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For Gallup Family Farm, small family dairy and beef production have led Mel Gallup to success in soap

Made in Idaho
Posted at 7:56 AM, Jun 28, 2024

GOODING, Idaho — From selling dairy and beef shares or retail cuts, to a busy business of boutique handmade soaps, Gallup Family Farms stays busy keeping up with local demand.

  • Gallup Family Farms sells milk, cream, and beef shares or retail cuts locally, through its store on the farm, or at farmer's markets.
  • Find them at Gooding Farmer's Market on Tuesdays, and Jerome Farmer's Market on Saturdays.
  • Over 30 flavors of soaps can be ordered from their website.
  • Mel Gallup hopes to have mail-order beef set up within the year.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“This is the way grandma used to make her soap, but there's so much more method to it now,” Mel Gallup told me as I watched her blend lye into a mixture of oils.

Thursdays are soap production days for Mel.

“They used to put their hardwood ash into a pot with some water and they boiled it down, and if it floated an egg, it was supposed to be ready,” said Gallup.

Some things have changed in soap making, but the basics are all still there.

“There's beef tallow, there's coconut oil, there's olive oil, castor oil,” Mel said

Gallup Family Farms started when Mel and her husband John got a couple dairy cows about 20 years ago on their Gooding farm. Later on, they added some beef cows, pastured north of Shoshone.

Between milking, feeding, cleaning and other cow chores, Mel makes time each week for soaps.

The soap making began about 10 years ago when Mel was looking for ways to use more of each cow when it came time for the butcher.

And handmade soaps, she says, are good for people with sensitive skin.

“A lot of people are like 'I have uber sensitive skin' and so I'll start them out with my Plain Jane,” Mel said. “It has no sense no color. It's just straight up soap and usually it rocks their world."

Using timeless recipes, plus some 30 flavors of scents, Mel likes to make about three batches each week — That's enough for about 120 bars of soap.

"I try to keep about 15 boxes at all times. Right now I've only got 12," said Gallup.

Selling soap, local milk, and beef at farmer's markets in Gooding and Jerome, and at their retail store at the farm, Gallup Family Farms accounts for a third of the household income.

And Mel spends part of her days the way her grandma did, milking cows, feeding, and making soap.