Chica Acres turns hobby goats into handmade goods
By Julia Wolf The Courier Sentinel
“I needed an excuse to get goats.”
That’s what Keesha Cicha says, of how she got started creating a variety of goat milk based products, with her husband, David. So, Cicha Acres was born.
Keesha’s hobby, which originally consisted of just soaps for themselves, turned into her full-time job, when friends and co-workers began asking to buy some.
Four years in, the Ladysmith/Glen Flora area business, offers soaps, lotions, lip balms and soy wax products. Keesha says they are testing some new products, including shampoo bars and goat milk face masks.
“Some will be coming out, probably in the next couple months,” said David.
Keesha says people seem to be excited for the potential new products.
The farm has 18 goats, each with their own name – and personality.
“It’s like dogs,” said Keesha. “They have a different personality. A different way of talking.”
As for the names, Keesha says they name the goats for the ease of telling them apart when it comes to care taking needs.
“She names them,” said David.
They do some breeding on the small farm, since they do have one buck, but they also only have four females.
The goats, mostly Alpines, are milked once per day.
“You don’t need a lot of milk to do what we do,” said Keesha.
When the couple is at craft shows, Keesha says people seem surprised when she tells them they only milk three goats, because that is all they need.
“It’s actually more than we need,” said David.
Keesha and David also have 10 cattle, and some pigs and chickens.
Making the soap, via the cold process method, takes about 20 minutes. One of them, usually Keesha, combines lard, coconut oil, olive oil, milk and lye. Once those are together and the mixture has a pudding consistency, they add the fragrance or essential oils. Some of the bars even get oatmeal added at that stage for exfoliation.
Then they let the batch sit in a mold overnight. The batch is then cut, before curing over a period of four to six weeks.
“We have a whole corner of the house dedicated to that right now,” said Keesha.
David says curing the soap for that long is necessary because of the lye.
All the products at Cicha Acres are handmade in small batches. Each batch of soap makes nine bars.
The products contain either essential oils or fragrance oils, all skin safe, depending on the target scent. Cicha Acres tries to keep the products they sell as natural as possible, though Keesha says the fragrance oils are synthetically made. Many of the oils Keesha and David use in their products, come from Bulk Apothecary in Ohio.
“The hempseed oil is natural,” said Keesha.
The business has also started using their own lard for their soap.
David says rendering their own lard has been a chore, taking him a week to do in the hours after his regular job.
The goats check to see if their visitors brought treats, such as apples or pineapple. Each goat at Cicha Acres has a name and personality of its own.
Cicha Farm’s stuffed mascot, Gustavo, watches over the variety of products the business offers. Gustavo is popular among the youngest of Cicha Acres’ customers. Keesha and David Cicha sell goat milk-based products, including soaps, lotions, lip balms and soy wax products. The products are available in over 20 scents, and are taken to craft and vender sales, and farmers markets around the area, as well as sold online.