Little did PJ Jonas know when she began making goat milk soap in 2006 that her project would develop into a career that she, husband Jim, and their eight children would soon share.
Because of her desire to not use chemicals on the children’s skin, PJ wanted a natural soap that would moisturize their skin and last a long time.
After making her first batch of soap, she put a bar into the shower. Jim's fingers soon stopped cracking and splitting. As this was a problem he had suffered with for years, she knew she had something special.
Turning it into a family business, Goal Milk Stuff was born in 2008 and the entire family joined in the effort. The Jonas’ all agree that getting to work together as a family (despite occasional squabbles) is the best part of the business. And they do work hard. From the initial milking of the goats, to the final bagging of the soap, each member of the family participates in producing the handmade goat milk soaps.
“We believe these values come through in the goodness of our products and the excellence of our customer service and we hope you will agree,” PJ states.
Even with the success of their soap products, the Jonas’ had a goal of selling food products made from goat milk. In 2012, Goat Milk Stuff left the three acre homestead it originated on and expanded to a 36 acre farm in Scottsburg, Indiana. The new farm has a 6,000 square foot soap facility with a retail store and a 3,000 square foot barn to house the milking goats.
The newest addition to the business property is a 6,000 square foot building that houses two certified kitchens, bathrooms for visitors, and a 2,000 square foot open space for events and retail. One of the kitchens in the new building is the “Candy Kitchen.”
With the help of a USDA Rural Development Value Added Producer Grant Program, the kitchen will be used to turn goat milk into value-added candies. The flagship product for this candy is goat milk caramels. Eventually, products such as fudge, caramel chocolates, goat milk chocolate and many others will be added.
The Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.