We Grow offers a great selection of handmade soaps at a reasonable price for those who want a high-quality, locally produced, healthy product.
Our soap bars are made with both animal and plant-based oils. We primarily utilize lard from our pasture-raised heritage breed hogs. Our hogs are an integral part of our CSA farm moving from pasture to pasture, working the soil over. The cultivation of the soil by hogs has shown better results on our farm because they eat the roots of weeds as they perform their natural rooting. Our biggest weed management concern is quackgrass, which they love! In addition, their waste fertilizes each paddock which is planted in cover crops or vegetables following the pasture hog rotation.
When we sell a butcher hog, oftentimes the customer does not need all of the lard. Rather than let it go to waste we make soap just like our great grandma used to do. Well, only after we’ve make a few pot pies and biscuits. Fresh lard makes a fine pastry crust!
The other primary ingredients in the oil base for all of our soaps are coconut oil, for its skin nourishing benefits and castor bean oil, for its luxurious lather. The final product is a very hard, long lasting bar of soap that lathers well and feels smooth. Our customers have reported that it does not dry your skin and we can attest. Once you start using homemade soap with these ingredients, you will understand why so many people love it.
Our soaps are scented with either essential oils, fragrance oil, or a combination of the two. We also offer unscented soap bars for folks with skin sensitivities or hunters who want to be clean, but fragrance free in their pursuit.
Where to buy
We sell our soaps on the farm year round, at our booth at the Medford Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the growing season and at a few pop-up craft events in the area right before the holidays. Watch our Facebook page to find out where we will be selling or contact us to place an order. We can meet you and make deliveries as our schedule permits.
We will gladly ship our soap bars to anywhere in the country.
What is “saponified” oil?
We use lye, also called sodium hydroxide, in our soap. Lye is what causes the oil to convert into soap. All real soap is made with lye as a result of oils and fats reacting with lye. Saponification is the reaction between lye and the oils or fats that make soap.
The lye we use is labeled as food-grade. It can be used to peel tomatoes in large processing plants or to make pretzels. However, we do not encourage you to eat the soap.
Some name brand “soaps” are actually not soaps at all. They are actually detergent bars that contain Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS) which creates the foaming/lathering action we expect from soap. There is a large controversy on the safety and long term effects of using these products on a daily basis. Please seek out information on SLS and decide for yourself if it is something you are comfortable using.
What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils? I see you use both.
Preference for essential oils (EO) versus fragrance oils (FO) varies from person to person. If you are sensitive to fragrances, please choose from our EO soaps including rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, tangerine, clove, lavender and more. Keep in mind that essential oils generally cost significantly more than fragrance oils, so the price will reflect this variance.
We like to offer a range of fragrance oils for those who like to change up their soap and try new things particularily with the seasons and don’t suffer from skin sensitivities. It also brings more value to the table as we can keep our costs down using FOs. We also offer “naked” soap with neither EO or FO for those who want just plain soap. This soap works great for folks with eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin.
We don’t use palm oil. Palm oil is not considered ecologically friendly because of deforestation of the rainforests caused by the palm plantations. There are some companies online selling “sustainable” palm oil. This palm oil may be perfectly fine, but since I can’t go over and check out the growing practices of the suppliers myself, I think it is just easier to not include it in my formulas. This is another question of personal preference, I encourage you to research and form your own opinions. Since tallow and lard have almost identical properties in soap as palm, we much prefer to utilize these local, sustainable resources.
Gross! Why would you want to use pig fat in soap?
It’s simple. Either we render it for pie crusts and biscuits, or it is going to be made into soap. There is no point in tossing it in a landfill. As long as people eat bacon, there will be lard that needs to be utilized. But wait! The lard from We Grow hogs is from pasture-raised, heritage breed hogs. Our hogs are our workhorses clearing fields and fertilizing as they go, completing our organic farming cycle.
Let us not forget that lard saponifies into some of the richest, smoothest, least-drying soaps we’ve ever created. Soap bars made from animal fats get harder than plant-based oils, so they last longer in the shower or at the sink resulting in better value for our customers.
Sometimes it is fun to do things the way our ancestors did. Making handmade soaps with animal fats and wood ashes is exactly what Great Grandma Smith did. She proclaimed bear tallow to make the finest soap! For more discussion on this topic, we love how Natalie summarizes several points in this post about lard in soap.
Isn’t that a lot $$ for a bar of soap?
You can buy cheap soap, made with cheap ingredients at your local big box store. If you want something different, handcrafted with love and homegrown ingredients. If you want something free from skin irritants and harsh chemicals, try We Grow handmade soap. The primary ingredients, animal-based oils are by-products from our farm. We feel it encessary to utilize as much as the animal as possible, just like our great grandparents did at the turn of century.
Why don’t you have the same scent I purchased from you a few weeks ago?
We make our handmade soap in the off-season, when we aren’t busy on the CSA farm growing great vegetables. This gives the bars time to cure and gives us time to cut, wrap and label with detail. This means each spring we start with a great variety and as the summer farmers market season goes on, we sell out of select varieties. If there is something you really want, let us know and we can whip up a batch just for you. See next question.
Will you make a special soap just for me?
Sure! We can repeat your favorite recipe or you can request something new. We’ll even do small batches down to 20 ounces if you’d like to try something before committing. We require a deposit if the recipe included essential oils or unusual fragrances. Contact us to discuss what you are looking for and we can discuss price. Please remember that soap must sit for at least a month to cure so any special orders will need to be ordered a full month in advance.