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Goat milk soaps are squeaky-clean artistry

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Dana Stellato is using her artistic creativity to handcraft intriguing dairy goat milk soaps in a variety of colors, textures, scents and shapes.

On her Little Tin Cup Farm south of Darby, Stellato breeds Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats, raises the dairy goats to milk and uses goat milk as a base for her soaps and lotions.

She currently has eight goats and her Grand Champion buck is named Star-Lord. Her goats love to climb and be on people.

“They climb crazy things and are just so cute,” Stellato said, calling them “very manageable little animals.”

“The goats prefer to sleep in, so I’m not milking until 7 or 8 a.m., they don’t make a fuss,” she said. “The newest batch was born on Memorial Day. It’s a big petting zoo up there, everyone brings their grandkids to come see the animals. I’m the tourist trap of the neighborhood.”

Stellato has been making soaps for nearly five years after taking a class from the president of the Bitterroot Dairy Goat Association, as well as a few online classes.

“The soaps are cold-processed, made the old-fashioned way with a four to six weeks cure time,” she said. "The soaps cure on wooden-slatted orchard shelves in my guest house. The older your soap is and the dryer, the longer it lasts. I have a soap that takes 10 months to cure but it lasts over a year.”

Her soaps all look unique with different colors and swirls that are dictated by temperatures and how the different colors will thicken. She has Western molds of cowboy hats, boots, horses, and an amazing variety of wild animals, farm animals and vehicles.

“I have molds from all over the world and I make my own colors and scents,” Stellato said. “I stamp all my soaps with my logo which is a goat inside of a little Tin Cup because I live off of Little Tin Cup Creek. It makes a cute logo.”

Some of the colors are intense neon with a wonderful swirl pattern. The brightest soap is lime green, shocking orange and brilliant blue and has a “bug-be-gone” essential oil blend that is heavy in citronella.

“People buy it, use it and it keeps the bugs away,” she said. “I made the right color for that.”

Some soaps are stamped for an embossed, elegant look, one plate of soaps looked like a tempting variety of delicious fudge. One bar has coffee grounds for texture and caffeine and another has a pressed-in design to look like honeycomb called “oatmeal, milk and honey.” Some bars were red, white and blue, others have granite swirls and creative blends.

“This one is called ‘Succulent’ like a cactus, it smells so good,” Stellato said. “I use fragrance oils or essential oils and my imagination.”

Making soap can be a surprise as sometimes the recipe combinations turn out different than she expects, but all the products are quality.

“Sometimes vanilla turns soap brown so my red, white and blue turned out different, so I re-did the red, white and blue,” Stellato said. “Look at these colors — eggplant, moss and sage.”

The Little Tin Cup Farm is in the "Made in Montana" program and offers agriculture and ranch supplies, animal and pet products like poultry and eggs, gift baskets; personal care and cosmetic items like goat milk lotions and soaps.

The items are for sale at the Darby Farmers Market, where the soap endures the heat well, but she keeps her lotion on ice.

For more information contact Dana Stellato in Darby at 675 Raven Wood, call 406-369-5366 or email littletincup@yahoo.com.

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