Regina and Steve Bauscher operate Honey Sweetie Acres, a goat farm in Goshen, Ohio, that produces the only artisan goat milk soaps and lotions on the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program.
Honey Sweetie Acres gets its name from a reality TV show. When the man in the series kept referring to his wife as “Honey” and “Sweetie,” Regina told her husband Steve, “See, a man can get his wife to do almost anything if he used words like “Honey” and “Sweetie.”
A week later, Regina drove onto their farm to find a sign above the goat pen that said, “Honey Sweetie Acres.” With that, the name stuck to the delight of their customers.
Even though Regina and Steve grew up around horses, chickens, and rabbits, as adults, Regina worked in the business world, and Steve worked in construction. When their kids left home, the couple moved their empty nest to a more rural area and bought a six-acre home site, complete with a historical cemetery from the 1800s. They got two goats to produce milk for themselves and family.
But Regina’s background in chemistry and experience in atomic absorption spectroscopy, water analysis, and gas chromatography made her curious about how to use goat milk to solve a problem for Steve. After years in construction, his hands were severely cracked and often peeling. Over the counter and prescription lotions provided little to no relief. So, Regina began experimenting with soap-making, using goat milk to heal her husband’s hands.
“After a month of using our goat milk soap, not only did his hands improve, they healed, and the problem has never returned,” she said. “I started letting family and friends use our soap, and they said they no longer had to use copious amounts of lotion to moisturize their skin.”
Regina decided she was onto something and did more research on how to make artisan goat milk soap and natural skin care products. “We wanted to share the benefits of goat milk with others who might suffer from a myriad of skin conditions,” she said. “Goat milk soap cannot cure eczema, psoriasis or other inflammatory conditions, but it often can help provide some degree of skin comfort and relief, varying from person to person.”
Today, having grown their business by double digits every year for the past three years, Regina and Steve both work full time on the farm, which now has 30 Nigerian Dwarf Goats, “a species that was on the endangered list just ten years ago,” says Regina. “They are the fastest growing breed in the U.S. because of their easy-going nature and small size. They top out at 60 pounds compared to 150 pounds for other goats, making them easy to raise on a small farm.”
The goats spend their days outdoors, “often keeping the cemetery neat and tidy,” says Regina, “or keeping busy climbing on their special play set, which is a children’s playset that has been cut down to size so that they can climb all over the slides and ramps.”
The goats also like to participate in their Yoga with Goats class, where the goats get to wander around and climb onto the backs of participating yoga students. “We like helping people shed stress by laughing and enjoying the goats,” says Regina.
While the goats love winter as much as summer and look forward to being out in the snow, “they don’t like the rain and will scream and run back to the barn at the first little drop,” Regina says.
The Bauscher’s recently built the goats a new barn with more light and space, and converted the old barn into a soap production building where they will produce up to 33,000 bars of soap a month.
Because some of their artisan products are goat-milk based, Regina wanted to find a certification program to assure consumers about how the goats were raised and fed.
“A lot of non-farm animal people don’t know how farm animals are raised,” she said. “With all the interest in animal welfare, we wanted to assure our consumers about how we care for our goats, and the Certified Humane label on the products let’s us do that.”
Honey Sweetie Acres artisan products are available online at http://www.honeysweetieacres.com or in local stores in Ohio. Visit Certified Humane’s Where to Buy Page to find their products.