’m not a real farmer because I do that. We actually have to wait for our milk.”
Marianne showed us to her farm’s soap making workshop which smells unbelievably wonderful before you even get inside. That fresh, clean smell stays in your clothes long after you’ve left.
Marianne takes us through the process, explaining how soaps can be scented to a customers request. “If brides want a special scent, essential oil needs to be acquired which takes time,” she says. “Since soap needs to sit for 6 weeks, we advise couples to place their orders 8 weeks in advance.”
Each bar is cut by hand on a special, hand-driven machine. Labeling is also done by hand. For personalization, each bar can be packaged with 2x2 card on which couples can write any sentiment they wish. Customized printed cards can also be made at an additional $80 setup cost.
On the day of our visit, Marianne was preparing a large order for a wedding at Crested Hen Farms (which we covered earlier this summer). “The wedding favors are something that took off by word of mouth,” she tells us. “Originally, it was one bride asking for just a few bars and now we’re supplying soap favors for bridal showers in addition to weddings.”
Modern brides are attracted to the healthy, earth-friendly properties of goats milk soap , says Marianne. Goats milk strips down dead skin cells naturally and it contains antibacterial properties that don’t destroy nature like hand sanitizers do. Rich in vitamin A, it helps repair and moisturize damaged skin. And did we mention it enough … it smells AWESOME.
Olsen Family Farm goats milk favors start at $4.25 per bar. Orders can be placed online or in the family’s new shop, Olsen & Company, on Partition Street in downtown Saugerties. An additional shipping charge applies to orders that must be sent to customers. Thus far, Olsen Family Farm has shipped its soap as far away as Seattle.
Inspired by Olsen’s goat milk soap?
Download images from this article on our Olsen Farm Web Album made especially for your smartphone. Use it for reference and share with those helping you plan.
Learn more about the Olsen Family Farm at http://www.olsenfamilyfarm.com/.
To discuss your wedding with Duetimage Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers, call (845) 905‑6323 or visit: http://www.duetimage.com/contact.