On a one-acre farm, Rebecca and Derek Gomez have a family business that brings them and their three daughters, Amber Gober, Cassandra Gomez and Dahlia Gomez, together every day to do all the chores to get their products to the market. The family has a booth at the Waxahachie Farmers Market that features products from their Ellis County Cluck and Buck Ranch.
Their primary product is natural goat milk soap, with other items offered including natural lotion massage bars, pickled vegetables, flavored scrubs and wildflower honey made by the happy bees at the Cluck and Duck Ranch.
“We do what is called micro-farming,” Rebecca Gomez said. “On our one acre, we have 15 fruit trees, 40 chickens and 15 Nigerian dwarf goats in addition to our garden.”
The entire family pitches in when there is something to be done.
“Everyone is involved,” Gomez said. “The girls know how to set fence posts and stretch fence. They each have their own gardens, help with milking the goats and even help make the soap,” Gomez said. “These are in addition to the two smaller girls, Cassandra and Dahlia, being home schooled as well as helping out at the market. Amber is going to college and working at a local veterinarian’s.”
Already having chickens, Gomez shared with the Sun that she got her first goats “because they were cute.”
“After getting our first goats, we needed to do something with the milk that was profitable,” she said. “When you have more than one, you can only have so many pets. I had been making soap and selling it to the cafeteria ladies and teachers at the school where I volunteered. Soon they started asking if I made goat’s milk soap so I tried it making a couple packs. Soon I was only making goat milk soap.”
At the encouragement of a teacher, three years ago, Gomez began bringing her soaps to the market. “Here I am today,” she said, noting that the soaps are made with essential oils. “However, essential oils do not provide all the scent so we make the soaps with several different scents.”
The advantage of goat’s milk soap is it is gentler and healing to the skin,” Gomez said, noting, “It is absorbed into the skin better like a moisturizer.”
All of the soap bars are made at the Gomez home.
“We have an area set up where we all get together as a family to make the bars,” Gomez said. “First, the goat’s milk, along with the other ingredients, are mixed together and put into a crock pot and cooked to a consistency of mashed potatoes. Then, it is poured into a mold where it is cooled and sets for several days before packaging it to bring it to the market. We do this while watching television.”
Derek Gomez shared his insights as to what all is involved with their operation: “I do everything that is needed prior to making the soap bars, fix and mend fences, build shelters, making sure everyone has their own yards. Chickens have their own area; goats have their own area. We do hogs occasionally but that is for our own freezer. I make sure everything flows well around the homestead.”
Making all of their activities work on one-acre isn’t really hard, he said. “If you manage it well and not overtax the land, it all works well. In our garden, we also have beehives that help with the produce. With the bees, we have our own pollinator in the garden so our produce yield has gone way up.
“Doing all of this works where everyone is healthy and happy,” he said. “We do not have a bare spot on the property. It can work.”
In addition to helping their parents on the farm and with the farmers market booth, the girls also help farmers market vendor Jim Dockins with his vegetable and pastry booth.
“These are good hard-working girls,” Dockins said. “They help me out a lot.”